After years of intense drought, California is finally raining. And raining, and raining (and raining some more). Heavy downpours and storm clouds may sound like a gloomy forecast to some, but here in Paso Wine Country, we say bring it on! More rain = more vines, and more vines = more wines! Although we are loving this wet winter and all that it promises to bring to our verdant fields, we’re also experiencing a bit of cabin fever—which is not something us Central Coasters are used to dealing with. When you can’t kayak, hike, horseback ride, or simply stroll through the vineyard admiring the birds, what else is there to do? We say, try these 5 fun rainy day activities sure to whet your thirst for Paso Wine.
1. Do Downtown
Traveling to a bucolic winery way, way out in the countryside can feel a little sketchy during California’s biggest storm in nearly a decade. Although we love these stops dearly, it may be best to let them dry out for a bit. Forget the worry of mudslides, flooded dirt roads, and possible fallen branches, and head for Downtown Paso Robles, where more than a dozen tasting rooms are easily accessible by foot. Grab an umbrella and stroll the quaint downtown peppered with art galleries and boutique shops (like unique gift and lifestyle boutique Bijou). Where to taste and stay dry? Try Lusso Della Terra Cellars, known for bold and sophisticated Italian wines, or stop by Tudor Wines, which features an award-winning lineup of Pinot Noirs, crafted in traditional methods developed in Burgundy. Consider your afternoon officially cozy!
Mapping and Directions to Bijou Lifestyle Boutique: speedfind.com/bijou
Mapping and Directions to Lusso Della Terra: speedfind.com/LDT
Mapping and Directions to Tudor Wines: speedfind.com/TudorWines
2. Get Your Comfort Food On
We know, we know. “Eating” should not be an activity you partake in when bored. However, when you’ve been cooped up all weekend (subsisting on leftovers and reruns), it sure feels nice to get out for a flavorful restaurant meal, doesn’t it? Plus, I don’t know about you, but I am craving all the carbs right about now. Get your fill of fresh seafood at Fish Gaucho or Catch Bar & Grill, try a savory burger or hot cup of lobster mac and cheese at Pappy McGregor’s, or – if you’re just feeling peckish – sample gourmet olive oils at Pasolivo. The best part? Most of these amazing foodie stops feature tons of Paso Robles wine by the glass and bottle, too.
Mapping and Directions to Fish Gaucho: speedfind.com/FishGaucho
Mapping and Directions to Catch Seafood: speedfind.com/CatchSeafood
Mapping and Directions to Pappy McGregor’s: speedfind.com/PappyMcGregorsPub
Mapping and Directions to Pasolivo Downtown: speedfind.com/PasolivoPaso
3. Take a (Lonnnng) Wine Bath
Yes, you are reading that correctly. No, I don’t suggest you pour your best case of Cabernet Sauvignon into the bathtub (I’m getting a panic attack just thinking about it). However, I do suggest you put your iPhone on “airplane mode,” light a few candles, pop the cork on that super expensive bubble bath, and pour yourself a nice, big glass of “me time.” When it rains it pours, and that’s quite all right! Forget those sunny days you used to spend romping through the outside world. Who says you can’t have just as much fun pampering yourself inside? Extra credit: Buy a fun drugstore nail polish or an adult coloring book for the ultimate evening of self-care and appreciation.
Our picks for “me time” wine:
Sextant 2013 Passage GSM: 94 points Wine Enthusiast
Mapping and Directions Sextant’s Paso Robles location: speedfind.com/SextantWines
Mapping and Directions toSextant’s San Luis Obispo location: speedfind.com/Sextant
HammerSky 2013 Party of Four Estate Grown blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah: 90 points Wine Enthusiast
Mapping and Directions to HammerSky: speedfind.com/HammerSkyVineyards
4. Take stock
Rainy days are perfect for forcing us to come face to face with…(dramatic music here)…our CLUTTER. Oh no! Don’t freak out. We can deal with this mess in one rainy afternoon! If your wine collection has gotten a little out of hand, now is the time to take stock of what you have, note what should be opened sooner rather than later, push your most age-worthy vintages to the back, and perhaps even dedicate a pile to holiday re-gifting, if you find yourself with one too many redundant bottles. Tip: Grab a dust rag to polish up those fancy wines you’ve been storing for years (no one likes to be met with a plume of dust every time they grab a wine to go with dinner). Oh, and believe you me: You will not want to take part in this activity when the sun is shining bright, so get on it now and enjoy a more relaxed and organized wine cellar come Spring.
Take stock and add these wines to your cellar:
Michael Gill Cellars 2013 Tempranillo Tantrum: Gold Medal 2015 Pacific Rim International Wine Competition Best of Class, Best of Red Wines 2015 Jerry Mead’s New World International Wine Competition Call to place an order. (805) 239-1668
Mapping and Directions to Michael Gill Cellars: speedfind.com/MichaelGillCellars
Cayucos Cellars 2012 Petite Syrah: Simply scrumptious flavors that you will want to have on hand for that special day. This winery is so uber-boutique that they do not go to competitions.
Mapping and Directions to Cayucos Cellars: speedfind.com/CayucosCellars
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on instagram @flavorslo.
If you’re looking for a place to spend the night in Paso Robles, checkout:
The Adelaide Inn is an iconic, locally owned hotel known for its friendly staff and lush landscaping. With spacious rooms and a convenient location close to highway 101 and the event center – home of the California Mid-State Fair – this hotel is a great choice for most travelers.
La Bellasera Hotel & Suites is an elegant boutique hotel nestled in the heart of Central Coast Wine Country. Influenced by Mediterranean and Italian architecture, the luxurious accommodations reflect the aged sophistication of the Central Coast region and the relaxed nature of the California countryside.
Hampton Inn & Suites Paso Robles is nestled in the Central Coast wine region, home to over 200 wineries, beautiful beaches, mountains and diverse attractions. Relax and revive in a comfortable guest room with all you need for a successful stay. You can count on Hampton to deliver value, consistency and service with a smile. We love having you here®
Experience the pristine countryside of Paso Robles Wine Country at Lekai Ranch. Lounge on the porch of your private suite and lose yourself in the tranquility and stunning views of the vineyards and oak studded hills beyond. This vacation rental is located just minutes from some of the most distinguished wineries and a premier olive oil estate, and only 15 minutes from downtown Paso Robles’ restaurants, wineries and shopping.
Enjoy the elegance, style and natural beauty of California’s Central Coast at the JUST Inn®. Surrounded by vineyards, our JUST Inn Suites offer luxurious appointments like fireplaces, Tempur-Pedic®mattresses, Frette linens, hydro-spa tubs, and range in size from 600–1,200 square feet. An overnight stay includes breakfast and a tour of the winery and caves.