It all started with an extra six tons of grapes that a winery could not accept and process. Tobin (Toby) James, a lowly assistant winemaker at the time, asked the owner of the winery if he could have the grapes and make wine out of them for himself. The owner replied, "sure kid, knock yourself out". A year and a half later, gold medals began pouring in for Toby's first Zinfandel, the 1985 "Blue Moon" Zin.
After making his wines at another local winery for a few years, and tasting and selling them out of a local wine shop in town, Toby finally took the plunge and built Tobin James Cellars in 1993.
Built from the ground up on the site of an old stagecoach stop, it might seem more natural to stroll into the old-fashioned western-style saloon, place your booted foot on the brass rail of the bar and order a shot of whiskey from the bartender. However, in the Tobin James tasting room, award winning wines are poured from behind the grand, antique 1860's Brunswick mahogany bar from Blue Eye, Missouri.
Tobin James Cellars, located 8 miles east of Paso Robles on Highway 46, sits among 71 acres of vineyard's and oak dotted hills. A magnificent setting for magnificent wines! As soon as you approach, you see something unique. The wooden structures, heralded by the rotating blades of a towering water pump, have a character all their own, There is even a restored stage coach stop that is now being used as a guest house that will take your breath away. It seems everything structural is relevant of age and history.
Come visit Tobin James Cellars for a truly unique wine tasting experience, or call us for a delivery and find out for yourself why our wines are "Paso Robles in a glass"! You will see why this Paso Robles Winery is a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike.
The Winemakers — Tobin James and Lance Silver
Tobin (Toby) James grew up on a vineyard in Indiana, worked in a wine shop in Cincinnati and knew at the age of 18 that he would own a winery. He apprenticed at the Estrella River Winery, eventually being hired on full time and becoming their cellar master. From there, he headed to Eberle Winery to eventually make their wines with Gary Eberle.
When Peachy Canyon started, the owner needed a winemaker. A deal was struck so that Toby would become the founding winemaker and also have the opportunity to continue making Tobin James Cellars' wine at the same facility. The very first wine Toby made won a spot on the coveted "top 100" wines of the year with the Wine Spectator. Toby's reputation continued to grow, and in 1993 decided to build his own winery on highway 46 east of Paso Robles.
Lance and Claire Silver met Tobin James in 1996 on a quest to either buy an existing winery or start a new one. The trio quickly clicked, and knew that a partnership would answer their dreams. The three partners make a perfect match between winemaking and business expertise.
Lance, a self confessed "certified wine snob", brought his own touch to the Tobin James Cellars' winemaking style, adding even more intensity and depth to the incredible lineup of wines. With the Silvers' and Toby's commitment to excellence, Tobin James Cellars will continue to strive to make the greatest wines on Earth and to provide their renowned and outstanding hospitality.
Claire Silver, Lance's wife and Toby's "prettier" business partner, handles many of the business operations of the winery. Claire is also involved in making Tobin James wines, doing final sensory evalutions and wine blending. She really enjoys connecting with tasting room guests, offering them true Paso Robles hospitality while they experience and savor Tobin James' incredible line-up of wines.
Claire grew up in San Francisco and Los Angeles. She and Lance met while they were attending UNLV and married shortly before graduation. They moved to Whittier shortly after the birth of their twin daughters. In 1997, the Silvers moved to Paso Robles to pursue the winery business.
Monica Martin, General Manager- A native Paso Roblan, Monica started with Toby when the current facility opened in 1993, and has become the heart and soul of Tobin James Cellars. Handling everything from accounts payable to Zinfandel, Monica is indispensable to the day to day management of the winery.