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The demise of Midlife Crisis Winery

July 15, 2009

In February, I had a new car. And zounds, I was itching for a road trip.   I hadn’t taken one in years, at least not one that didn’t involve obligatory familial holidays.  My options?  Going west, as the old slogan went, had its limits – 30 minutes and boom , ocean.  The other cardinal directions all had their appeal, but North was the loudest.  Plus, there was wine. Time to break in the stick shift.

That was how SJ and I ended up in Paso Robles.  It has been called the Anti-Napa – free from the oenological mecca status that seems to require a certain amount of seriousness and pomp, and yet is still able to produce some delightfully fine vino (Rhônes and Zins get called out the most).  We hit downtown and stopped at Vihuela, Pianetta, and Midlife Crisis Winery, the later, ostensibly, to attend a wine and dog adoption event (wineries and dogs go hand in paw) that ended up being canceled.

Little did we know that it was a sign of things to come.

Hearing sad tales of great businesses going dark never seems to get any easier.  Midlife Crisis is one of those places built on dreams and hopes and a lot of community support.  They’re the people you root for and then praise to the skies when the dream becomes something really magical – which in their case it did.  But when the well dries up, so does the dream.  The owners depended heavily on their Hollywood industry income to back them up.  And when Hollywood decided to flip on its back and play dead, so did the banks.  Midlife Crisis Winery has become one casualty among many.

Here’s the thing that really kills me inside – not only is Midlife Crisis Winery closing up shop, their 2007 Zin, allegedly their best yet, won’t even get bottled.  Dumped?  Ignored?  Evaporated?  Who knows?  One hopes some soft-hearted vintner takes pity and gives it its day in the sun.  But being a winemaker is not for the soft of heart when it comes to cold hard numbers.  And so many of those numbers seem so brittle these days.

I tasted and thoroughly enjoyed my zins at Midlife Crisis (and their sangiovese and their syrah).  I still have a few on my wine shelf, which I’m now tempted to horde away as a reminder of what they brought to that liberating road trip.  SJ and I will be making another journey up north this weekend to pay our respects and nab a few more bottles.  According to the website, they’ll be selling everything that isn’t nailed down, but for my part that seems a bit too much like vultures hovering over a not-yet-dead body.

July 27th is their last day.  They’re making with the discounts in order to make an 800 case sales goal before they shut their doors.  If you haven’t bothered before now?  Go ahead and give a few bottles a try.  You won’t get another chance and the price is depressingly right.

Midlife Crisis Winery
Tasting Room
1244 Pine Street, Suite A
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Open Thursday- Monday 10:30 a.m – 6 p.m.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 15, 2009 1:51 PM

    Could I talk you into grabbing me a bottle of zin, you vulture, you? 🙂

    I think you and SJ should invest in the 2007 zin and get it bottled. Save the day, you know you want to!

    • feliciaelena permalink
      July 15, 2009 1:53 PM

      And you also wanted a Pianetta petit syrah, yes? I think we can swing that.

      You know, if I had the money to do it? I think I totally would. It’s just a heartbreaking waste.

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