As you relax in the dappled sun streaming through the Sycamore trees flanking the patio, you can look up at the hills of the Filipponi Ranch and almost hear the gentle sounds of cowbells as the dairy herds from a generation ago graze the grassy hills. Today, founder Lorenzo Filipponi's dream of a better life lives on at his family homestead through great wines made with heart and served with the warm welcome of family.
Create Your 805 Wine Country Adventure
Our winery reviews are designed to give you the information you need to learn about the winery, how to get there, and what to do once you make it down.
What to Know
Back in the early 1900s, Lorenzo Filipponi immigrated from the village of Gordevio, Switzerland, in search of a better life. He purchased 300 grass-covered acres in the hills south of San Luis Obispo.
There, he started a dairy farm that was active for many years. In fact, when you arrive at the winery, look up to the hill behind the tasting room. There, you’ll see a stone outline of the family cattle brand. The cross represents the Swiss flag, and the bell shape around the cross signifies the bells worn by the cattle.
Over the years, as smaller, privately owned dairy farms began to go the way of the buggy whip, the Filipponi family started looking for new opportunities for their ranch. Herb Filipponi, one of Lorenzo’s children and raised in the ranch house that’s now the tasting room, had the idea to transition the dairy farm into a winery.
Wine production took over the dairy barns, and still today much of the production still takes place in the barns. And as the Filipponi family started making more wine, they knew their outdoor tasting tent would need a bigger and more permanent replacement.
The family ranch house, built in the early 1900s, was it. The family spent two years renovating and remodeling the home into the tasting room you experience today with a visit to the winery.
It’s both a tribute to the hard work of a family with shared dreams spanning generations and a welcoming place for wine lovers that’s filled with heart and authenticity.
How to Go
Getting to Filipponi Ranch is part of the fun. While you can see the historic yellow tasting room just off Highway 101, there’s no exit right there. Instead, take the exit for Los Osos Valley Road, then look for the turn to Calle Joaquin Road and a sign with a lot of hotel logos.
Keep driving past the hotels, then you’ll see the KSBY TV station on the top of the hill. As you start to head downhill, you’ll see the homestead of the Filipponi family. The restored yellow ranch house was renovated into the tasting room several years ago.
What to Do
From Thursday through Sunday, the tasting room is open from 11:00 to 5:00. This truly is a family owned and operated winery. Once you step inside the tasting room, you’ll likely be welcomed warmly by a Filipponi family member.
Friendly sisters Dana, Julie, and Lisa are often serving in the tasting room. You might meet father and founder Herb Filipponi on his rounds checking on production and winery operations. He’s great to talk with and loves sharing family history, how the winery started, and his favorite wines.
As you learn about the wines being poured in your glass, take time to explore the displays of historic records and artifacts from the original Filipponi dairy ranch, including the original land deed. A fascinating and priceless collection of SLO County history.
$15 for 5 wines
Waived with purchase of one bottle.
Check with tasting room for latest info and prices.
If the weather’s nice, take your tasting outdoors. Just head out the back door of the former family home and sit beneath the giant Sycamore trees. The whispering leaves and the sun filtering through the tall branches make for a truly relaxing tasting experience.
You’re welcome to use the picnic area and stay for a game of bocce ball or horseshoes.
During the summer, the Central Coast Shakepeare Festival takes up residence at the natural amphitheater nestled behind the winery. It’s a fun, family friendly event where you bring your lawn chair or a blanket, and enjoy live theater while sipping on Filipponi Ranch wines.
“Filipponi Ranch selects grapes from some of the finest vineyards on the Central Coast. We focus on bringing you wines that showcase the wonderful fruit that the vineyards offer us. Life is better with a glass of wine, good food, close family and friends. These are the values that we strive to bring you through our wines and our ranch.”
— Peter Cron, Winemaker
What to Try
Filipponi Ranch specializes in small productions of high-quality wines. Sourcing some of the best quality fruit from several fine vineyards in SLO County, winemakers Peter Cron (note the Chronologie label, which is a play on his last name) and Nate Thompson strive to create wines that reflect the personality of each variety and the terroir in which it’s grown.
One of our favorite Filipponi Ranch wines is their Albariño (and it often sells out because it’s so good). Using whole-cluster and combining stainless steel and neutral French oak, the result is crisp, bright rendition of this Spanish grape.
Another white we like is the Verdelho, a relatively rare Portuguese grape that’s both fruity and has nice acidity. And we love the name Tre Sorelle — a white blend named for the three Filipponi sisters who grew up on the ranch: Julie Franklin, Lisa Cracknell, and Dana Milstead.
Moving on to the reds, the Mourvèdre and Tempranillo are two we enjoy. They both represent true characteristics of these grapes, like the red fruits and robust tannin in the Mourvèdre and the cherry flavors and structure of the Tempranillo.
And the Lorenzo, a GSM that leads with Syrah, is well balanced with the spice of Syrah and the lightness of Grenache, with good tannins that pull it together. We think Lorenzo Filipponi would approve of his namesake wine.
When you want to go wine tasting in 805 Wine Country at a winery that combines great wines, proud family history and a great story — and at a pretty place that’s surprisingly close to the city — Filipponi Ranch is a must.