Close up of Opolo Vineyards grape clusters

Opolo’s Mountain Zinfandel: A Paso Robles Icon

This is the story of Opolo’s Mountain Zinfandel, an icon of Paso Robles for 21 straight vintages.

Zinfandel: The Heritage Variety of Paso Robles

The story begins in the mid 1800s. At that time, Zinfandel was a staple of early California winemaking, and it proved to be well adapted to Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County.

It is said that Frenchman Adolph Siot planted Zinfandel grapes west of Templeton in the 1850s.

Andrew York planted Zinfandel in the coastal mountains in the 1870s, and Ignace Paderewski, a Polish statesman and concert pianist, planted Zinfandel in the 1920s in the Adelaida area.

These are just a few examples of how Zinfandel became the heritage grape of Paso Robles

Opolo Vineyards post marker

The Origins of Mountain Zinfandel

Fast forward to the late 1990s, when friends and partners Rick Quinn and David Nichols established Opolo Vineyards in the coastal mountains of the Willow Creek area. At that time, the modern Paso Robles wine industry was still in its formative stages, and Rick and David recognized the region’s immense potential.

Zinfandel was a natural choice as a cornerstone wine, both for its local heritage and its suitability at our estate and other vineyard sites located in the westside coastal mountains. The name of the wine was an equally natural choice: Mountain Zinfandel.

“We made a big bet on Paso Robles Zinfandel from the very beginning of Opolo, and the Mountain Zinfandel has been our flagship ever since,” Rick says.

Along the way, the trademark Mountain Zinfandel style has remained unshakable: rich, bold, fruit-forward and always lively through the finish.

Best wine tasting in Paso Robles, Opolo Vineyards
Aerial view of the Opolo harvest crew
Bottle of Opolo Mountain Zinfandel next to a plate of fruit

A Modern Classic

Opolo’s portfolio has since grown into a diverse family of wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and Rhône varieties—which have also become synonymous with Paso Robles—are also a mainstay at Opolo.

Meanwhile, our Zinfandel offerings have expanded to include the Summit Creek Zinfandel as well as reserves and vineyard designates. For this reason, some have called us “a house of Paso Robles Zinfandel.”

And through it all, the Mountain Zinfandel still stands tall.

The new 2020 vintage is a faithful reflection of the Mountain Zinfandel experience. It comes predominantly from three of the most heralded sub-AVAs of Paso Robles—Willow Creek District, Adelaida District and Templeton Gap. The fruit from the Willow Creek District comes from two of Opolo’s estate vineyards: the main Opolo Estate as well as Dove Pond Vineyard.

Under the direction of winemakers James Schreiner and Chris Rougeot, the individual 2020 Mountain Zinfandel sites were hand-picked and fermented in stainless steel tanks and small open-top fermenters, all with attentive phenolic management to ensure optimal mouthfeel.

The 2020 vintage exhibits all of the classic hallmarks of Opolo Mountain Zinfandel, most notably a bold, lush palate distinguished by fine structure and vivid fruit flavors that are true to the mountain regions of Paso Robles. This wine received 92 points from Tasting Panel Magazine, which praised it as “opulent and seamless.”

“We are proud to honor our local winemaking heritage as a specialist in Paso Robles Zinfandel,” David says.