Joe and Shirlene Barton dreamed about being involved in the wine industry from the time they had a restaurant in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It was there that they became acquainted with premium wines. When they moved back to their native California, they began looking into the wine industry in the Napa area, and then discovered Paso Robles. The warmth and friendliness of the community convinced them this was where they should be. It did not take them long to become a part of the Paso Robles wine industry. According to Joe, "When you love good wine and great people, there's only one place to be - Paso Robles."
Grey Wolf Cellars was established in August 1994. Joe and Shirlene became partners shortly thereafter and purchased full control in January 1996. Since then, the Bartons have made the winery a family business. They recently renovated a 50-year-old farm house on the west side of Paso Robles for their tasting room, and converted the out building on the property into their winemaking facility.
The ability to create a great wine was always a dream to Joe. "The opportunity to pursue this dream enabled us to start a new lifestyle." The Barton's son, Joseph, studied viticulture at California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo. Together with his mother and father, they planted their vineyard in the Spring of 1998.
Grey Wolf's initial releases were produced from fruit purchased from vineyards in the Paso Robles area. Their first Meritage blend, a 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, under the Barton Family Reserve label was released in 1997. Joe Jr. handles all the winemaking tasks. He credits local winemakers for providing friendly support and advice on how to produce a quality wine.
The Barton family has always worked together. From construction development in the Central Valley of California, to a restaurant in Colorado, and now a winery in Paso Robles, it is family all the way. As was stated by Joe, "We've always been involved in a family business, and now we're concentrating on producing a small quantity of premium wines wholly made by the family. It's our dream come true."