Carmody McKnight Estate Wines


The wine world must not ignore this message. It is about sustaining quality and redefining classic wine. For some it will seem surprisingly political; certainly it reveals truths with enormous implications for our economic future. The boldest script the awesome narrative with content rarely advanced in the wine world.

Location Description

Located in the heart of Paso Robles, California.


Fax: 805.238.3975


  • No other vineyard in the world has a volcano within it; that's why the wine is the richest in the world!

Additional Information

  • Meeting / Conference Facilities:
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  • Wedding Facilities:
  • Picnic Facilities:
  • Dog Friendly:
  • Winery Tours:
  • Wine Tasting:
  • Art or Architecture:
  • Organic / Biodynamic:
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  • Lodging / Bed & Breakfast:

Average Bottle Price

$ 30


Over thirty years ago, iconic TV and film star and life-long artist Gary Carmody Conway and former Miss America, Marian McKnight Conway, purchased a ranch west of Paso Robles in the Adelaida Hills. Gary first beheld the majesty of the Santa Lucia Mountain valley from a helicopter moments before it crashed. Emerging from the wreckage unscathed, Gary
exclaimed to the stunned real estate broker, "I'll take it!" This is the stuff of legends; and, indeed, in the ensuing years the land and its wonder soils and perfect microclimates have become legendary.

The Conway family planted the 100-acre vineyard in 1986. The commitment to a nutrient-rich, sustainable vineyard was guaranteed by the discovery of the rarest combination of soils including limestone, the "wonder soil" calcium montmorillonite, and volcanic intrusion assuring the creation of renowned, mineral-powered wines -- a declaration of taste and terroir! Just recently the universities discovered the "wonder soil of the century" at the vineyard.

Carmody McKnight's all-estate, artisinal-crafted hand-bottled & hand-labeled -- multiple gold-medal wines have garnered some of the highest scores ever achieved by a California wine. Join us in our historic pioneer farmhouse overlooking a shimmering lake to taste the brilliant and unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. CADENZA is Carmody McKnight's Meritage, passionately blending three varietals. Micro-production MOTIF Wines display the ultimate expression of the earth and winemaker, Greg Cropper's, consummate achievements. KATHLEEN (Conway) late-harvests and Cuvée Champenoise Sparkling Wine are wondrous revelations of creative and rare wine making.

Estate-grown premium, extra-virgin Tuscan olive oil, an international gold medal winner, is another consummate gift of nature. Pair our wines, our Tuscan oils, our love of the land with lakeside feasts that include fruits and vegetables from the super-organic family orchards and gardens.

Carmody McKnight is a one-of-a-kind adventure -- from exploring Mt. Ignées, our backyard volcano, to strolling our art galleries, which display through the hand of man, works blazing with the drama of tectonic forces. We are a visit impossible to forget. Be prepared, though, for the totally unexpected and coming to terms with wine in ways you could have never before imagined.

The Team

Gary Conway:

LINK to Gary's landmark speech at Peking University. A Renaissance man for our time (in fact he was awarded Renaissance Man of the Year at the Paso Robles Film Festival LINK), Gary Conway (born Gareth Monello Carmody) was the youngest artist to win a major prize at the LA County Art Exhibition and, before age sixteen, was awarded full scholarships to the three most prestigious art schools in the country.

Graduating from UCLA, he not only dedicated himself to fine art as a life long pursuit, but also went on to become an accomplished violinist who has appeared at the Hollywood Bowl, and an architect whose work has been featured in Design West.

His remarkable talents expanded to include TV star, and it was in television where he became an instant worldwide celebrity, first with a starring role in the TV series Burke's Law. While on this classic series he had the rare opportunity to work with a grand array of legendary stars of the silver screen, from Mary Astor, to Bette Davis, to Gloria Swanson, to ZaZu Pitts. Gary became very successful as a screenwriter and wrote the scripts for such popular films as Over the Top, as well as the highly successful American Ninja series. He also originated film scripts for such stars as Laurence Harvey, Catherine Dueneve and Eddie Murphy.

Over the last decades, Gary took on the chores of viticulturalist and farmer, work that ennobles the soul. He learned one lesson in the experience -- Don't Get Mad Get Even! VIEW and see for yourself:

Marian McKnight Conway:

Even among former Miss Americas, Marian McKnight Conway is outstanding.

As a high school valedictorian, magna cum laude, and straight-A student throughout her schooling career, Marian was able to receive her first full scholarship at South Carolina's renowned Coker College based on intelligence testing. She finished her education at U.C.L.A. on an academic scholarship (one of four she received for special academic achievements including a full scholarship as part of Marian winning the Miss America title). Regarding her freshman and sophomore years at Coker College in Hartsville, SC, which was a woman’s college at the time, Marian remarked that “the Coker professors and their expectations made UCLA a piece of cake.”

