Autry Cellars
5450 Edna Road
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Tasting hours: 11am-5pm daily

Steve Autry, a former aerospace engineer turned winemaker, became a fully licensed brandy producer in 2012. In a sheet metal building at the southern cusp of the distillery trail, he makes fruit spirits on a still he describes as a cross between the Beverly Hillbillies and The Jetsons. “I’m working twenty hours a day,” Autry smiles, “and I’m still a part-timer. Full-time is 24 hours.” Part of that work is devoted to continual tinkering on the still. The custom-made unit has a 15-gallon stainless steel boiler and three insulated columns outfitted with fin tubing he designed and had custom-made in Ohio. “Real spy satellite technology,” he grins. “I used to make this sort of tubing in aerospace under microscopes.” The long days and high-tech skills are paying off. By 2016, Autry Cellars grappa and brandies were racking up awards. Autry’s production is small, but it’s suited for walk-in customers at his winery who often add a bottle or two of his varietal grappas, grape brandies (aged in either Hungarian or American oak) or apple brandy to the wine they tote away.

Products: Apple brandy, brandy, varietal grappas and port