Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Gardens
The author with Carmen Sporer, center, and Sofia Polanco Hollum at Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Gardens in Paso Robles. The tasting room and welcoming, unique atmosphere will draw you back again and again. (Keys 2 the Coast photo)

The Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Gardens in Paso Robles is well known and highly regarded for its delightful varietals and incredible, one-of-a-kind sculpture garden. The Frankel family has, yet again, brought another unique draw to their vineyard.

A new exhibit, “The Legacy of Wine in California” wall, showcases 43,000 pounds of weatherproof iron that has been skillfully crafted into a 20-by-386-foot interpretation of the wine and wine grape industry in the early days of Paso Robles. The wall is a masterpiece, one part large-scale photo album and one part sculpture and painting.

Originally, there was a need for a sound wall to be a good neighbor. Dr. Warren Frankel had a brilliant solution to turn it into a showpiece that tells a story.

The wall is a magnificent visual timeline that showcases the history of the California wine industry. I highly recommend that you come to Sculpterra for the wine and to see the artful chronology of the Golden State. It is an education on wine making.

The unique wall was crafted by a well-known artist already featured at Sculpterra Winery. Bob “Dr. Iron” Bentley had previously worked on the fencing of the property, as well as metal features in the tasting room.

The work is masterful. Frankel and Bentley worked together for the past two years, gathering photographs and other historical documents from locals, historical museums, and other wineries in the area. All the documents and pictures were assembled, enlarged and placed on the aluminum for the public to see.

The pictures are in chronological order, beginning with early pioneers and travelers journeying up El Camino Real, California’s western heritage, our local hot springs, and even photographs of Camp Roberts from World War II.

There is a featured section showcasing the “star” of the vineyard, the wine. Photographs show both Sculpterra and other local wineries that have flourished in the area.

The San Luis Obispo County wine story is a compelling one. It’s mind boggling to consider the current number of businesses and 14,000-plus jobs that have been created by this thriving industry.

Wine grapes

Wine and wine grapes are a multibillion-dollar industry on the Central Coast. (Keys 2 the Coast file photo)

According to a 2015 economic study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center at UC Davis, the Greater San Luis Obispo County and Paso Robles American Viticulture wine and wine grape industries had a whopping $1.9 billion economic impact on the regional economy.

The same report showed that the wineries had 1.56 million tourism visits.

Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Gardens, at 5015 Linne Road in southeast Paso Robles, is a place I’ve visited many times. The wines are excellent, and you’ll be delighted with the distinctive Reserve Primitivo and another of my personal favorites, the heavenly Reserve Bentley Cabernet.

With all of the wineries and tasting rooms in San Luis Obispo County — an estimted more than 250 wineries and roughly 100 tasting rooms — the choices that we have today, in the midst of this modern-day Gold Rush, Sculpterra is a sure bet.

The Sculpterra Winery & Sculpture Gardens tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Call 805.226.8881 to check holiday hours.

— Donna Polizzi is a travel writer and founder of Keys 2 the Coast, a trusted travel resource for the Central Coast and beyond, including sharing favorite places to “Wine, Dine and Explore.” She can be contacted at Connect with Keys 2 the Coast on Facebook. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.