Paso Robles is known for its amazing wine tasting opportunities; this is true (thank you Dr. Obvious). With nearly 300 tasting rooms dotting pastoral, vineyard-lined backroads, there is a type of wine tasting experience to suit every personality (rustic, elegant, modern, funky, industrial and the rest). From sparklings at Rava Wines in Creston to live music and bold blends at Westside hangout Tooth and Nail, there’s more to choose from than ever before. Oh, and don’t even get us started on the number of varietals available to visitors (that will blow your wine-loving mind). That said there’s a few things you should totally make time to do in between tastes, if you’re smart. After all, there are many hours to fill before and after your lips meet wine. Make the most of them, the Paso way:
Sure, there’s plenty of food to nosh on at local wineries like Opolo (wood-fired pizza) and Cass (burgers and more), but to really experience Paso Robles Wine Country, you should also make time to dine downtown. Paso Robles is quickly being recognized as a fantastic foodie destination, with culinary spreads in glossy magazines like Sunset, Wine Enthusiast and more. Old fashioned brick buildings, new art galleries, and a quaint Downtown City Park come together to create the perfect ambiance for street side dining, which means you can enjoy the perfect weather long into the sunset-streaked evening. In the mood for seafood? Stop at Fish Gaucho, where the ceviche is fresh and the craft margaritas are mixed with impeccable flair. Comfort food lovers should look no further than Pappy McGregor’s, where you can grub on down-home faves like Central Coast tri-tip paired with a local wine and beer list that shows local love. All one has to do is stroll leisurely around Paso’s epicenter to find a perfect place to nosh.
Go Olive Oil Tasting
Wine grapes are sexy, so it makes sense that they’d get the bulk of the press. But—here’s a little well-kept secret—Paso Robles is also swimming in fantastic estate grown olive oils ready for dunking! Have that crusty bread at the ready? Good. Make a dash for Jada Vineyard and Winery, where estate grown EVOO is drizzled alongside award-winning Bordeaux and Rhone wines. Pasolivo offers up a true field-to-mouth experience with orchard tours and tastings nestled in a gorgeous oak-studded setting. Want to try something a little different? Stop by Dubost Ranch, where tastes of Tempranillo and Syrah are bolstered by shots of golden-hued EVOO harvested from the hillside around the Adelaida-based tasting room.
Visit Hearst Castle
We know Hearst Castle is not in Paso Robles, but the epic drive through Highway 46 West (and its incomparable cluster of tasting rooms) offer up a true Central Coast experience. Meander down this iconic wine trail and follow the cool breeze west. Before you know it, you’ll be at the coast, cruising up Highway 1 to the Central Coast’s most coveted cultural jewel. Once you hit Cambria, stop and taste at Cutruzzola Vineyards for a delicious array of cool climate Pinot Noir that will knock your socks off. Got more time? Savor the view and a garden fresh lunch at Centrally Grown or visit the nearby artist enclave of Harmony, population 18 (including the cows). This tiny village looks much the way it did back in the 1800s when it was a working dairy town. Watch as resident glass blowers craft their mesmerizingly stunning pieces and don’t forget to stop by Harmony Cellars, a stone’s throw from the old blacksmith’s shop.
Hit a Local Watering Hole
The best part of Paso Robles Wine Country (besides the wine, of course) is the people. Friendly, knowledgeable, and down to earth, you’ll find Paso Roblans to be unlike many other folks on the West Coast. The best way to rub elbows with cowboys, winemakers, brewers, and blue-collar workers alike is to simply stop by a local watering hole. Belly up to the bar and see what local delicacies are on tap! Try the Wine Boss, a casual downtown lounge that features an always-changing menu of local beer, wine, and hard cider. We guarantee you’ll leave with more than a favorite new beverage. You’ll also find a host of new friends!
Stay the Paso Way
Here in Paso Robles Wine Country, vineyards, good food, and fantastic hospitality are “the norm.”Make sure you’re staying at one of the area’s best hotels, like Allegretto Vineyard Resort. Not only are you privy to pool, spa services, and luxury suites—the resort is fashioned with a celebrated restaurant (Cello Ristorante & Bar), a tasting room, and (gasp) its own vineyard! Looking for an even more immersive wine tasting experience? Book a stay at a swath of wine country vacation rentals or enjoy a winery stay at JUSTIN Winery’s posh JUST Inn, San Marcos Creek Vineyard’s cozy cottages, or Pelletiere Estate Winery’s rustic, modern farmhouse-turned-suite.
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.
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.
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.
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.