In Paso Robles, every humble grape’s journey begins in one common place: the vineyard. White, red, purple, gold or green, these coveted clusters have fascinating stories to tell—if only we pause a moment to listen. With more than 300 wineries to explore plus dozens of soil types, unique microclimates and diverse vineyard sites to discover, Paso Robles Wine Country is home to some of the most luscious, high-quality fruit in the country (OK, the world). Besides earning winemakers gold metals and high marks, this means incredible flavor for you! Today, we pay homage to the 40,000 planted vineyard acres that encompass the astounding Paso Robles AVA. I mean, if these vines could talk! Can you imagine?
A vineyard to call home: Before the birth of Locatelli Winery some 25 years ago, Raynette and Louis Gregory owned an engineering business in the Central Valley. Mimicking his grandfather and great grandfather’s passion for winemaking, Louis dabbled in crafting wine on the side, but only as an afterwork hobby. After fermenting more than a few interesting fruits (raspberries, watermelon, banana—not a great idea, by the way), the fledgling winemaker decided to purchase a handful of wine grapes from Paso Robles Wine Country. Smitten with these high quality grapes, he then went on to buy 100 acres of empty land outside San Miguel in ’96. The terrain needed a lot of work, but luckily Louis’ father-in-law took on the arduous task of ripping, planting and raising the grapes until it was time for Louis and Raynette to plant their own family roots. Finally, in the summer of 2001, the young family, now with four children, moved onto their vineyard property, which by now consisted of 40 acres of grapes. If you can believe it, Locatelli was one of only 35 wineries in Paso Robles at the time and remains one of 18 in the area who can claim “original owner” status today! From vine to wine, you can taste their journey in every bottle of estate-grown cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel.
Garagiste goals: Home to robust Spanish varietals, the folks at Diablo Paso believe that quality always trumps quantity. We tend to agree! Whether you sip a refreshing glass of the winery’s guanabana albariño or savor a bottle of their deliciously layered flagship tempranillo, you’ll understand just show special these wines—and the vines from which they came—truly are. As a proud “garagiste” producer (that means “garage” in French, in case you were wondering), winemaker Enrique Torres purchases small quantities of the best fruit from the very best vineyards across Paso Robles. Crafting these micro-batches into stellar wines isn’t an easy task—but it does help when you have a few glowing connections in the grape growing world. Torres began his career working harvests—graduating from “cellar rat” to celebrated winemaker. Although Torres is known to keep his vineyards sources close to the vest, you can taste the fruits of his labor for yourself! Stop by the winery’s downtown Paso Robles tasting room for the whole story.
West side pride: You can thank early Mennonite settlers for planting some of the first crops in Paso’s now famed Willow Creek District AVA. What attracted these folks to this wild, western place? Well, the higher amount of rainfall was a prime factor, allowing growers to successfully dry farm walnuts and other crops (dry farming was truly the only option back then). Today, the orchards have been replaced by vineyards—but not just any vineyards, to be sure. The Willow Creek District, in one of the coolest corners of Paso’s west side, is known for its chalky, calcareous soil and steep elevations as compared to the largely flat, Eastside of Paso Robles. You could say that Jada’s 46-acre estate vineyard epitomizes Willow Creek: hilltop terraces are chock-full of fractured shale, rocks and even fossils (the west side of Paso was once an ocean floor), rising 1,300 feet above sea-level. The soil and maritime influence (Jada is located only 15 miles from the coast) have earned this sub-AVA the densest concentration of vineyards and wineries in Paso Robles and the most number of wines from Paso Robles rated 90 points or above. Jada’s limited edition wines, encompassing ravishing whites, alluring red Rhone varietals and bold Bordeaux Blends carry on that legacy of excellence.
