"Wine Mic Monday" is a VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we are proud to feature ONX Estate discussing their unique private vineyard tours! Find ONX wine experiences using the VAULT29 app!
"Private Vineyard Tours" by Ann Day-WIlls & Brian Brown
Since our inaugural vintage in 2008, the ONX team has been focused on producing wines that portray individually distinct personalities, which also in turn possess consistent commonalities recognizable as a family of cuvees. Our six estate blends are an expression of ONX Estate, located in the Templeton Gap district of Western Paso Robles bordering the Santa Rita Creek. Each blend highlights a particular grape, alongside a cohort of blending varieties to produce a wine of character and completeness. Our goal is to craft individual wines that communicate both the personality of the vineyard and the vintage from which they are born, albeit each from an independent angle and through a different colored lens.
The ONX journey began when proprietors Steve and Brenda Olson began searching the Paso Robles area in 2004 for a specifically cooler Westside Paso Robles vineyard location. They purchased the initial 43-acre site in 2005 and since have added additional acreage giving ONX Estate 122 acres of contiguous land along the Templeton bench. Located just 9.75 miles from the coast, the Olsons recognized immediately how the warm days of summer quickly gave way to late afternoon cool-downs in this unique location.
The seed for ONX Estate was planted in the mid 2000’s when Brian Brown was introduced to Steve Olson by a family friend. Brian spent a weekend with Steve and Brenda during which time they mapped out a vision for developing the property into an ultra premium vineyard. They decided not to play it safe limiting themselves to just traditional or more popular varieties, and instead planted numerous blocks with a mixture of Rhone, Spanish, Bordeaux, and Italian varieties. The Estate was ultimately planted with over 20 micro-blocks that contain 13 varieties and many with multiple clones, providing Brian Brown, Winemaker and Director of Operations, a diverse assortment of fruit to develop the best flavor profiles for the uniquely expressive blends of ONX Wines.
The vineyards of ONX Estate are truly the heart of ONX Wines, and Steve was determined to create a hospitality experience that centered around the land. Although we have a large estate, more fruit is sold to premier wineries in Paso Robles, than is used for our own wines. Being such a small producer, approximately 2500 cases, we do not have a public tasting room. Instead, we developed an old tractor shed in the vineyard into a hospitality and education center where we greet our guests before heading out on a tour of the vineyards. We are proud to now offer small batch-exclusive tours designed to transcend the ordinary and bend the wine world’s collective consciousness. In addition to the tractor shed, we also developed several distinct “embedded oases” carved from the land—each a destination unto itself.
“Touring the vineyards at ONX is all about discovery,” said ONX Winemaker Brian Brown. “We want to share all of the individual environmental ingredients that blend together in the glass; this creates a platform for revealing what makes each of our cuvées unique.”
Visitors are invited to sink their boots into authentic wine country soil and immerse all five senses while visiting the estate. Well-worn wood and the glint of antique silver make for a warm welcome at the ONX Tractor Shed. A reverence for the land is evident along every step of the way, from the ONX Creekside Oasis—with its moss-laden oaks overlooking the Santa Rita Creek—to the Meadow Oasis, offering a cheerful picnic spot enlivened by rustic-chic accoutrements and fresh-cut flowers. For those seeking a 360-degree view of the ONX Estate vineyard, the Oaks Oasis awaits. Hazy sunlight filtering through rows of Sauvignon Blanc and Tempranillo vines make for an experience matched only by ONX wines.
“It is an exciting time to be making wine in Paso Robles,” Brown said. “This is the fastest growing wine region in the state, and the zeitgeist is practically tangible. The positive pioneering spirit of the area and the collaborative nature of the vintners set the stage for experimentation in the cellar and a deeper understanding of the possibilities of the terrior.”
We invite you to experience ONX Estate on your next trip to Paso Robles. Be ready to get your boots dusty as you explore the heart of Paso’ s Templeton Gap.