About St. Hilaire
John and Laural Anderson are long time residents of the Central Coast. John migrated to the area 30 years ago and Laural moved here with her family 50 years ago.
With basic knowledge, John began making wine in 1994. A friend's garage served as his first enology classroom with grapes being purchased from various locations in the Paso Robles/Templeton area. Over the next few years John came to realize that the quality of his homemade wines was limited by his wine making knowledge and the quality of the grapes he was using. Perfecting his home wine making technique was his only option and inevitable.
In 1998 John and Laural found the perfect piece of property for their vineyard. They moved onto an undeveloped 20 acre parcel (previously owned by Clarence Hawkins) and developed 5 acres into vineyard - the beginning of St. Hilaire. (pronounced hill-air) Without much practical experience in farming, John designed and developed the vineyard starting from scratch. 4 varietals were initially planted and thus began 2 years of babysitting vines that were growing up the stakes like serpents. A quadrilateral trellis system is used to enhance quality and control vegetative growth common in our fertile soil.
Between 2001 and 2003 most of St. Hilaire's crop was sold to commercial wineries or home wine makers with John holding back enough to continue producing his privately made wines. In 2005 John became bonded and made the leap to producing his own commercial wine beginning with a small lot of Merlot. In 2005 the production was doubled to 107 cases when the first Meritage was produced. This "anchor" wine received a silver medal at the Orange County Commercial Wine Competition. Starting in 2006 the production was increased to our maximum production of 175-200 cases per year.
With the passing years the vineyard has evolved in ways we would not have predicted. Two of our original varietals have been removed (Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) and replaced with Zinfandel. Given our success with the Zinfandel it was a wise choice. Most recently we removed 2 acres of Cabernet vines keeping only a few vines for our commercial production.
The commercial winery is located off-site at In Vino Veritas. Wines can be purchased from John or Laural by contacting them directly at (805) 441-3824.