A bottle of pinot and a nice place to sleep
Creig P. Sherburne
Philip Krumal may well embody everything that makes Central Coast wine
He’s only lived in North County for about 10 years, and said that because
he still visits his many friends living in Los Angeles, coming home to
Atascadero still feels special.
Krumal also did his research. He decided that rather than grow what’s
popular or trendy, he’d grow the grape that would do best in the area.
But wine isn’t the only thing Krumal does. When he’s not making wine for
Asuncion Ridge Vineyards, he’s running a bed and breakfast out on the vineyard.
Krumal said he’d wanted both a bed and breakfast and a vineyard since
he was in his early 20s.
“I’d gone up to Napa Valley when I was about 21 or 22,” he said. “I fell
in love with the entire wine culture.”
But it would be nearly 20 years before that would happen.
First he had to go on tour with the Boz Scaggs Band as a trumpet
player. Then he played trumpet in the Honolulu philharmonic orchestra
and as a backup player for greats including Frank Sinatra.
After that, Krumal said he spent more than 10 years selling BMWs in Santa
“Everything you’ve ever heard about the car business, it’s all true,”
he said. “I just helped my ex negotiate a lease at my old dealership, and
nothing’s changed. It’s horrible.”
From there, it was real estate in Pasadena where he met his business partner,
Together, the pair looked for an area with land suitable for both the
bed and breakfast and the vineyard they wanted. Though Krumal said they
looked all over the state, they kept coming back to Paso Robles.
“When we bought the property, there were maybe 45 winemakers in Paso,”
Krumal said. “We just knew it was going to be a boomtown. And now there
are more than 300 wineries.”
Krumal and Dilsaver bought the land in 1999 and started growing grapes
in 2000. While the grapes were growing, Krumal operated his bed and breakfast
and worked at Windward Vineyards making wine.
Also while his grapes grew, Krumal participated in the Pinot and Paella
Festival as a paella chef, which he said was great fun.
Asuncion Vineyards got its name from the ranch it’s on, Asuncion Ranch.
The ranch, Krumal said, was owned by an oil company, which parceled the
ranch and sold it off in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.
“We’re up on this nice long high ridge and felt we wanted to keep the
name of the property,” Krumal said.
Asuncion’s labels were designed in a similarly prosaic yet solid way.
“I had [our artist] out here to get a feel for the place,” Krumal said.
“When he first started coming here, we had a lot of Texas longhorns on
the ranch. There’s a longhorn skull at the end of the driveway. He really
loved the idea of incorporating that into the label. So that’s what we
did, we based the label on the cattle that were grazing here on the ranch.”
Asuncion makes four wines: pinot noir, pinot noir barrel select, and the
two deliciously named blends: 3 Sum, a syrah blend, and Swinger, a cabernet
For all the time spent on the vineyard, making wine and working in the
tasting room, it’s obvious that Krumal’s heart and soul are in the bed
“I have to give Michael more credit for designing the house,” Krumal said.
But it’s Krumal who cooks the breakfast and lives in a house near the
bed and breakfast itself so he can operate it on a day-to-day basis.
Paella is still a specialty, though there are plenty of traditionally
egg- and pancake- based dishes on the menu.
Whether working with wine or with vacationers, Krumal’s philosophy is
“It’s part art and part science,” he said, “and you can’t force anything.”
Asuncion Ridge Vineyards
725 12th St., Paso Robles