Qupé was named to honor the indigenous people of California’s Central Coast and Channel Islands, the Chumash. In Chumash language the word for the California poppy sounds like “kyoo-pay,” so estate founder Bob Lindquist gave the name a French spelling and used it for his label. Lindquist founded Qupé in 1982 after a dozen years working at Central Coast wine estates and wine shops. Qupé quickly earned a following for Chardonnay, though Lindquist’s passion is Rhone varieties. He is one of the pioneers of the Central Coast Rhone Rangers movement and has been influential in creating a market for well-made American Syrah, Grenache, Roussanne and Marsanne. Qupé grows grapes on its own San Luis Obispo County vineyards, and sources grapes from premier local vineyards including Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria Valley. Qupé makes red and white wines that win accolades from reviewers.
Paso Robles AVA is midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, and it is considered one of the West Coast’s most exciting winemaking regions. With its hot, sometimes searingly dry and sunny weather, it is especially good country for growing warm climate grapes such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Because many Paso Robles wineries have been successful with blending these grapes into Rhone Valley-style wines, it is known as the Rhone zone of California. The AVA was created in 1983 and there are 32,000 vineyard acres. In late 2014 the AVA was divided into 11 smaller sub-appellations, so starting with 2015 vintages labeling will become more specific on Paso Robles wines, which will now also list sub-appellations. Located in San Luis Obispo County, Paso Robles, the town and its surrounding area, was traditionally a farming and ranching region. But from a few dozen wineries in the early 1990s to more than 200 today, the area is quickly becoming known for wine and risk-taking winemakers.
This grape is grown in milder climates and produces a medium-to full-bodied wine. It is also known as Shiraz, but should not be confused with Petit Sirah, which was developed by crossing Syrah with Peloursin.