Paraiso Vineyards is owned and managed by three generations of the Smith family, one of the pioneering winegrape growers of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Their estate vineyard is the first in the region to be SIP Certified Sustainable. While the focus is on estate Pinot Noir, Paraiso also produces small lots of Chardonnay, dry Riesling, Syrah and Souzao Port. Additionally, the Paraiso gift boutique offers a unique collection of home and garden décor, and the scenic grounds are the perfect setting for weddings and private parties. Paraiso’s 400-acre estate vineyard lies at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA in Monterey County, California. Winegrape pioneers of the region, Rich and Claudia Smith began planting this property in 1973. Today, Rich and his son Jason manage almost 150,000 vines in 16 different blocks. The land provides varying soils, elevations and microclimates, producing grapes uniquely expressive of their individual sites.
The Smith family’s winegrowing experience over the years has earned them a best-quality reputation, translating into high demand for their winegrapes. In addition to supplying fruit for the Paraiso Vineyards wine label, the family sells grapes under contract to several other ultra-premium wine producers.
Early bud break and fruit set, along with extended hang time, are big advantages of the Paraiso’s Highlands location. Spring is generally temperate, encouraging bud break as early as mid-March, and harvest typically begins in mid-September lasting through October. This fully ripened fruit of good color and flavor concentration makes for superior-quality wine in the bottle.
Current fads aside, the Smiths have employed sustainable farming techniques since day one. Knowing that their vineyard could be in the family for generations, Rich and Claudia have always been keenly aware of their own environment as well as their potential impact on the surrounding area. Rich was a founding member of the Central Coast Vineyard Team, an organization that later created the state’s first sustainable farming certification for winegrapes, called Sustainability in Practice, or SIPTM Certified Sustainable. Paraiso Vineyards was the first vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands to earn the certification in 2008.
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