Who wants to go to Paso Robles Wine Country anyways??
I do! I do! Pick me.
Quickly growing into a mecca for fine California wine varietals, Paso is a must stop for many wine country travelers.
With breathtaking scenic views, a very close knit community and all that great California wine to boot… it is no wonder that Paso Robles is becoming… so popular… so quick.
From historic vineyards, and walnut orchards to the charming downtown area, art walks and foodie delights, it is a tourist spot for many different types of people.
With the growing number of folks interested in tasting wines coming from this region, the crowds are flocking in. Include me in that number, I visited in Autumn for a tour provided courtesy of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance and Kristen Green PR
The wineries in Paso are much more small-batch and less commercial than some larger wine growing regions in California.
One gets a more personalized visit when entering a tasting room at many of these family run wineries, visit as many as you can while there, remembering…
Wineries like to know that you are coming so they can prepare and pull out a special bottle or two from the library ahead of time.
Call ahead to schedule with small batch tasting rooms and you can thank me later.
One of the things I also love about the region is the locally made walnut and olive oils, organic and natural treats, creams, lotions, etc. that you find on each stop.
The local farms, chefs and wineries all work together and oftentimes I found that the local food producer and winemaker share a retail space.
For example, I loved visiting LimeRock Walnut Orchards, touring with the owner and then heading up to the tasting room to sample products and shop locally made walnut food stuffs.
In the same store were two different wine-tasting bars, both from Paso Robles, where guests can sample wine and food while they shop.
Shopping with glass in hand is ALWAYS the way to go if you ask this girl.
Before growing into what it is now, the Paso area was a sleepy kind of town better known for it’s cattle ranchers than wine-makers.
It still maintains the small town and community feel even during it’s wine country transformation.
There are a few very distinct areas to visit with more than 200 wineries total and 26,000 vineyard acres planted and growing.
Established in 1983, the Paso Robles Viticultural Area (AVA) is made up of rolling hills, steep hillsides cut by small canyons, sometimes along creek beds or rivers and there seems to be limestone everywhere.
This makes for some fantastic views so don’t forget to visit a winery “on high” or two. Some grapes grow as high as 1,900 feet above sea level with 360 degree views of the region giving grapes and visitors a better “lay of the land”.
Paso Robles has a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other appellation in California. This creates very distinct micro-climates, diverse grape growing terroir and a longer growing season. These factors are “just what the doctor ordered” for some wine-making varietals.
Only 6 miles from the Pacific Ocean, it can also be nice to stop along a beach somewhere and have a picnic, share a bottle that you discovered along the way and take in more of the sights of California. But there is more to see than the outdoor views…
One of the nice things about downtown Paso is that you can see, smell and taste A LOT in this compact area in a short time. For a wine-soaked trip, this may be the right spot for you.
The winemakers are inventive, the new restaurants popping up all over town serve local, farm to table food and the artists are busy bringing beauty back to this region along the Central California Coast.
Waking up amid the grapevines with breathtaking sunrise views, or in a fabulous new resort with all the amentities, or perhaps in a small historic bed and breakfast downtown, Paso can be a luxurious, yet at the same time, comfortable place to visit.
As many people are well aware, I have seen a tasting room or two in my day… or a few hundred more….
Below I have included some great places to visit and tips, advice and suggestions about the region from a recent wine loving visitor…..
Here are my favorite places to visit from a recent trip to Paso Robles, California…
Big Pours in the glass and a smile on my face.
A BRAND NEW in 2015 – European-inspired resort, a peaceful escape that blends the charm of California’s Central Coast and the Mediterranean…all set within the scenic beauty of lush, rolling hills and Central Coast skies. 171 guestrooms and suites, private terrazzas, and custom bath amenities. Relax poolside in private cabanas or lose yourself in an exhilarating culinary and wine tasting adventure. Cello Restaurant is on-site for meals and a full bar as well as Spa Allegretto for those needing to be pampered and wanting to stay right where they are. Vineyards and orchards, bocce ball, culinary delights, yoga and meditation, art around every corner and a boutique-style spa featuring seasonal treatments. Allegretto is where the Chef knows every farmer and grower by name, creating a seasonal menu of pure and authentic local fare. As you tour the grounds, you can discover a cache of stories which offer an intimate peek at the passion that is the true foundation of the Allegretto and vision of Doug Ayers of Ayres Hotels.
For decades, this family has grown organic walnuts in the heart of Paso Robles, California wine country with an eye for quality, responsibility and taste. They grow heirloom English varieties of walnuts, which include Hartley and Franquette. They are known for having light, sweet nut meats. An untainted nature of heirloom variety. 23 acres of trees. The farm uses dry farming to grow its walnuts, which means the orchard lives on only natural rainfall, creating a sweeter, more flavorful nut. They give tours and have a Boutique Store in Paso. The store features a variety of delicious finds in the artisan food boutique, from honey to local flavored vinegar to our own estate roasted walnut oil. Artisan food tasting flights are available Friday through Monday and otherwise by appointment. Pair food with featured local wines while relaxing on a cozy porch overlooking the pond and walnut orchard.
