Two local wineries are sharing the fruits of their labors at Double Trouble, a tasting room at the corner of Eighth and Main Streets in Newhall.
Hoi Polloi Winery and Pagter Brothers Winery are small-batch producers of wines made from grapes from vineyards near Paso Robles in San Luis Obispo County and Santa Ynez in Santa Barbara County on the Central Coast. Their wines include syrahs, grenaches, cabernet sauvignon, and tempranillo.
“The wine business is everything I thought the music business would be,” said Hoi Polloi co-owner and former music producer Doug Millick. “There’s a cooperative spirit, people help each other out, and we enjoy each other’s success.”
Pagter Brothers co-owner Scott Page-Pagter (with his brother Gib) agreed, citing Bob Tillman, owner/winemaker at Alta Colina Winery in Paso Robles, as a particularly helpful mentor. “He took us under his wing and taught us quite a bit.”
The same cooperative spirit found among vintners also exists the shop’s neighbors along Main Street, Millick said. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised with the amount of support we’ve received from other local merchants.
Neighboring restaurants will serve meals at Double Trouble using the same plates and cutlery they use in-house, making the tasting room almost an extension of the restaurant.
Hoi Polloi’s first vintage was in 2010. Minnick’s partners in the venture are Ted Behlendorf and Dan Erland Andersen. “We’ve been friends for twenty years, and had been talking for several years about starting a winery.”
Double Trouble is only the second tasting room on Main Street, joining Pulchella Winery, but Millick said most customers are familiar with the concept.
“I always if they’ve visited tasting rooms in Paso Robles, and nine out ten have,” he said, so they’re familiar with the relatively small selection and lack of a fully stocked bar.
The idea for a tasting room came after Pulchella Winery “let us pour at one of their pickup parties, and people went crazy,” Page-Pagter said. “We realized that we needed a tasting room.”
Hoi Polloi and Pagter Brothers, which bottled its first wines in 2013, both blend and bottle their wines at a facility the Pulchella owns on Avenue Stanford.
“We opened with a bang, but business dropped off as the weather got hotter,” Page-Pagter said. “We set some goals of how much business we needed to do, and how much we’d like to do, and we’re at the level of what we’d like to do.”
Business should pick up as nearby projects open. The tasting room is one block from the new city-owned parking structure, now under construction, and the future site of the Laemmle Theater. Construction on the theater complex is expected to start this year.
Double Trouble is available for private events, and is home to three wine clubs, one for each winery and one that has wine from both.
“One difference between Double Trouble and other tasting rooms is that we want people to know they’re welcome to relax and spend some time here,” Millick said. “I don’t know if it’s by law, but tasting rooms up is Paso Robles don’t seem to have seats. The idea is that you get your taste and keep moving.”
Double Trouble will soon open a newly paved outdoor seating area, and will book live musical acts.