Central California is home to some of the best wineries to visit in Paso Robles. Brothers Georges and Daniel Daou have been making world class wines for years and today they continue to pave the way and push the boundaries of operating one of the best wineries in Paso Robles – DAOU Vineyards. At a young age while still in Lebanon, they were brought up respecting the people around them, which translates into how they do business today. Along with starting a successful technology company, the Daous continue to strive for innovative solutions and improve every function of the business whether it is hospitality or viticulture.
Large Groups OK
If you’re looking for a map of wineries near Paso Robles, the one below will provide a Paso Robles Winery list with the Top Paso Robles Wineries. DAOU Vineyards is located in the heart of Adelaida District AVA and about a 20 min drive from Downtown Paso Robles.
10 Questions and Answers with Daniel and Georges Daou
At Wine Routes, we had the opportunity to catch up with the Daou brothers and talk about the winery’s history, approach to winemaking, viticulture, and sustainability. A key focal point is their overall approach to a customer-centric business model that drives all facets of the winery’s operations.
Q. Wine Routes: Both of you have done a tremendous amount in your lives from escaping war, to bringing a technology company public to starting a world class winery. What is left or what is next? Is there a big goal on the horizon that you want to achieve collectively or individually?
A. Georges Daou: Our goal was, is and always will be to deliver a feeling to the consumer. As long as the consumer is looking for the approachable dream and things that evoke emotion and pleasure, we will continue doing what we are doing. We are mindful of consumer preferences and only hope to continue to evolve as to never disappoint the consumer who has come to us for better wine, better experience and a better culture.
Q. Wine Routes: If you look at the last 15 years of the winery’s storied history, what are a few of the key takeaways? Have there been any major inflection points from a business perspective that distinguish DAOU becoming a world class winery and destination for enthusiasts and travelers alike?
A. Georges Daou: We have created the approachable dream by allowing our guests to have an amazing experience, amazing wine and connect with our amazing people, who believe that when they come together, they can do extraordinary things.
Q. Wine Routes: With regards to Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles, how has the winemaking approached it from a cellar perspective? How has the winery evolved their approach? What are key things you are looking for with regards to DAOU Cabernet Sauvignons? What separates a DAOU Cabernet Sauvignon from the others within Paso Robles wineries? What are you doing differently?
A. Georges Daou: We don’t do anything differently because we don’t compare ourselves to anyone. We want all wineries in Paso Robles to do well. We just focus on our DAOU Mountain and vineyards, Our People, the environment we are blessed to be custodians of and last but not least our consumers and valued guests.
We are a sustainable winery, very mindful of the limited resources the world has (water and others) and the environment in every way to bring as much pleasure as possible to the consumer.
A. Daniel Daou: What separates us from other wineries in California is that we are able to create wines that are powerful, without sacrificing elegance.
Today DAOU Vineyards is making some of the best Paso Robles wines, consistently earning 95 to 100-point ratings from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate.
Q. Wine Routes: My understanding is you take the guest experience to the next level from a customer service perspective. Can you elaborate on your approach and what makes visiting the winery a unique experience?
A. Georges Daou: The traditional “sales-focused” model that has historically existed in our industry is the opposite of who we are and how we feel about the guests who come to experience the joy and beauty of DAOU Mountain and my brother’s remarkable wines.
Our focus is true connection, one guest at a time. We welcome our guests as if they are coming home and they leave as members of our family. Our architecture, views and landscape have and artistic and emotional effect on all who visit. Our winery was created for that connection-and our team delivers it from their heart, each and every day.
Q. Wine Routes: DAOU has a major employment footprint within San Luis Obispo County. What role do you think the winery plays from an economic and tourist perspective for the region at large?
A. Georges Daou: When we first came to the Paso Robles wine region, our mantra was “Live the Dream, Come to Paso” It was and still is all about the region-not about DAOU. We wanted to share the gifts of this amazing place and bring guests to understand the bountiful beauty that is Paso Robles.
As we continued on our journey, we gathered together several neighboring wineries in the area and founded a group dedicated to elevating the quality of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux called the Paso Robles CAB Collective. Together, this group has made great strides in continually pressing the boundaries of the status quo and doing their part to place this region on the world’s stage, where it belongs.
We love Paso Robles and San Luis Obispo County, and our people who live, work and play in the area do too. When visitors from all over the world come to join us at DAOU, they too experience the unparalleled beauty and sense of community here. Once they see, feel, touch and taste, our region is forever in their hearts.
Q. Wine Routes: What role have the next generation of DAOU family members played within the winery and how do you see that evolving in the future?
A. Georges Daou: The next generation of DAOU family members begins from the ground up, whether that is in the tasting room, cellar, vineyard or other parts of the business. They learn from the beginning not only so they can learn and understand all aspects of the business, but so as they grow they find their way into their areas of passion and utilize their God given talents in the best way.
Q. Wine Routes: Georges and Daniel both have technology backgrounds. How does that play into the overall operations of the winery itself across the entire spectrum of hospitality, production, viticulture, sales etc.?
