HOLLYWOOD(Spiritsman)12/28/13/–The Refind Distillery that produces Refind Gin and Vodka is located in Paso Robles, an area much better known for its wine. Proprietor Alex Villicana has been producing wines for twenty years, but now his attention has been focusing on spirits. The vodka retails for $35 and has a premium base of ripe, red wine grapes which makes the vodka special due to the compound glycerol which is producedduring the fermentation of red wine grapes.
Alex is also is keen on infusing his vodka with organic delights such as ripe cucumbers, such is the enthusiasm he has for his latest passion. Technically it is really a neutral brandy, but for marketing purposes it also passes as a vodka. It has a long, spicy finish and has hints of blueberries and vanilla.
The juice which is known as saignee, is usually removed to improve wine quality before fermentation and mainly thrown away is distilled three times to produce the Vodka and Gin.In the future they envisage bottling Refind Bourbon and Rum, and business is so brisk that they have installed a second still, which I believe is German in origin. They have also released a Limoncello which you can also try for free at the Tasting Room which has been described by other scribes as either quaint or rustic.
The Gin which retails for $38 actually uses Refind Vodka as its base, and then they add a blend of botanicals such as juniper berry, coriander, orris root, lemon and orange peel, grains of paradise and lavender, all mostly sourced from farms in the Central Coast of California. This gives the gin a soft, sweet and lingering finish, and although it is called gin, it can also be referred as ‘botanical brandy’ due to the fact that it uses raw grape juice as opposed to grape seeds, pulp and skins. There is also a trace of black pepper on the tongue when you drink it straight or on the rocks.
The winery opened in 1993 and the Distillery in 2011 and in the very first year he turned a thousand gallons of surplus saignee into 200 cases of spirits, and sold out almost immediately. In year two he persuaded some of his competitive wineries to sell him their waste resulting in ten thousand gallons and presumably about 2000 cases.
The winery consists of 13 acres with an elevation up to 1,600 feet,and they specialize in Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel, but have also produced Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Viognier, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
Call ahead if you are interested in a personal tour.
Refind Distillery 805-239-9456
Tasting Room Hours-Saturday & Sunday 11.00 am-5.00 pm
2725 Adelaide Rd, Pasa Robles
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211