The winery founded by Justin Baldwin in 1981 turned heads worldwide after Wine Spectator magazine declared the 1997 vintage of the Isosceles red blend the world’s sixth best wine. The Cabernet Sauvignon–heavy Isosceles is now one of several signature red blends. Though known for Bordeaux-style blends and variations on the theme, the winery makes several whites, a rosé from Cabernet Sauvignon grapes and dessert wines, too.
Baldwin sold the winery a few years ago to the parent company of Fiji Water and Pom pomegranate juice but remains involved in the blending process and as a winery spokesperson. In addition to tasting current releases at JUSTIN’s window-filled tasting space, you can also have lunch, brunch or a multicourse dinner at the restaurant here. Or bed down in luxury at the on-site bed-and-breakfast. Up against Paso Robles’s more down-home outfits JUSTIN can at times seem almost too pretty. The wines are well made, though, and the hospitality generally lives up to them. A tasting on the patio in fine weather is always a pleasant experience.
Tip: JUSTIN is way west of downtown on sometimes winding roads. The drive takes about a half-hour.
Controversy: In mid-2016 JUSTIN clear cut hundreds of oak trees on one of its properties to make way for additional vineyards. In response to negative publicity and complaints from neighbors, the winery’s parent company donated the property to a nonprofit land conservancy and began drafting plans to restore the land. Read more about the incident here.
Why go: wines deserve their critical acclaim; window-filled tasting room; outdoor patio; excellent restaurant