Rotta Winery Company Profile
o longtime fans of this wine region, the name Rotta Winery might ring a few bells, but only if you were familiar with Paso Robles' wines before the rest of the country barely knew where Paso was. In fact, you have to go back several decades to discover the beginnings of Rotta Winery, which was one of the first three wineries established in Paso Robles. The original vineyard and winery were started in 1856 by a Frenchman named Adolph Siot, who later sold the successful enterprise to Joe Rotta in 1908. In the 1920s, Rotta then sold it to his brother Clement Rotta, who bonded the winery after Prohibition in the 1930s and forged the label into one best known for its hearty Zinfandels. Today, the Rotta label is being revived by one of their grandsons, Michael Giubbini, who remembers long, happy days of working in the vineyard as a child when he visited his grandparents from his home in Menlo Park. He fell in love with the area, so after graduating from high school, he attended Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, and has been here ever since. In 1990, despite the demands of a now 30-year career as a fire captain with the California Department of Forestry (CDF), Giubbini undertook the task of replanting the old family vineyard "mostly to Zinfandel. It's a hearty grape that's proven in this area, and my grandparents planted it. I wanted everything head pruned and dry farmed - dry farming's really the only way to go out here." The 20-acre Rotta estate vineyard has 15 acres in Zinfandel and five in Cabernet Sauvignon. Until 2002 -- the first that Giubbini kept the fruit for the Rotta label -- the grapes went into the wines of nearby Castoro Cellars, where the Zinfandel enjoyed a prestigious "Giubbini Vineyard" designate label. Giubbini Vineyard Now the Rotta label is focusing on red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, and Black Monukka– a dessert wine, Zinfandel Port, but white wines will also be appearing on the list as well. All of the fruit for the label will be sourced from local vineyards, especially those from the Westside. Caporale is a strong believer in the potential of the Paso area, and particularly the Templeton region where their ancestors farmed. "We want the Rotta wines to reflect the high quality of our old vines and reflect the unique nature of our soils," said Mark Caporale. The Rotta tasting room and winery is located in the Templeton hills, and features a unique blend of history and modern winemaking technology. One thing that's definitely staying is the old redwood sign with "Rotta Winery" neatly hand stenciled in white paint. "I painted that sign when I was ten years old," remembered Giubbini.