A. Georges Daou: We are focused on innovation in all areas and don’t ask “ Why?” but instead ask “Why not?”
This innovation mindset allows us to continually evolve and grow.
We also share inspiration and education via Harvard case study seminars with our entire workplace and other opportunities.
Our purpose is to create a WOW moment for the consumer when they open a bottle or arrive on DAOU Mountain. This takes a lot of work, commitment and passion fueled by innovation.
Paso Robles – Water – Sustainability
Q. Wine Routes: Paso Robles is facing uphill water challenges. From a solutions perspective, how is the winery looking to tackle some of these risks and issues whether it be the depletion of groundwater or lower amounts of annual rainfall?
A. Daniel Daou: We are at the forefront of water management. We have developed an AI based system that allows us to predict which block will need water a week in advance therefore being proactive in our water management and very judicious. Our terroir allows us to dry farm our vineyards or use deficit irrigation requiring very minimal water.
Q. Wine Routes: The winery has seen tremendous growth. Besides being well capitalized, what is the “secret sauce”? What has been the biggest factor in being able to grow the business?
A. Georges Daou: We are a people business in the wine industry. We put people first. That is all of our people-the consumer, distributor, sommelier, buyer, the retailers. If we can make everyone successful we are making the right decision. From a 360 degree viewpoint, we try to make decisions that are purpose driven, not financially driven.
We stay focused on our True North-exceeding the expectations of the consumer.
Q. Wine Routes: What are some key initiatives on the horizon that you are working on? Can be anything from new grape varieties to guest experiences.
A. Georges Daou: Come visit us on DAOU Mountain and imagine the impossible, then root for us to be there, because we believe the impossible is possible.
Best Wineries to Visit in Paso Robles
DAOU Vineyards Overview
Who – Owners – Georges and Daniel Daou
Winemaker – Daniel Daou
What – Family owned and operated winery in Paso Robles
When – 10:00am – 5:00pm daily by appointment
Where – 2777 Hidden Mountain Rd. Hidden Mountain Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446
Reservations – DAOU Vineyards Reservations – Online
Website – DAOU Vineyards
Best Paso Robles Wines
DAOU winery produces a wide range of wines from Paso Robles. They are divided into 4 wine collections (based on pricing and amount of aging in new French oak barrels.)
1. The Estate Collection
As the name suggests, The Estate collection is Daou’s premium collection produced from estate grown and sourced grapes. The grapes come from some of their best vineyards showcasing complex flavors and the unique Paso Robles terroir. This collection is terroir-driven and varietals include Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Chardonnay, and Estate Sauvignon Blanc.
The Estate collection blends include:
- Estate Soul of a Lion
- Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
- Estate Micho
- Estate Mayote
- Estate Cuvée Lizzy
- Estate Chardonnay
- Estate Sauvignon Blanc
2. The Reserve Collection
The DAOU Vineyards Reserve collection comprises the finest barrel-aged DAOU wines. Each wine (varietal or blend) is made from French grape varieties that express the unrivaled terroir of Paso Robles – both from the estate’s vineyards and other top producing regions.
The Reserve Collection Focuses on – Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Rose.
The Reserve blended wines are:
- Reserve Solomon Hills Pinot Noir
- Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
- Reserve Unbound
- Reserve Chardonnay
- Reserve Rosé
- Reserve Seventeen Forty
- Reserve Eye of the Falcon
3. Journey Collection
The Journey Collection comprises Merlot, Chardonnay and red wines made from rare red blends.
These wines are:
- Sequentis Merlot
- Bodyguard Chardonnay
4. The Discovery Collection
The Discovery Collection includes Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- DAOU Sauvignon Blanc
- DAOU Pinot Noir
- DAOU Discovery Cabernet Sauvignon
- DAOU Discovery Chardonnay
Best Paso Robles Wines – Wine Routes Recommendations:
2019 Soul of a Lion – lush stone fruit aromatics on the nose with flavors of blueberry, dark cherry and a touch of tobacco round out this wine. Perfect tannin structure with a great balance in this Bordeaux style blend. Drink now or hold back for years to come.
2020 Reserve Seventeen Forty – Inspired by the classics of Saint-Émilion, the 2020 DAOU Reserve Seventeen Forty is a Cabernet Franc driven wine with a harmonious complement of Merlot. Beguiling aromas of blackberry cobbler, raspberry, crème de cassis and cherry pipe tobacco anticipate hints of toasty oak, black licorice and pencil shaving. Lush and full bodied, this wine bestows rich flavors of cherry, black plum, dark chocolate and blueberry compote with lovely accents of Zante currant, graphite and cinnamon.
2020 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – blackberry and currant aromatics on the nose with flavors of raspberry, cassis and a hint of spice. A velvety texture with a nice lingering finish showcasing Paso Robles as a World Class Cabernet Sauvignon destination.
2020 Cuvée Lizzy – dark and bold with flavors of blackberry, blueberry and roasted coffee beans. This full-bodied Bordeaux based blend has a great mouthfeel and a long finish. A red blend composition of 48% Malbec, 35% Cabernet Franc, 12% Petit Verdot, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.