If you haven’t already noticed, Opolo features a little “Balkan” flair as evidenced in our bold wines, welcoming hospitality and flavorful cuisine.
Indeed, winery owners Rick Quinn and David Nichols choose to emphasize the hearty, festive spirit of the Balkans as a nod to Rick’s family heritage and deep roots in that region.
“I grew up in an Italian, Serbian and Croatian neighborhood in Duluth, Minnesota where English was not my first language,” Rick says. “Just about everyone loved making ‘backyard’ wine, and our families would order grapes that were delivered from California in a boxcar. By the time we got the fruit, it was already fermenting!”
After moving to California as an adult, Rick continued his love of wine and winemaking as a hobby, eventually buying a Westside Paso Robles vineyard property so that he could source all of the grape varieties he loved.
A Taste of Balkan Spirit
Rick later partnered with his friend and neighbor David Nichols, and they acquired more Westside and Eastside vineyard acreage. They conducted their first commercial crush under the Opolo label in 1999.
“Back then, when hardly any wineries were offering food, we started with free samples of our Cevapcici made using the Old World family recipes,” Rick says. Our daily bistro menu today features Balkan-inspired Charcuterie plates. That vibe has also expanded into full-blown heritage-themed parties at the winery complete with dishes like whole barbecued lamb and Balkan-style orchestras, ethnic dancers in authentic native costumes and more.
If you’re an Opolo Wine Club member seeking even more cultural immersion, there’s also a chance to sign on to Rick’s annual Adriatic tour. The next excursion is the “Adriatic Coast” event happening June 14 through June 28 in 2023. Rick will escort 45 fellow wine lovers as they imbibe in the history, culture and flavors of Croatia, Montenegro, Serbia and Slovenia.
Our winery continues to evolve, producing Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sangiovese, Chardonnay and other wines, not to mention our storied Zinfandels. Meanwhile, our genuine passion for wine and life, borne of our Balkan roots, remains very much alive.