Introducing Copia Vineyards & Winery: The Path to Paso Robles
Visiting Paso Robles in 2015, Varinder Sahi and Anita Kothari stumbled upon the path their lives have taken, and they haven’t looked back since. “Right away, we felt there was some- thing special about this place of visionary farmers and winemakers being unapologetically true to who they are,” said Anita.
Call it karma, call it kismet: The couple is now “literally doing everything” as the owners, winemakers, and general managers of Copia Vineyards and Winery, an up-and-coming brand drawing serious attention. According to wine critic Jeb Dunnuck, “Certainly, if these ﬁrst releases are any indication, the future is very bright for this team.” A professional engineer turned commercial real estate developer, Varinder had an agricultural upbringing in Punjab, India. “You never forget your roots,” he said. “And I always wanted to get back to the land.” The couple trained under “tell-it-like-it-is” vigneron Eric Jensen of Booker Vineyard, whom they credit as their biggest influence and mentor.
They’re now the proud parents of 50 acres of paradise on earth in the Willow Creek District AVA, a sweet spot for limestone and calcareous soils with features similar to the Rhône Valley. “When we saw this site, it took our breath away. Rolling hills, Templeton Gap breezes, bright sunshine, mineral-rich soil,” Varinder said. A re-cultivated 20 acres were recently planted to Syrah, Grenache, and Mouvèdre, plus some Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
The couple looks forward to using their estate fruit in a few years. Until then, they source from some of the best vineyards around Paso Robles. “This year, we were lucky to work with amazing sites including Denner Vineyards, Slide Hill, and John Sebastiano Vineyard,” Varinder said. For the 2019 harvest, they’ve sourced and vinified Syrah from eight vineyards, a varietal for which they have a particular passion.
“As newcomers, we could not be here without everything That came before. It takes life experience and passion. It may sound trite, but if you don’t love it, you’d be quite insane to do this,” said Anita.
And the energy keeps flowing. In three years, a new architect-designed, state- of-the-art winery and tasting room at the vineyard becomes the brand’s showcase setting among the stunning rolling hills just west of Paso. Forever small and always a family enterprise, eventually,
Copia will be almost all estate, producing fewer than 5,000 cases annually, with a culinary focus as well. Because Anita worked with Drew Nieporent’s Myriad Restaurant Group in NYC, she explained, “It was my practical hospitality and wine education, as Tribeca Grill has one of the best wine lists in existence. Both Varinder and I are huge food lovers and we’re looking forward to creating pairing experiences.”
Meantime, what’s being poured at Copia’s charming brick-walled tasting room on 13th Street? Very local, very small production wines like The Pope Grenache, The Blend GSM, and The Source Syrah. Anita says, “This is just the beginning of the journey and we can’t wait to share more.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION: www.copiavineyards.com
Article By: Laurie Jo Miller Farr