Midnight Cellars was the 29th established winery in Paso Robles and is the happy neighbor of many notable vineyards. This area, also known as the Templeton Gap, has warm days and cool maritime influenced nights, making it a prime growing location. The vineyard is planted on hillside and hilltop in shale and limestone-rich soil. The southwest sloping hills face the Pacific Ocean, influencing a temperature swing of 40-50 degrees from daytime to nighttime.
Richard Hartenberger, son of Mary Jane and Robert, is Midnight Cellars’ winemaker. By controlling every aspect of the winemaking process, from the vineyard to the bottle, he creates wine that optimizes the appellation and the Westside Templeton Gap fruit. Rich is the sole determiner of the picks, and is in the winery every day of the harvest season. In 1996, the family planted 21,000 vines on the hillside and hilltop of their 160 acre ranch. From the bottom of the vineyard to the top there is an elevation change of 500 feet. On three-wire trellises are 8.5 acres of Merlot, 8.5 acres of Zinfandel, 8 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 4.5 acres of Chardonnay and .5 acre of Petit Verdot. The harvest of 2012 marked the 17th leafing year in the vineyard. “The maturity of the vines adds to the full-bodied, complex and established flavor profile” says Rich. The root system reaches 25 to 30 feet through the shale and limestone rich soil. With a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other appellation in California, the grapes in the Templeton Gap make for brilliant ripe fruit.
In 2007 they planted 2 acres of Malbec on their tasting room property, which is located off the Highway 46 West just 1.5 miles off the Highway 101. Anderson Road is the home of Midnight’s tasting room and winery, as well as a few highly desirable wineries including Dark Star, Brian Benson, Booker and Caliza.