Zinfandel Vineyards, owl boxes, oak trees, and a meandering creek are found on the property when visiting. It has a “down to earth” winery tasting room feel and customer service takes center stage. Beautiful wine barrel room and patio overlooking the vineyards. The vineyard tour and The Inn offer amazing views if you can book it. Enjoy Opolo wine with a full lunch menu at the tasting room. Featuring fire roasted pizzas, oyster service, mezze, salad, and house cevapi sausage platter daily. Open Monday – Sunday from 10:00am to 5:00pm. The owners have about 280 acres of vineyards in Paso Robles, about 200 acres on the Eastside and 80 on the Westside. 1999 marked the first commercial crush under the Opolo label, when winemakers produced Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, and Muscat Canelli.
Cass Winery offers a variety of options for wine tasting or food and wine pairings, and may be arranged for parties of various sizes. Each experience offers a flight of Estate wines in a wine country setting. Tasting Room is open daily from 11-5pm. In addition to wine tasting, enjoy food and wine pairings, created by Chef Jacob Lovejoy. Enjoy a flight of wines paired with a gourmet menu on shaded veranda next to the vineyard or in the Tasting Room itself. Resting at 900 feet of elevation, the 145-acre vineyard is planted to 12 varieties on a large terrace above Huer Huero River. Deposited over centuries, the diverse alluvial soils make for an expressive site that produces fruit of quality, mostly Cabernet. The vines on Cass Vineyard are ENTAV certified. ENTAV is an agency of the French government that is responsible for certification of winegrape clones for the wine industry in France!! How cool is that…. Visit them and find out more while enjoying the farm like we did… the bubbles are amazing and we watched the Chef finish smoking the bacon and slice us all individual pieces. Yes, please.
Nestled smack-dab in the heart of downtown Paso Robles is The Hatch Rotisserie & Bar. A creation and long-time dream of Maggie Cameron and Eric Connolly, this neighborhood restaurant is designed as a gathering place for friends, old and new, to enjoy simple foods, classic and craft cocktails and beautiful wines. Located at 835 13th Street in Paso Robles wine country, talented Chef Mateo Rogers oversees the kitchen, which includes a dynamic wood-fired rotisserie. From family gatherings to company dinners, one can also choose from a few family-style dining menus that offer a range of options and enjoy a casual and delicious experience which is just what our group did… Yum! Don’t miss the Pimento or the Butter Beans that melt in your mouth! I also loved the fact that the bar and the restaurant were packed while we visited. Wines we sipped: Eberle Winery, Hearst Winery, Chronic Cellars and Clavo Cellars to pair with the wonderful food.
Vineyards and Tasting Room located in Templeton. Offer cheese plates, or chocolate food pairings alongside award-winning wines. The property has panoramic views of the Santa Lucia Mountains, rolling hills, and oak-lined seasonal creeks. 44.5 acres of vines have been planted which produces hand crafted wines that are clone and block specific. The fruit is meticulously hand harvested, hand sorted in the vineyard, then hand sorted twice again in the winery prior to press. Many of their limited wines are exclusive to the tasting room and wine club members. Burbank Ranch’s tasting room boasts incredible views of the vineyards and surrounding hilltops. In all, the ranch has 28 unique clone/root stock blocks. In these blocks there are 16 grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Grenache Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Mourvedre, Merlot, Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Arneis, Petite Sirah, and Albariño.
100% estate grown since their inception and the integration of farming and winemaking is the foundation of everything they do. They farm a total of 212 acres across three different vineyards, and make the wine in a LEED Certified Winery at the Heart Hill Vineyard. Known for estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They also grow a wide range of varietals and specialize in small lot bottlings that they allocate primarily to Members only. They are passionate about the Central Coast and what they, hosting winery tours, seasonally inspired lunch service, chef-taught cooking classes and pop-up dinners designed to showcase the foods created with the wine. The restaurant is open for lunch Thursday-Sunday from 11am-4pm. The Chef might decide to teach you how to shuck fresh oysters during a class; a Winemaker may lead a blending seminar; a Vineyard Manager might take you to geek out about rootstock… Regardless, the Niner Estate goal is to have guests walk away loving the lifestyle.
Specializes in the local, including their own line of Paso Robles shirts, sweatshirts, hats and onesies. Well stocked with everything you need for your pantry, and some lovely things to warm up your home. They offer a great selection of local cheeses and salamis, nuts, crackers and other goodies – whether it’s to enjoy en route to a Paso winery, in the hotel room or to share with friends on your travels. We even indulged in Sheeps Milk Ice Cream…try and find that at YOUR local store! An enthusiasm for all things tasty, lovely and useful – especially if they come from Paso Robles, CA. With artisan producers of everything from letterpress stationery to pottery to olive oil. A nice way to introduce people to this place that the Store owners love and call home.
