Get the Dirt about Tlo Wines from Andy Zaninovich

17 Sep

tlo-family1. What was your first vintage year?
We began making wine in 2008 but we did not sell our wine until May of 2013 starting with our 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon.

2. How many cases do you make per vintage? We make 500 cases per vintage.

3. Do you have a Tasting Room? 
We do not have a tasting room but we are happy to set up private tastings by appointment though email ( or by phone (805.769.8564).

4. If not you, who is your winemaker? 
I am the winemaker and owner of Tlo Wines (Andy Zaninovich), but my wife, Kathleen, son, Adam and daughter, Avery help with every step along the way.

5. How did you get your start in the winemaking business?
I grew up watching my uncles in Croatia try to make wine in their basements. It never turned out to be very good but it sparked my interest. I had two goals when I started making wine. To make homemade wine that is good, and to make a wine that my daughter could use when she gets married. She is getting married November 1, 2014 and is having a wine pairing dinner using only Tlo.

6. What wine made you want to become a winemaker/start your own winery?
We have many inspirations for our winery such as Kenneth Volk’s vision, Chappellet’s style and the 2006 Epoch Winery Tempranillo.

Tlo-dad-tasting7. What varietals do you work with? Which varietal/wine is your favorite to make? Why?

Since we source all of our fruit from throughout the Central Coast, we make many different varietals each year-Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, GSM, Tempranillo, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah. We are hoping to make a Grenache Rose for the 2014 season. As a winemaker, my favorite varietal to work is our Musqué Chardonnay because we barrel ferment it and it is so unusual.

8. What vineyards do you source from? 
Tlo is a Croatian word meaning “terroir”. Therefore, we choose the best fruit from the best vineyards throughout the Central Coast for that varietal each year. One of our favorites is the Spanish Springs Vineyard in Edna Valley where we source our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

9. What type of oak treatment do you use? Why?
We use a combination of French and American oak as well as stainless steel tanks and barrels. We like combinations. It allows us to be creative.

10. What do you love about your winemaking region? What makes it different special?
The entire Central Coast is so diverse, Paso Robles especially with it’s microclimates and cool nights, which gives the grape such intense flavors. Paso Robles is also amazing in that it is such an inclusive industry. We really enjoy the camaraderie.

Tlo-GSM-bottle11. What’s the story behind your name/label?
Tlo was founded in 2008 by Andy Zaninovich as a family wine making operation, born out of a fascination and passion for interesting wine. We create rich, balanced wines in a handmade, boutique style just as our ancestors did in Croatia. That is why we chose the name Tlo, a Croatian word directly translating to ground, earth, or soil, terroir; the natural elements that enhance a grape’s flavor, especially soil, topography, and climate.

12. What’s the one thing you wish someone had told you about the wine business before you started your own winery?
It takes more time to market the wine than make it. Fortunately, my daughter studied Agribusiness Marketing at Cal Poly and has handled all of the marketing. We are now sold throughout Bakersfield and have 50 wine club members. Next we hope to tackle restaurants in Paso Robles and Las Vegas.

13. We’re curious…do you even get tired of drinking your own wine? Is it considered bad form to dip into your inventory?
I love drinking my wine and sharing it with friends and family too. We look forward to the times when we can open some Tlo together. As long as you keep a good record of where your wine goes, you are doing all right.

14. Do you still have a day job?
Yes, I am a table grape grower by trade, which gives me the ability to recognize and hand- select premium fruit from growers in this region.

To learn more about Tlo Wines, please visit their website and follow them on FACEBOOK and TWITTER.

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