The beauty of the mind is matched with Marian's natural beauty, which has been well recognized, even recently: On glo at msn “girl crush” Marian was chosen as one of the top 11 Miss Americas of all time: LINK and Life Magazine on Miss America’s 90th Anniversary Celebration chose the 12 Hottest Miss Americas: LINK

A few years after graduation and her marriage to Gary Carmody Conway, whom she met in UCLA, Marian and Gary bought a broken-down ranch in the enchanting Central Coast of California.

Ranching wasn’t exactly what Marian had in mind for herself, and thirty years ago they planted a vineyard and then the first Tuscan olive grove on the Central Coast. Of course, a life often changes in direction. Witness Marian's Camay Commercial as Miss America: VIEW And just as much fun... a beauty among beauties (a little nostalgia please!): LINK Then of course: BEFORE THE GRAPE THERE WAS GRAPEFRUIT!

Marian is now the proud proprietor of Carmody McKnight Estate Vineyard and Winery. Marian is the practical rancher... “In ranching if you can’t sell your cattle you couldn’t possibly eat all that steak, but now wine…well, that’s a different story!” TALK TO MARIAN in her Blog which is all about the wonders of Tuscan Extra Virgin Olive Oil and recipe sharing!

Greg Cropper:

Let's make no mistake about it, winemaker, Greg Cropper, is the leader in the authentic Natural Wine movement which is the resonating conversation today in the wine world. Natural Wine (link)

Appropriately, Greg is a "natural" winemaker which approximates a "natural" artist, one where the art is intrinsic and self-evident. That is why Greg calls the natural straw bale winery -- in fact, an above ground cellar... his atelier. Atelier is the French word for "workshop," or the workshop of an artist, where a principal master works with with other artists producing works of art. This was the standard for European artists from the Middle Ages to the 19th century, and common elsewhere in the world. The original atelier was a carpenter's work shop. Appropriately, Greg started out as a fine carpenter.

Greg Cropper's road to the land and his atelier was long. Greg had the opportunity over twelve years ago to be an integral part in the development of a premium Central Coast winery. He became cellar master, then vineyard manager, before joining the Conway’s as general manager and winemaker.

He brings his special creativity and versatility as well as a deeper understanding of the art of the vineyard.

Greg is committed to nutrient-rich, sustainable viticulture and has created a model of ideal ecological balance and natural harmony at the Carmody McKnight Vineyards.

Greg has worked closely over the last five years with university, state organizations and industry in various projects advancing not only the knowledge of the soils and geology of the Carmody McKnight Vineyards but viticulture in general.

These projects include partnerships with California Polytechnic State University, the State of California as well as John Deere, Motorola and Earth Information Technologies. Greg is managing the varietal selections and winemaking processes of an extraordinary long-term study which is leading to the first scientific understanding of terroir.

Kathleen Conway:

Kathleen Conway grew up with the land that became Carmody McKnight. A winemaker in her own right (her late harvest Kathleen Cabernet Franc as well as her sparkling wine has gained an extremely loyal following), she knew that even magical lands need down-to-earth commitment. When Kathleen took on that responsibility the quest for great winemaking began in earnest.

visit sparkling kathleen and vivacity in a bottle!

Kathleen has extended the inherent biodiversity and sustainability of the land to all aspects of the Carmody McKnight property while ensuring that the unique ecosystem of the land is not only maintained but enhanced.

She has introduced a wide range of animals – from free-range chickens to fiber-producing alpacas – to underscore the idea that the greater the variety of species, the healthier the ecology.

Kathleen extends that principle into her organic gardens and orchards where forty varieties of tomatoes are commonplace. Because of the wonder soils on the property, for over ten years the gardens and orchards have never needed fertilization of any kind and of course have never been sprayed with weed killers or pesticides.

For Kathleen, biodiversity and sustainability are not concepts to be achieved someday but must be an essential part of one’s life day-by-day.

Practices & Techniques

Indeed, in the ensuing years… this pristine land, now known to lie prominently in the Premium Wine Growing Area of the United States if not the world, has evolved into a legendary vineyard. Legendary is an understatement as the land was tectonically formed 26-million years ago by three volcanoes emerging in lava fire from out of an inland sea. From this ultimate power we now find supersoils and wonder soils seen nowhere else on the planet. The volcano trio, amazingly, exists within the 160-acre property lines, and the natural grapes actually grow in the magma! Shades of Shangri-La!


Top Wine in the World! Greatest Array of Rich, Rare Soils and Micronutrients Ever Experienced in a Vineyard

One of the earlier chapters of the Carmody McKnight saga involved the most important scientific studies ever conducted on a vineyard with implications that reach far beyond viticultural maintenance. Carmody McKnight Estate Vineyards was chosen as the only vineyard in the United States to be the subject of an extraordinary joint effort between the State of California, John Deere Global Ag. Services; Motorola, Inc.; Earth Information Technologies, Inc.; and Cal Poly University Earth & Soil Sciences, Food Chemistry, Food Science, Nutrition, as well as Statistical Departments (the studies).

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11240 Chimney Rock Road
Paso Robles, California 93446
United States

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