Farmers at heart: Flipping through the glossy pages of wine magazines only tells half the story of Paso Robles Wine Country. What these fancy presentations lack is a fundamental understanding of wine grape growing—or, as we like to call it—farming! Wide brimmed hats, rocks and dirt toiling in the hot sun—how often do we see a nod to the grit of growing grapes? At Lone Madrone, the truth is always made clear. In fact, these hardworking folks have chosen to focus all their creative efforts on showcasing singular vineyard sites located within specific districts of west Paso Robles. With an emphasis on organic and dry farming practices, Lone Madrone crafts exciting single varietal offerings and blends sourced from Klau Mine Vineyards, Osgood Vineyards, Bailey Ranch Vineyard and Old Oak Vineyard, among others. Why go through all this trouble? Well, singular vineyards farmed by equally singular humans just have a way of expressing the essence of a place! When it comes to a place like Paso Robles Wine Country, the result is well worth the effort.
Wine, through time: If you look back far enough at any vineyard, you’ll peak into our collective ancient past! Eleven million years ago, the 130-acre ONX Estate Vineyard in Templeton was nothing more than a shallow bay. However, that bay did a great job of creating limestone deposits from calcified sea creatures—something that will be a boon for winemakers a little farther down the line. At 1600 A.D. the native Salinan and Chumash tribes would meet on this land in an effort to trade goods, and in the late 1800s the city of Templeton was established (El Paso de Robles followed suit in 1889). Fast forward to 2004, when the Olson family purchased the ONX Estate land (the first phase of vineyard planting commenced in 2005). Onyx Calcite was discovered in the vineyard in 2006, leading to the winery’s unique name, and in 2013, the first ONX Estate wines were produced! Whew…just goes to show that growing wine requires patience. Now home to an onsite tasting tractor shed, this dynamic vineyard continues to produce grapes that wow the world. Try the winery’s nontraditional blends for yourself and toast to a story a long, long time in the making.
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This blog is written by flavor fiend Hayley Cain. Follow her @flavorslo on Instagram or at astoldbyhayley.com.
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Looking for a place to stay in Paso Robles?
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. TOUR VIRTUALLY
Majestically set among vineyards, olive groves and fruit baring orchards, the 20-acre Allegretto Vineyard Resort is a world unto itself, offering breathtaking settings that inspire and bring joy to all who choose this memorable wine country haven. Featuring 171 rooms and suites, on-site spa, grand ballroom, wine tasting room, and inspired culinary creations at Cello, the resort’s full-service restaurant.
Spend an idyllic getaway at Briarwood Cottage at ONX Estate Vineyards in an English-cottage inspired vineyard-side home. Guests may rent rooms in the main cottage, reserve the entire main cottage for a large group, or book the fully equipped apartment. Wake up to peaceful vineyard views and spend twilight hours sipping wine on the back porch of the cottage. It’s a time you won’t quickly forget. Contact us for pricing and availability (see form below). Case, 6 Bottle, and 4 Bottle Collective Members receive preferred pricing.
Hoyt Family Vineyard RetreatsTwo very cool, tiny houses, designed using fertile imagination and repurposing of materials are located on Hoyt Family Vineyard.
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 chic, sparkling clean 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. TAKE AN AERIAL TOUR
Oxford Suites Paso Robles You’ll find that from our lobby, our on-site restaurant, to our meeting spaces, to our 101 spacious suites, every space is beautiful + functional as well as comfortable + chic.
Paso Robles Vacation Rentals, also known as PasoStay.com assists guests in creating memories and wonderful experiences by providing quality privately owned vacation home rentals in Paso Robles Wine Country. With over 90 vacation homes to choose from, small enough for a couple’s romantic getaway to large homes amongst local vineyards and olive orchards, PasoStay.com has the perfect option for you. Feel free to call 805-423-9174 to talk with a local expert or book online at PasoStay.com.
The Farmhouse at Pelletiere Estate is a modern & luxurious wine country retreat. Privately situated & surrounded by our estate vineyards, located just off Hwy46w on a very accessible country road, nestled in the heart of Paso Robles’ renowned Westside, just 6 miles to Paso’s downtown square. The Farmhouse offers stunning vineyard views from every angle, as well as a stylish yet cozy house you’re bound to fall in love with!