History Behind the Villicana Winery
of April 2002, a familiar Paso Robles wine label has a place
on the map - literally. After almost a decade of learning about
the art of winegrowing and winemaking, Alex and Monica Villicana
opened their Westside Paso Robles tasting room, giving their
hand crafted, award-winning wines a place to call home and fans
of the label a place to visit.
Villicana label owes its existence to an unsuccessful culinary
school. After college, Alex decided to pursue his interest in
food and wine and enrolled in a culinary program. When the school
failed to open, he turned his attention to winemaking and took
a job working the harvest at a local Paso Robles winery in 1990.
He also began taking viticulture and enology classes at U.C.
1992, Alex was told that if he wanted to hand harvest some Gamay
grapes, which were left over from a mechanical harvest, from
a local vineyard that he could have the grapes for himself. He
jumped on that offer and made his first wine and caught the winemaking
bug. In 1993, he was at the right place at the right time when
he was offered three tons of Cabernet Sauvignon fruit from the
famed Tchelistcheff vineyard in the Adelaida hills. He was lucky
enough to get fruit from that vineyard again in 1994, and was
hooked on Paso Robles, not only for the quality of fruit being
grown, but also because of the cooperative spirit and energy
of the local winemakers.
was at that time that Alex started laying the groundwork for
the Villicana Winery. After marrying his wife, Monica, in 1995
they purchased 72 acres on the Westside of Paso Robles. They
specifically targeted the Westside of Paso Robles because of
the climate and the calcareous (calcium rich), nutrient deficient,
limestone soil. This is a terroir that translates to rich, concentrated
wines. The varied elevation of this hillside property helps keep
the temperatures down at evening thus lengthening the growing
accordance to Alex and Monica's philosophy of wanting to truly
understand every facet of the business, they personally planted
their 13-acre vineyard. After much research and an in-depth soil
and water analysis, they carefully selected the rootstock and
varietals that were most appropriate for the vineyard conditions.
The vineyard is planted to Cabernet Franc Cabernet Sauvignon,
Grenache, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel.
It is Bordeaux meets Rhone.
total control over every facet of production has been the Villicana's
passion from the start. The purpose of planting the vineyard
was to achieve consistency and quality in fruit by utilizing
estate fruit. Alex is solely responsible for everything from
farming the vineyard to bringing in the harvest, to crushing
the grapes, to the actual wine making process. He and Monica
even pour the wines every weekend in the tasting room.
year 1999 represents an important milestone for the winery. As
of this vintage, the Villicanas are finally able to crush their
estate grown fruit. Villicana Winery currently produces fewer
than 2,000 cases and is planned to top out at 5,000 cases. Alex
and Monica's plan is to stay small so they can really focus on
continually increasing quality and generating powerful small-lot
when people ask them how they got into the business, they look
at their newly constructed winery and smile. Basically, what
started as a small, unimaginable dream has turned into their
reality and continues to be their labor of love.
come be a part of the dream.