Paso Robles AVA
Truly enjoyable, approachable award-winning Paso Robles wines
A chance encounter of two men out for a walk almost twenty years ago has led to the successful winery operation that is known today as Opolo Vineyards.
The meeting of the two, Rick Quinn, 67, and Dave Nichols, 58, took place in Camarillo, California. Rick Quinn had just bought approximately 70 acres of plantable land near the city of Paso Robles on the Pacific Coast, and found the land was nearly perfect for planting grapes.
Dave Nichols was fascinated with Quinn’s account of the transaction and suddenly realized that he was also interested in the project. The two became friends and a partnership developed that ultimately ripened into Opolo Vineyards.
“Our basic intent was to become farmers and sell all the grapes we produced to the local wineries that were beginning to crop up along the Central Coast,” informed Nichols during a recent interview. “Rick was also an amateur home winemaker so I started making some wines myself. Our wines were quite successful among our friends and family, so we expanded our production a bit.”
The business of growing grapes flourished, but soon an abundance of fruit in the Central Coast region forced the partners to open a winery. An old tractor shed was converted into a winery. Tanks and barrels were added to accommodate Opolo Vineyards’ first releases. By 2001, the first thousand cases of the new entity were offered.
For the record, the name Opolo (pronounced Oh-polow) is a Yugoslavian wine name that Rick Quinn admired and ended up borrowing it for the new winery name. Quinn is also half Yugoslavian and half Irish.
The ensuing years have been very kind to Opolo Vineyards. Annual case production has risen to roughly 55,000 cases and will rise even more in the near future. Dave Nichols went on, “We plan to plant additional vineyards (see Wine Region) to meet those expectations. Our vineyards on the western side of Paso Robles are already at full production and we cannot meet the present demand.”
A new facility was completed in 2003 adjacent to the original winery building. Five years later, an Inn was opened that allowed Opolo Vineyards’ customers to experience the wine industry first hand. Three bedrooms to choose from and breathtaking views are standard fare for The Inn at Opolo.
The overriding facet of the operation is the successful long-term partnership between Quinn and Nichols. The fact that Opolo Vineyards is a partnership rather than a corporation is somewhat of a rarity in the California wine industry. It is also a marvelous example of a hobby for two men that turned into a successful business.
Opolo Vineyards had garnered numerous excellent scores and medals in competitions with various industry periodicals also commenting on the excellence of their wines. The consumer following that Opolo Vineyards has developed is a devoted bunch. We hope you enjoy these spectacular wines!
Map of the area
Paso Robles AVA
It is a simple fact that the Paso Robles Appellation of California’s Central Coast has soared in reputation as one of the finest growing areas within the entire state. For the past decade and a half, the fruit produced around the appealing town has become a must for many serious wineries, including many of the iconic Napa Valley and Sonoma County wine producers.
Almost 90% of the grapes used by Opolo Vineyards originate within the Paso Robles Appellation, with the remainder being sourced from the surrounding Central Coast Appellation.
Opolo Vineyards was one of the early growers that saw promise in the region. “We foresaw the rise in prominence of the Paso fruit when we first bought our land,” commented co-owner Dave Nichols. “We were told that the area was second to none in several aspects of grape growing. That early information has certainly proven to be true. We are about to plant another 25 acres on property we own that is contiguous to our present acreage, and are even considering another 50 acres for planting in the immediate future.”
Dear Platinum Wine Club Members,
If you’ve ever had the chance to visit Opolo Vineyards, you know the moment you step through our doors you’re family. Our passion is to make enjoyable, approachable wines. It’s a passion to provide customers with a unique experience and outstanding service. Since our first vintage in 2001, it’s this very passion that has lead to the creation of some of the finest wines available in Paso Robles. Our 2012 Reserve Zinfandel is no exception.
The Reserve Zinfandel was blended from four of our very best vineyards that capture the unique essence of Paso Robles Zinfandel. This Zinfandel is big and fruit forward yet nuanced and elegant at the same time. Bold fruit flavors, velvety smooth tannins, and just the right amount of barrel age make it an enjoyable wine for any occasion.
Our hopes are that when you open your bottle of 2012 Reserve Zinfandel, you are not only thrilled with the wine presented in your glass but that the passion behind its creation shines through.
From Our Family to Yours,
Opolo Vineyards, Paso Robles
Rick Quinn, Dave Nichols & Chris Rougeot - Winemakers
Part of Opolo Vineyards’ continuing success is the fact that both of its co-owners, Rick Quinn and Dave Nichols are very involved with the winemaking and hospitality sides of the winery. The pair started as home winemakers and parlayed their success into today’s 55,000 case winery. As Opolo Vineyards continued to grow and prosper, the team grew to include Winemaker, Chris Rougeot and Assistant Winemaker James Schreiber. Chris’ advanced experience with a wide range of varietals has proven him the ideal winemaker for Opolo.
Perfecting and blending both Opolo’s estate grown wines and grower selects, Chris curates stunningly artful wines to suit many palates. James first joined the Opolo family by grilling and serving Cevapi Sausage on the patio. Years later, James has honed his cellaring and winemaking skills to collaborate with Chris in producing our favorite Opolo wines.
Dave Nichols - Co-Owner & Winemaker
As part of the enduring partnership that has owned Opolo Vineyards since its inception, Dave Nichols is a type of no nonsense individual that is perfectly suited for his role in the winery.
The Southern California native (San Fernando Valley) originally intended a career as an electrical engineer with a degree through Cal State Northridge. He later matriculated to Pepperdine University where he earned a Master’s in Business Administration.
He is very candid when it comes to his wine experience when he first entered the business. “I was completely fascinated with the idea of the wine industry but really knew nothing about it. I trusted my partner Rick Quinn with knowing what we had to do to succeed. Nichols followed in Quinn’s footsteps and began making his own homemade wine. After his efforts proved to be successful, he was all for the move to vintner when the opportunity arose.
“It is almost incredible that my taste and Rick’s are the same about 95% of the time,” he declared. “When we do the final blends of each wine, we are in agreement on just
about everything. We both enjoy fruit forward wines with soft tannins. We feel that these sort of wines appeal to the greatest number of consumers. As long as our wines show good fruit and are well balanced, we are both quite satisfied.”
Nichols is also aware of the changes in approach that have taken place in the Paso Robles growing area since Opolo Vineyards was founded. “When we started, grape growing around Paso wasn’t that sophisticated. There was more emphasis on quantity than quality. About 20 years ago, there was a major shift toward quality. That shift is the major reason that Paso Robles fruit is in such great demand.”
While Nichols credits the overall move toward quality for his winery’s success, he is also careful to point out that the local terroir on Opolo Vineyards’ 270-planted acres also deserves plaudits for its role.
“We have the best of all worlds on our property. The Pacific coastal influence is well documented and the calcareous soils (of a chalky or limestone type) allow our vines to develop deep roots. Most years, our west side vines are dry farmed, the climate in that area is that benign. When you add in the fact that the mean temperatures are ideal for what we are trying to accomplish, it becomes a win-win situation.”
It seems that Dave Nichols’ life is apparently absolute. He is completely comfortable with his partner of nearly twenty-five years and is totally laissez-faire in his role as winery owner.