Travel
Now Reading
Discover Paso Robles
1

Located in rolling California hillsides 30 miles from the Pacific ocean and around midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco,

Paso Robles is among the state’s largest wine regions. ” tagline=” It is also one of the fastest-growing and, to many, it is still an “undiscovered” wine region.

Paso Robles Travel Guide- The (Wine Country) Road Less Traveled

Spanning an impressive 26,000 acres, this region boasts five wine trails that meander gently among oak trees and pristine landscapes to world class wineries like JLohr and the Robert Hall Winery. Events such as the SAVOR the Central Coast Annual Wine Festival are generating more interest and publicity for this amazing region, but compared to other more high-profile wineries, the tasting rooms at Paso Robles are largely uncrowded — at least for now.Paso Robles Travel Guide- Wine Geographic

The fact that Paso Robles (or “Paso,” as locals call it) is still largely undiscovered by tourists and residents is pretty remarkable considering the growth of California wineries in the last couple of decades. In 1995, there were only 35 wineries in the area; today, there are over 200. Most of them have tasting rooms that are open to the public. The wineries range from tiny, family-run establishments, larger ones like the Robert Hall Winery, and on up to the very largest, JLohr, a business that produces over a million cases of wine annually.

The upside of the area’s anonymity is that it features a more unpretentious, laid-back vibe that is uncharacteristic of many more well-traveled winery tasting rooms. Visitors have consistently described Paso Robles wineries as “fun and welcoming,” a far cry from the stuffy and pretentious aura that surrounds some wineries further north.

Far From Napa

Many of the winemakers that venture to Paso and set up shop consider themselves to be “urban escapees” of sorts, entrepreneurs who are seeking a less stressful and hectic way of life. Many of the wineries are family businesses, and the owners are there because they truly love the area and the more relaxed, serene pace of rural living. It’s not as much about private planes or living in a mansion with four or five luxury cars parked in your driveway here.

The pretentious, materialistic and ultra-rich energy of the Napa Valley will not be found in Paso Robles. While this may seem incompatible with preconceived notions about wine country, it’s just far more casual and down to earth in Paso Robles. The weekend Harley-Davidson set have made it a destination of choice — that is, the ones that know about it. The plain truth is that many people just aren’t aware that it’s here. Organizers are hoping that publicity and events such as SAVOR the Central Coast Annual Wine Festival will help to change all that.

One of the things tourism promoters emphasize is how affordable the area is in comparison with other parts of California, especially for wine country. The cost to taste six wines in most Paso Robles wineries is from $5 to $10, and most wineries will apply this cost to any wine purchase. There’s a far more friendly and informal tone in the tasting rooms of these wineries; often the tasting-room pourer is the owner and/or winemaker.

Paso Robles, California’s “Other Wine Country”

If you head west on Highway 46 and venture into the Santa Lucia Mountains, you’ll see some of the region’s oldest vineyards, ones that have been there for 100 years or more. The first grapes in Paso Robles were planted in the late 1700s by Spanish missionaries in the late 1700s to make wine for the sacrament. The first commercial winery was established in the late 1800s. While the prohibition period brought these operations to a standstill, the wine industry began to make a comeback in the 1970s.

Customized winery tours available in Paso Robles country are a great way to see the land and get an overview of its variety of wineries. Tours include courses on the local viticulture. Tourists will learn that 40 varieties of wine grapes grow there, and the production of red wine outpaces white by a margin of three to one. Hot summers cause the more thick-skinned grapes like Zinfandel and Syrah to thrive and flourish here.

Uncorked Wine Tours (805) 459-4500 http://uncorkedwinetours.net/
Go Grape Wine Tours - Paso Robles (888 894-6379) http://www.gogrape.com/paso_robles/index.html
Central Coast Food Tours 800.979.3370 http://www.centralcoastfoodtours.com/wine-tours2

Beyond Just Wine…

Owners and operators of Paso Robles wineries also tend to feel a personal stake and connection with the land they are tending. Many of them are “green” minded and choose eco-friendly methods for building their wineries and producing their wines. There’s a sense of deep appreciation for the land, and owners strive to give back to the area instead of just take.

While the wineries remain the number one draw of the area, there are also plenty of other agricultural and tourist-oriented pursuits to be enjoyed. The Happy Acre Family Farm of Templeton sells goat’s milk products like fresh cheeses and other delicacies, as well as a line of amazing natural skin care products. Artisan olive oil is produced in Pasolivo. It features an olive oil tasting room where visitors can sample up to seven varieties of flavored and extra virgin olive oils. They also sell creams, lotions and other olive oil infused skin care products using olives harvested from adjoining groves. At Harris Stage Lines in the northern end of town, visitors can ride a vintage Wells Fargo-style stagecoach around a picturesque working horse ranch.

Downtown Paso has a growing variety of different shopping and dining options. Just like many of the wine makers, these business owners have fled the big city in search of life at a slower, friendlier pace. Historic downtown Paso has a large central park in its center complete with a band shell. Free concerts are in effect every Friday night of the summer — and you can bring your own wine.

Restaurant owners in town appreciate the ready availability of some of the best organic produce in the state. The farm-to-table ethos is easy to achieve with all of the choices available in Paso Robles. Menus tend to change daily based upon what’s in season, with many items harvested that same day. Needless to say, the wine menus at all of these restaurants are fantastic.

The Hidden Gem of the California Wine Country

Paso Robles offers an amazing culture and a virtual treasure trove of new, undiscovered wines for both the connoisseur and the novice. The Paso area offers access to premium, handcrafted wines while still retaining its roots as a modest cattle-ranching town. Boot Barn and a few of those old-fashioned style barbershops seem to be thriving. You’ll find both tourists and locals enjoying happy hour at the historic Paso Robles Inn; if you need a break from wine, the Cattlemen’s Lounge there will quench your thirst with $2.50 beers.

Paso Robles may have been under the radar up until now, but that may be starting to change. When traveling you will want to consider checking into the Hotel Cheval in Paso Robles. With it’s luxury wine country accommodations you will be rejuvenated day after day, ready to explore the surrounding wine country and artisan offerings alike. The Robert Hall Winery is a favorite, and Jlohr produces and distributes over a million cases of wine per year. Events like SAVOR the Central Coast Annual Wine Festival are bringing in tourists from around the state to partake of the libations, delicacies and festivities of the area.

Indeed, Paso Robles may be a hidden gem for now, but with all that it has to offer, it likely won’t stay “hidden” much longer.”

 

Comments

comments

What's your reaction?
Cheers!!
0%
Loved It
0%
Been There
0%
Engaging
0%
About The Author
Wine Geo
1 Comments

Leave a Response