A memorable and marvelous wine country picnic doesn’t have to look and feel like a spread in Sunset Magazine to be awesome. In fact, with these five ingenious tips and tricks, you’ll be set for a gourmet wine country foodie feast without the unnecessary cost, pressure, or pitfalls of “perfection.”
Shoe as Wine Opener
Uh oh! You brought a complete vertical tasting of your favorite Petite Sirah, but you forgot that teeny tiny but totally necessary tool needed to open all those bottles. What to do? Before you smack yourself in the head and run to the nearest store (which may not be anywhere near), try this neat trick. Your shoe—believe it or not—can make an excellent wine opener. Just take a gander at this viral video, which shows you exactly how to get out of this conundrum.
Picnic Perfection: You’ll never have to resort to using your shoe as an opener at Pelletiere Estate Winery. Wine and conversation are always flowing here and the ambiance, a rustic farmhouse vibe, is perfect for a casual hangout with friends.
Mason Jar Space Saver
Short on space? It happens. Instead of packing individual Tupperware containers willy nilly, throw a few large mason jars into your basket. Just follow this simple rule: Start with sturdy foods at the bottom (olives, stuffed peppers, pickles) then layer on the salami, prosciutto, cheese—and finally, a layer or two of dry herbs like basil leaves. Next, tear up some crusty bread and top off the jar (the herbs will provide a barrier between the moist meats/veggies and your precious bread).
Picnic perfection: Don’t forget to drizzle that olive oil at your next picnic. Stop by Pasolivo in Downtown Paso Robles for all your local EVOO needs, or swing by the scenic ranch nestled in the heart of wine country (which also doubles as an amazing picnic spot).
Toothpicks as Silverware
Plastic silverware can be wasteful and packing a full range of reusable silver can be heavy, and not very practical (especially for a large group). Instead, pack a range of finger food (party-sized meatballs, rice-stuffed grape leaves, cheese squares, mini quiches, cut sausage) with a jar of toothpicks. Guests will be able to nosh freely without need for a fork (or even a plate).
Picnic perfection: Here’s a winning idea. Call ahead to Pappy McGregor’s in downtown Paso and order a range of finger friendly apps. Pick them up and—bam—you are ready for a breezy day picnicking across wine country.
Packing individual water bottles can mean the difference between hiking to the top of that ridge covered in wildflowers or sitting under the nearest oak. Keep yourself mobile and hydrated with a canteen. When slung across your body or consumed with a straw via a nifty modern canteen backpack, you will be able to reclaim your sense of adventure without all that added bulk.
Picnic perfection: Yes, water is crucial, but so is great wine! Pack a few go-with-anything food-friendly wines. Our pick: Choose from an array of sinfully delicious Tudor Wines pinot noirs.
Leave Stemware at Home
So many things can go wrong when you pack glass wineglasses (just think of how annoying it would be to pick shards from your finger sandwiches in the event of a catastrophe). Instead of grabbing your go-to glasses, invest in a high quality plastic version that you can take with you on your next excursion.
Picnic perfection: Many local wineries sell nifty gifts and wine accessories in their tasting rooms. Cass Winery carries plastic logo glasses perfect for your next outdoor feast. Stop by the tasting room, where an outdoor patio makes picnicking a breeze. Be warned: You may be tempted to eat from the winery’s full service kitchen, so we recommend letting Chef Jacob cook for you!
Picnic perfection: Looking for a gorgeous outdoor picnic spot? Look no further than Centrally Grown in Cambria, where crashing waves and blue skies roll on as far as the eye can see. Plus: They’ve got terrific food and beverage options, too.
This blog was written by Hayley Thomas Cain, food and wine writer for SLO New Times and PasoRoblesWineries.net. You can reach her at [email protected] 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.