Producing world-class estate wines exclusively from Rhône varietals. They organically grow every grape at the Estate Vineyard on the Westside. Savoring the journey and remaining committed to maintain core values of integrity and respect—for people, partners, patrons, and the natural environment. Alta Colina wines are available by making a reservation to tour or taste and through the Tasting Room, Club or by ordering online. Visit Thursday to Monday, 11am-4pm or make appointment Tues. or Wed. Every Alta Colina wine is estate grown and produced… wine never leaves the premises until you purchase a bottle and take it home. Organic–no synthetic inputs are allowed. elevation from 1600 to 1780 feet, with steep North and South facing slopes. Soils are shallow, well drained loam with a high concentration of fractured shale throughout the growth horizon. Alta Colina lies on the hilltops of a 130 acre ranch, with 31 acres planted to vineyard. Yum!
The goal is to promote SLO County FARMsteading skills & practices via educational experiences, events & gatherings at pop-up FARMsteading classrooms held at local farms, ranches & Ag related venues. And people are LOVING it! The charm and intrigue is for guests to have the opportunity to participate in classes in a variety of locations, allowing them to experience hands on amongst locally grown and made! They also feature a mobile mercantile that will be stocked with items found within the teachings including all the materials needed to DIY back at your own FARMstead! Are YOU ready to get your hands dirty? They partner with many local producers and manufacturers and encourage people to learn more about their products & practices!
Promoting a non-interventionist approach to winemaking, Le Cuvier is a crew of quirky individuals making and selling very serious wine. With Paso legend John Munch at the helm, they produce exquisite small-production wines that cannot be found in restaurants or retailers. Join them 7 days a week from 11AM to 5PM. The tasting room was the first to offer food pairings as part of the standard tasting, and continues that tradition today. They believe that wine is best when left to its own devices and rarely interfere with the natural fermentation process, adding only enough sulfites to preserve the wine in bottle. Incredibly age-worthy. Sweeping views of the Salinas River basin northeast and west of Paso Robles. Enjoy a packed lunch on the patio and soak in views. Simply walk up to one of the serving tables at the tasting room, and enjoy fine wines and hors d’oeuvres. Then enjoy Paso from the large picture windows and doors.
Cello Ristorante & Bar is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day, under executive chef Eric Olson. With creative dishes made from regionally farmed and foraged ingredients, alongside an extensive wine list, garden-to-glass cocktails, and craft beers, Cello is an upscale, casual Mediterranean-inspired restaurant. The restaurant opens to a patio with iron fire bowls and a bocce ball court that takes advantage of Paso’s beautiful warm evenings and sunsets. Whether for an energizing breakfast, productive lunch, romantic dinner or night on the town, Cello is Paso Robles’ destination restaurant with the highest standards, service, and commitment to delighting guests. A talent for eclectic menu-crafting and formal training combine to accentuate Allegretto’s warmth and authenticity at Cello Restaurant at Allegretto Resort.
Treana is the sum of elements that influence the wines. From the land that the family farms, to the warm California sun that nurtures and the cooling ocean breeze that balances. Today, the legacy continues as the wines are made using grapes that flourish in Paso Robles vineyards as well as other unique regions of the Central Coast. Tasting cellar offers a distinctive blend of eclectic decor, spacious atmosphere and cozy lounge-style seating. In the words of proprietor Austin Hope, “The goal was to give Treana a more vivid sense of place, and to also let a bit of my personality come through.” Feel free to enjoy the outdoor picnic area among the vineyards as well. Hours: 10am-4pm Thursday – Monday, open Tues and Wed by appointment only. Winemakers working closely with family farms, Treana sources grapes that capture the truest varietal characteristics for the flagship brand of Hope Family Wines.
The family began producing their boutique wine in 2004 and later opened a tasting room to the public in 2011. The vineyard was planted on 40 acres with 100% Cabernet. This unique vineyard consists of four different clones of Cabernet grafted onto two different rootstocks. The terrain of the Parrish Family vineyard is unique to the region due to its location and the influence of the cool evening coastal breezes and the warm daytime temperatures. As of 2013, they planted a second vineyard of Cab Sauv and Cabernet Franc. The beautiful Downtown tasting room serves six wines featuring the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Silken Blend. Also, available is a popular gourmet cheese pairing that can create a fun tasting experience. The tasting room features intimate seating areas as well as a charming patio to people watch from while you sip.
The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance is a non-profit trade association responsible for marketing and promotional programs designed to strengthen brand awareness locally, regionally and nationally, and attract wine enthusiasts to Paso Robles Wine Country. Focusing on both grower and vintner interests, Wine Country Alliance efforts include trade and consumer outreach, media relations and visits, buyer tours, educations and research programs to ensure quality wine grape growing and wine production, legislative monitoring and support of the Wine Institute’s international outreach programs. The Alliance represents nearly 500 members, including wineries, wine grape growers, hospitality partners and related associated businesses. In addition to three annual events that showcase the regions, the organization produces an annual Tour Brochure and wine tasting map, an annual Membership Directory, maintains a robust website and is active on all forms of social media.