Ever heard of Tin City? Not to be confused with “Sin City,” a nickname for Las Vegas, Tin City is a contemporary indie wine trail and artisan food and drink hangout built in an industrial park in Paso Robles. The name refers to the metal industrial warehouses that line this walkable area, now filled with winery tasting rooms and eating spots. Don’t miss the artisan sheep’s milk ice cream at Negranti Creamery!
There are roughly 20 small-lot production wineries with tasting rooms in Tin City which makes it a nice day visit. And that’s where we met up with Jeff Strekas of ONX wines to taste and talk.
Founded in 2005 by Orange County (CA) entrepreneur and real estate developer Steve Olson, ONX (pronounced “onyx”) refers to the onyx calcite deposits discovered in the mineral rich soil. The vineyards are located on a 127-acre property in the Templeton Gap District AVA. ONX cultivates 18 different grape varieties, mainly Bordeaux and Rhone white and reds but also Touriga Nacional and Tempranillo (we liked the Tempranillo “Indie Rosé”).
Jeff Strekas’s bio says he is a “general misanthrope and curmudgeonly spectator of the “Theater of Life.” We found him pleasant and deeply knowledgeable about the Paso Robles area. He was born and raised in Connecticut and caught the wine bug after traveling to Napa frequently when he worked as a biochemical engineer. After graduating U.C. Davis, he worked in winemaking in Napa and Australia and eventually in Paso Robles. He’s worked at ONX for more than a decade, originally in winemaking and now as Director of Operations and Wine Growing.
ONX’s winemaker is currently Drew Nenow, who worked at his father’s Robert Nenow Winery and aunt and uncle’s Behrens and Hitchcock Wines. Nenow could also be a body double to actor, Tom Cruise, with his wide grin and shock of dark hair.
Our visit to ONX included a two night stay at Briarwood Cottage. Owned by the winery, it’s a cozy, well-appointed place to rest your head, walk among the vineyards and write about the day. Info: Briarwood Cottage Vacation Rental — ONX Wines.
Tin City is a must stop for your visit to Paso Robles. We wish we had more time to visit more of the tasting rooms and plan to do so when we schedule our return trip.
Here is a link to our podcast with Jeff Strekas on The Connected Table LIVE! Continue reading to learn what we tasted.
ONX wines we tasted:
Indie Rose of Tempranillo, 2019 ($22)
Field Day, 2019, a blend of Sauvignon Blanc 80%, Grenache Blanc 15%, Viognier 5% ($28)
Mad Crush 2017, a blend of Grenache 35%, Tempranillo 29%, Mourvedre 24%, Syrah 5%, Zinfandel 5%, Petite Sirah 2% ($48)
Crux 2017, a bend of Mourvedre 35%, Syrah 35%, Grenache 27%, Petite Sirah 3% ($54)
A.V.A. trix 2017, a blend of Grenache 61%, Syrah 39% ($48)
Reckoning 2013, a blend of Syrah 55%, Petite Sirah 15%, Tempranillo 10%, Grenache 10%, Zinfandel 10% ($58)
Info and to purchase direct form winery: www.onxwines.com