Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country

After heavy rains washed out Adelaida Road, a county road crew quickly rebuilt it. If only the story ended there …

Folly Follows Flood in Paso Robles Wine Country
Installation art or bad parking job? This truck became encased in concrete after driving onto recently repaired Adelaida Road. (Instagram/@TablasCreek/@PasoRoblesWineries)
Jan 17, 2023

Update, Jan. 21: Local winemakers from Tablas Creek, Adelaida Vineyards, Alta Colina, Parrish Family, McPrice Myers, Le Cuvier, Refind, Nenow, Hawks Hill and Daou gathered at the site of the viral concrete disturbance to celebrate Adelaida Road's reopening.

The ongoing heavy rain and flooding in California has been national news this month, with at least 19 deaths and damages now expected to exceed $30 billion. It’s been a soggy start to the new year for winemakers, but most vineyards and wineries should escape the floods largely unscathed.

Across the Golden State, hundreds if not thousands of roads suffered washouts, and state and county repair crews worked heroically to address them. But the washout that occurred on Adelaida Road in Paso Robles on Jan. 9 is becoming something of a local celebrity.

”There was literally a gaping maw in the road, like a giant cleaver had split it,” Adelaida winemaker Jeremy Weintraub told Wine Spectator. He added that Adelaida Vineyards and Winery had suffered minimal damage during the frightening floods, and their winery and tasting room on Adelaida Road are now back open for business.

Nearby Tablas Creek winery posted video of floodwaters rushing over Adelaida Road. “We are getting pummeled by this storm in Paso Robles wine country,” reported Tablas Creek via Instagram on Jan. 9, a day that Tablas Creek partner and GM Jason Haas reported getting nearly 6 inches of rain at the winery. “This spillover is pushing hard and isn't letting up as the rain continues to pour.”

Thankfully, there wasn’t too much winery or vineyard damage to report in Paso Robles, beyond the washed-out roads, downed trees and power outages. And the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department has been doing an extraordinary job repairing roads in quick fashion. Case in point: Adelaida Road.

“Can you believe it?” exclaimed @PasoRoblesWineries on Instagram. “This hard-working @countyofslo crew completed the repairs to the washed-out portion of Adelaida Road in 1 day. By Monday we’ll all be driving across this wonderful repair.” Or so they thought.

By the following day, there was a new obstacle on Adelaida Road: a large white pickup truck, unceremoniously cemented in place. Someone decided to test their luck against the seemingly clear “Road Closed” sign and attempted, quite unsuccessfully, to ford the fresh concrete slurry.

According to multiple local winemakers, the driver allegedly abandoned the truck, and by the time the rather large fly in the ointment had been discovered, the concrete had hardened to the point where the truck couldn’t simply be towed back out.

Fortunately (?), this isn’t that out of the ordinary for the dedicated members of the San Luis Obispo County Public Works Department, and special equipment was soon on the scene to effectively extract the truck and repair the road (again). Locals report that the new and improved section of Adelaida Road is once again open for business.

In fact, the SLOCPWD routinely publicizes photos of vehicles (including the illegal parking job on Adelaida Road) that have ignored road closures and found themselves in hot water, deep sh*t or wet concrete. It happens … a lot.

Nevertheless, the prevailing mood among Paso Robles winemakers seems to be optimism and gratitude. ”It’s always nice when the concrete dries and there aren’t any pawprints or hearts with arrows … let alone a pickup truck!” laughed Weintraub. “[But] I’m looking out the window at a blue sky with puffy clouds. It’s a nice change of pace …. We all feel pretty fortunate.”


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