In 1994 a dream began at a large winery in Napa Valley when members of the Hartenberger family were on a wine tasting vacation. Sitting out on the patio overlooking the Napa Valley, eating toasted almonds and sipping fine sparkling wine, Rich Hartenberger uttered those fateful words: “Dad, why don’t you take some of your money and buy a winery, and Michele and I will run it for you?” It seemed like such a good idea that Rich's brother Mike soon joined the bandwagon. Robert, Mary Jane, Michael, Richard and Michele Hartenberger founded the Midnight Cellars Winery and Vineyard in March 1995.
The Midnight adventure has now celebrated the 8th anniversary of its founding in 1995. During those rewarding and sometimes challenging 8 years they have held true to their single goal... to produce consistently fine wine... and have developed the 2 critical assets required to accomplish this goal... a Vineyard and a Winery.
The vineyard is located on the west side of the Paso Robles appellation in a topographical region called the Templeton Gap known for cooler daytime temperatures resulting from marine influences. The vineyard is a hillside and hilltop planting with clay, shale and limestone-rich soil. The Midnight Vineyard is 25.5 acres in size and is planted to Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Petit Verdot. Although a complicated subject, many viticulturalists will agree that smaller yields produce superior wine grapes. The vineyard is producing three tons per acre of very intense fruit which has so far resulted in some amazing Midnight Estate wines.
The first Midnight Winery was located in a horse barn (eight years ago), but is now located in a new 10,000 square foot building adjacent to the tasting room on Anderson Road. The winery houses a laboratory, barrel room and tank room with stainless steel tank capacity of 25,000 gallons. This state-of-the-art facility allows our winemaker to produce ultra-premium wines from vineyard to bottle. The current Midnight production is 6500 cases per year. Visitors are welcome to take a tour with the winemaker whenever he is available. Spontaneous barrel tastings are known to occur as Rich is always eager to show off upcoming releases.