Paso Robles AVA
"We want our wines to tell a story, and possess both personality and soul..."
Thank goodness Bret Urness (Urr-ness) isn’t fazed by rejection. After applying to many California universities that offered studies in viticulture and winemaking (UC Davis, Fresno State, and several others), and receiving a pile of rejection letters in return, he decided to head to Portugal to learn the wine business from the bottom up. Bret spent time in the Douro Valley where he learned to appreciate traditional, primitive winemaking methods - lessons that he now lives by while crafting the limited portfolio for his LEVO Wines brand in California’s Paso Robles.
After his time abroad, Urness, now a sage 26-year-old, returned to the United States and worked stints at several wineries (comprising about every job possible), and eventually the youthful entrepreneur of Norwegian descent decided to try it on his own. LEVO Wines became a reality in 2011. The name of his winery evolves from the Latin word ‘lev’ that means ‘rise,’ as well as being the base word for leverage, levitate, lever, etc. LEVO Wines is Bret Urness’ reference to Eagle, Idaho, his hometown where he initially developed his passion for wine.
Bret’s first release of 204 cases came in 2012, and he now makes about 1,000 cases annually. That number is divided among several wines, made with grapes sourced mostly from Santa Barbara County vineyards. It is interesting to note that LEVO’s wine names and labels change every year, giving consumers a limited time to acquire the various bottlings before they are gone.
LEVO Wines has received some incredible press in its relatively brief existence, a fact that pleases its owner immensely. “We are definitely underdogs,” he remarked recently. “We set out to make a beverage that can be viewed as an art. We want our wines to be more than a product, similar to a familiar friend that you can sit down with and get to know. We want our wines to tell a story, and possess both personality and soul. The support that consumers have expressed thus far is most humbling.”
His ‘Into the Static’ Syrah is certainly a wine that tells a story, serving as a metaphor for venturing off into the unknown. Bret realized that static kept taking over his radio airways anytime he was in one of his favorite places, or at least headed that way. This wine is dedicated to all those beautiful places that take over your radio with static. . . usually while you’re on your way to the unknown, on an adventure, or in Bret’s case, his favorite vineyards.
LEVO Wines is located in Tin City, an industrial part of Paso Robles with a number of small production wineries, breweries, distilleries and cider houses. This up-and-coming craft beverage area offers visitors a unique tasting experience in the middle of Central Coast wine country.