THE BOAR ENDURESTHE POODLES HAVE THE RUN OF THE PLACE.You see them as soon as you pull into the Eberle Winery parking lot, a pair of handsome black standards lounging disdainfully on the concrete patio. You can pet them if you like, but it’s clear from their posture that they’d rather you didn’t. One of the pair, an 11-year-old named Roussanne, is referred to by her owner as “our dowager princess.” Napping on a nearby deck is Spikey, a cat whom Gary Eberle jokes should have been named AT&T because “he likes to reach out and touch someone.”If none of the winery’s four-legged denizens are terri-bly cuddly, the sternest of them at least doesn’t threaten to scratch or bite. Resting on a low brick foundation in front of the winery entrance, the bronze fountain of a wild boar is cast from the same mold as the famous Fontana del Poreellino in Florence. Eberle explains thathis surname translates roughly from Low German as “young boar;’ hence his fondness for the sculpture, and the reason an image of a wild pig adorns every bottle of his wine. There are parallels between Eberle ’67 Edu and that bronze beast. Most days, both can be found greeting visitors to the winery, the boar on its brick platform, Eberle on a patio chair next to the entrance, a glass of his signature cabernet within easy reach. Both are sturdy and impos-ing, though Eberle is rather more talkative, happily chatting up tourists and locals alike. For many of them, the jovial host is as much a draw as the free tastings and tours of the win-ery’s barrel-lined caves. The man who helped put Paso Robles on the California wine map is at once a celebrity and a fixture. You can’t imagine the place without him. It’s been a little more than three years since the takeover that stunned the California wine industry, and particularly folks in this scenic Central Coast town of 30,000 people and some 200 wineries that splits the distance be-tween San Francisco and Los Angeles. In mid-January 2014, three of his business partners—one of them his sister-in-law—combined their shares in the winery and told its founder and namesake, without warning or explanation, “You’re no longer in charge.” Sitting in his customary spot on a spring af- 46 THE PENN STATER March/April 2017ENDURING CHARACTERS Like the bronze boar that guards the entrance to the winery, Eberle is a fixture on California’s Central Coast. Where their owner is, the winery’s resident poodles, Roussanne and Sangiovese, are probably not far behind.
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