Kevin Riley admits he is “totally obsessive and compulsive about winemaking.” Growing up the son of a wine store owner in Westport, Conn., Riley moved to the Central Coast in 1996 to study viticulture and fruit science at Cuesta College and Cal Poly. By the time he was 30, he already had worked for a half dozen wineries, and was consulting winemaker for Sextant Wines, AJB and Pomar Junction. He also had launched his own two labels, Proulx and Blackburn. And somewhere along the line, he made time to start a family.
“My wife says I never take days off, but it’s because I enjoy what I do,” Riley explained. “It’s part of my life, it’s not just something I do with my life.”
Now Riley has opened a new tasting room for his label Proulx. Located on Vineyard Drive near Paso Robles, wedged between Denner Vineyards and Jada Vineyard, it sits on the top of his in-laws 34-acre property. The tasting room overlooks a 55-year-old dry farmed zinfandel vineyard — a labor of love for him and his father-in-law Ken Fuller, and the source of his prized zinfandel wine.