The 4-Day Weekend in Paso Robles, CA

Think of Paso Robles as the middle child of the California wine scene. Nestled roughly halfway between the wine regions near Santa Barbara to the south and Napa to the north, it is often overlooked. But with over 200 wineries in the region producing 60 different varietals, that shouldn’t be the case.

The region is particularly known for its zinfandels, the first vines to be planted there. The grape variety benefits from the exceptional diversity of the region terroir– over 45 types of soil, elevation levels ranging from 700 to 2,400 feet and the greatest day / night temperature variation of any wine region in California, resulting in unique and varied flavors. And while the tasting rooms are breathtaking, Paso Robles has a quintessentially relaxed vibe. In other words, you won’t find the snobbery or outrageous prices that can plague other wine regions.

Here’s how to spend the perfect long weekend in Paso Robles.

Where to stay

The Stables Inn: There are a surprising number of boutique motels in downtown Paso Robles and while all of them are modern and stylish, we have a soft spot for The Stables Inn. The 19-room property (one of which is a dorm for large groups) has a strong Wild West vibe with animal skin rugs and cowboy-themed decorations.

The trailer capsule: These five refurbished trailers from the 50s and 60s sit around a pond on the 130-acre Alta Colina Vineyard. Each caravan can accommodate up to two adults and includes a small kitchen and a covered outdoor seating area. The bathroom is located in a separate building a few steps away.

The Piccolo: Located right in the city center, this wonderful hotel offers beautiful rooms with exposed brickwork, balconies, handmade chandeliers, and personal wine fridges (this is wine country, after all). While this is a great base for the region’s vineyards, we won’t fault you for staying nearby – there’s a gorgeous rooftop bar, wine lounge, and Moet & Chandon champagne vending machine throughout. the hall.

Allegretto Vineyard Resort: While many wineries have at least a few rooms to rent, Allegretto’s is perhaps the grandest. Each of the 171 rooms is beautifully decorated, but if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a spa, private pool, and gardens to stroll around (preferably with a glass of wine in hand).

What to do

Sensory: By the end of March 2022, you can discover this one-of-a-kind outdoor exhibition by artist Bruce Munro. Tickets include two areas: Field of Light and Towers of Light. The first is a 15-acre field of more than 58,800 transparent spheres with stems lit by colored optical fibers (taken together they look like a massive field of electric flowers). The latter is a collection of 69 six-foot-tall illuminated towers, all made of wine bottles.

Tin city: Almost three dozen manufacturers (artisans, brewers, winemakers, distillers, and more) can be found in this industrial community. Some favorites include BarrelHouse Brewing Co. for funky beers, Union Sacré Vineyard for complex Pinot Noirs and Gewürztraminer wines, and Negranti Creamery for a delicious sheep’s milk ice cream.

Studios on the park: If you’re looking for something other than a bottle of wine to bring back as a souvenir of Paso Robles, opt for a locally made work of art. This non-profit studio and art center is home to 15 artists, four galleries, and several stores that feature daily demonstrations and frequent exhibitions.

What to eat

Thomas Hill Organics: It’s a great place for lunch, largely because you can then tell yourself you’ve had something healthy before a long day of wine tasting. This farm-to-table restaurant focuses on creative organic dishes like hot grain chicken salad and black lentil tacos. If you want to start sipping early, it also has a solid wine list.

Opolo vineyard: Yes you should go to Opolo for the wine, the vineyard has an impressive variety, so there really is something for everyone. But you should also stay for the delicious wood-fired pizzas and the restaurant’s cheese platters. Then be sure to take a stroll through the beautiful vineyard.

The Hatch rotisserie and bar: The Hatch has all the comfort food and Southern-style meat you could want. The Roast Half Chicken with Maple Vanilla Coleslaw, Buttermilk Dip, and Hatch Hot Sauce is naturally the restaurant’s most popular dish (they often run out), but you can’t go wrong with the Hatch Burger, Meatloaf and Hot Cornbread. Just be sure to save room for a slice of one of their decadent pies.

The Backyard on 13th and Roots on Railroad: If you need a break from all the wine, this dog-friendly beer garden includes 24 rotating taps of craft beer and cider (plus plenty of cans and bottles). When you are hungry, go to the on-site restaurant, Roots on the railroad, which serves treats like lobster rolls, pad thai fries, and fried chicken sandwiches.

Where to drink

California Zinfandel TrailWhile you can certainly walk down Paso’s main thoroughfare and visit whatever vineyard you like, you can also consider building a route based on the California Zinfandel Trail, which was modeled after the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The site has a handy synopsis of each winery, making it easy to plot a course based on your interests and tastes.

Daou vineyards: There is something special about Daou. Sitting in the tasting room of the Spanish estate on top of a mountain, you can see how the cosmically beautiful vineyard pours down the slope. At 2,220 feet, it is the tallest vineyard on the central California coast. Its terroir is particular: The soil is composed of rare limestone clays, the ideal base for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux grape varieties. Treat yourself and take the time to taste the cellar’s portfolio while tasting Lebanese-inspired cuisine (a nod to the heritage of the Daou brothers).

Peachy Canyon Winery: Peachy Canyon Winery is arguably one of the most charming places in Paso Robles. Its tasting room is located in the historic Old Bethel School House (built in 1886) and includes a large picnic area shaded by native oak trees and an old-fashioned gazebo that offers sweeping views of rolling vineyards. The winery focuses on zinfandels, many of which have scored over 90 points. Wine spectator. The reasonable $ 20 tasting fee (waived with the purchase of a bottle) includes five glasses served in small mason jars.

J Dusi wines: Although J Dusi’s grapes date back to the 1920s (and have been the backbone of other renowned wineries for decades), his own wines are more recent. Owner Janell Dusi launched J Dusi Wines in 2006. Since then she has made a name for herself with her excellent zinfandels. It is best to sip them on the huge patio of the tasting room overlooking the vines that are several generations old.

The wines of the period estate: Epoch Chief Winemaker Jordan Fiorentini (who recently won the San Luis Obispo County Winemaker of the Year award) makes beautifully complex small production wines. The Epoch property on York Mountain is visually stunning, with rolling hills, horses and cats circling around, and a tasting room that dates back to 1882. Most of the winemaking takes place in a large, partially underground building – the owners did not want to harm the stunning natural environment.

Turley Wine Cellars: Turley’s wine production is prolific. The winery produces 50 different wines that focus on red zinfandel grapes from vineyards with old vines (although it has its own vineyard, the company also sources the grapes from over 50 other California wineries). Even with such a large production volume, there’s something special about every wine: Turley makes some of the state’s most coveted Zinfandels.

Firestone Walker Brewery: If you’re more of a hop head than a whirlwind of wine, Firestone Walker Brewing has you covered. The huge complex is where the renowned brand produces all of its staple beers and barrel-aged offerings (the brewery also has locations in Los Angeles and Buellton, each with a different focus). You can also taste some of its brewery beers only in the dining room, at the panoramic bar, on the side patio or in the outdoor courtyard.

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Joshua B. Speller