Paso Robles is a wine destination for the wild-hearted. It’s often touted as one of the most exciting up-and-coming wine regions in California. Located centrally between San Francisco and Los Angeles along the Central Coast, Paso Robles is easily accessible and has a wide range of food and wine to offer visitors.
The town Paso Robles was co-founded by Kentucky outlaws Frank and Jesse James’ uncle Drury around 1869. Today, Paso Robles is still considered by many as the wine industry’s “wild west”, characterized by that same rule breaking diversity and innovative spirit in which the town was founded.
You’ll notice that there isn’t one particular varietal or style of wine that the region is most known for, but rather a slew of innovative, forward thinking winemakers doing everything they can to make great wine that interests them.
A fun little tidbit for you: Paso Robles is California’s fastest growing AVA; since 2000, the number of bonded wineries has grown from 50 to over 200, with a vast majority of these being small, family-owned producers. It’s a place a lot of winemakers find intriguing, largely due to this innovative, wild spirit. Not to mention — it has the perfect climate to grow a lot of different styles of wine grapes! The sky’s the limit here for winemakers.
Being located about halfway between SF and LA, four hours from each, Paso Robles was the perfect spot to meet up with my friend, Mina, for a fun long weekend trip! Below are some of the wonderful places we visited. It was my first trip here, but it certainly won’t be the last! There’s a TON of places still on my “wish list” for next time(s).
A quick note for those wine nerds out there… Paso Robles is divided into 11 sub-AVA’s to help quantify and organize the diversity of terroir in the area. Most people, even within Paso Robles, seem to refer to the region as a whole, but it may be helpful in understanding the region and deciding which of the 200+ wineries to visit! You can learn more about the differences between each area on Wine Folly, linked here.
Parrish Family Vineyard
Tin City is a market style area where various warehouse-like buildings house passionate artisans who craft wine, beer, and spirits. While on our trip, we visited just one producer in this area (Field Recordings, a winery who crafts minimal-intervention wines labelled by and descriptive of the vineyards in which they’re grown). The more I talk to people about Paso Robles, the more I hear about the innovative and passionate winemakers in this area. Next time I head to Paso, I’m definitely checking out a few more in this area to see what they’re up to!
Other Things to Do
Be sure to wrap up your day with a trip to Sensorio. A temporary art exhibit, this field of lights is absolutely dreamy and a must-see. Photos don’t quite do its magic justice… there’s nothing like seeing the real thing!