Paso Robles Evolves Into a Wine-Lover's Paradise
That sleepy, backwoodsy Paso Robles you might remember from some long-ago visit is worth another look.
Paso Robles Wine Festival
Photo courtesy of Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance
It’s hard to miss the vineyards and winery signage preceding Paso Robles along Highway 101, midway between Oakland and Los Angeles. That sleepy, backwoodsy Paso Robles you might remember from some long-ago visit is worth another look. Boasting brand-new tasting rooms, restaurants, and resorts, Paso—as locals like to call this region—has evolved into a 21st-century wine-lovers’ paradise.
With more than 200 wineries in total, it’s California’s largest American Viticultural Area which, based on its diverse soils and climate, was recently divided into 11 smaller sub-AVAs.
How do you choose the starting point for a winery tour? The Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance offers links to geographically oriented routes such as Paso Robles 46 West Wineries. The Paso Robles Cabernet and Bordeaux Collective features iconic wineries J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, and Eberle Winery.
Home to 25 wineries offering new tasting rooms and classic Paso ambience, the region’s highest and hilliest sub-AVA is the Adelaida District, named for a 19th-century mining settlement in central California’s Santa Lucia Mountains. Polish statesman and world-renowned pianist Ignacy Paderewski made Adelaida Road famous when he bought a vineyard there in 1914. It became his home for decades afterwards.
New winery Alta Colina on eastern Adelaida Road is a 10-minute drive from downtown Paso Robles. Hop into the owner’s pickup for the “Top to Bottom” tour and taste the Rhone-focused wines while overlooking the property. Neighboring Villicana Winery yields a bonus: a tasting of the wines and spirits from the owner’s adjoining Re:Find distillery.
Boasting a Spanish Colonial-style winery on a 2,200-foot promontory, DAOU Vineyards serves Bordeaux varietals. Adelaida Cellars offers another dramatic, hilltop tasting room serving well-known pinot noir and cabernet sauvignon. Ancestry is a Bordeaux blend named for a grand, 500-year-old oak tree visible through the floor-to-ceiling windows of the expansive new tasting room at Halter Ranch.
For a break from wine tasting, tour the three breweries, six distilleries and/or two cideries. Book an agritourism adventure or go riding, hiking, cycling, golfing, or shopping.
Downtown Paso’s thriving restaurant scene includes new restaurants Fish Gaucho (offering California Mexican cuisine and exceptional margaritas) and Hatch Rotisserie and Bar (serving Southern-inspired shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, and cocktails). Check out La Consecha Bar and Restaurant for South American food and drink, Il Cortile for Italian specialties, and farm-to-fork dining at Artisan and Thomas Hill Organics.
Visiting downtown’s 15 wine-tasting rooms is especially fun during special events such as Paso Robles Wine Festival (May 19-22) and PASO ARTSFEST (May 27-28).
A stylish new resort opened last autumn five minutes from downtown. Set in a vineyard, the Allegretto Vineyard Resort offers kitchen-garden-to-table dining from forager-in-chief Chef Eric Olson, along with a state-of-the-art spa, wine-tasting, and ultramodern rooms and amenities.
For a wine region that’s both the Wild West and on-trend modern, beat a path to Paso.
Allegretto Vineyard Resort, 2700 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles, 805-369-2500, www.Ayreshotels.com/allegretto-resort-and-vineyard-paso-robles.
Alta Colina Vineyard: 2825 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, 805-227-4191, www.AltaColinawine.com.
Paso Wine Alliance, 1446 Spring St., #103, Paso Robles, 805-239-8463, www.PasoWine.com.