Paso Robles Wineries
The Paso Robles wineries that are affiliated with the Paso Robles American Viticultural Appellation total more than 180. Together, they produce premium wines on approximately 26,000 vineyard acres. The industry has grown considerably since the first wine grapes were introduced to the area in 1797. Responsible for the early introduction of wine in the Paso Robles region were Spanish conquistadors and missionaries of the Franciscan order. Commercial winemaking got its start in the region in 1882, and today, Paso Robles is one of the fastest-growing winery regions in all of California. Taking tours of the area wineries is understandably one of the most popular things to do among Paso Robles visitors, and the numerous tasting rooms in the city’s charming downtown district certainly get their fair share of patrons. More than 40 wine varietals are produced in the Paso Robles wine country, so the tasting opportunities are quite prolific.
Among the many Paso Robles wineries of note is Saxum Vineyards. Found in the Templeton Gap/Willow Creek area, this winery mostly focuses on the production of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre-based blends and churns out anywhere from 3,000 to 4,000 cases on an average annual basis. Saxum Vineyards prides itself on producing a product that is both rich and layered, and its seven different cuvees include Broken Stones, James Berry Vineyard, Bone Rock, Booker Vineyards, Paderewski Vineyard, Heart Stone Vineyard, and Terry Hoage Vineyard. Saxum Vineyards is a private residence without tasting facilities and is closed to the general public, but you should have little trouble finding its product in local markets.
Turley Wine Cellars
Turley Wine Cellars Image: SD Dirk (flickr)
Zinfandel is the main heritage wine variety of the Paso Robles area, so it is definitely easy to come by when in the region. One of the best places to go if you wish to sample or purchase Zinfandel during a Paso Robles visit is the Turley Wine Cellars tasting room. Turley Wine Cellars, it should be noted, has additional vineyards in Napa and Sonoma counties, and the company is commonly credited with making some of the best Zinfandel in California. Petite Sirah is also a type of wine that has helped the company establish its name. The Paso Robles area Turley Wine Cellars is found at 2900 Vineyard Drive in Templeton.
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Tablas Creek Vineyard
Tablas Creek Vineyard is another standout among the Paso Robles wineries. Found in the Santa Lucia Mountains, this wine estate is a sibling winery of the Rhone Valley’s Chateau de Beaucastel estate. It is dedicated to making wines from the traditional grapes of France’s Rhone Valley and aims to use organic principles in its wine production. Tablas Creek Vineyard is best known for its Esprit de Beaucastel and its Cotes de Tablas wines. It also produces other quality blends and a number of different varietals. You can sample finished products at the Tablas Creek Tasting Room, 9339 Adelaida Road in Paso Robles. Wine enthusiasts who choose Paso Robles as their California vacation destination can also interest themselves in the comprehensive Tablas Creek winery tours.
Much like Tablas Creek Vineyards, Alban Vineyards is well-known for its Rhone-style blends. Alban Vineyards was actually the first American winery and vineyard to exclusively focus on Rhone varieties. Examples of these varieties include Syrah, Viognier, and Roussanne. You can find Alban Vineyards in the Edna Valley, which is situated in the southern realms of San Luis Obispo County. The address is 8575 Orcutt Road, Arroyo Grande. This isn’t the largest wine operation in the area, and its rather small staff focuses exclusively on growing grapes and making wine. Thus, the winery is not open for tours.
Located in the Santa Lucia Mountain range is another Paso Robles winery that has made a name for itself producing Rhone-style blends. This winery is known as L’Aventure, and it also specializes in producing Bordeaux blends and varietal wines. The company’s vision can be summed up by the phrase "Bordeaux meets Rhone in Paso Robles." The owner of L’Aventure, Stephan Asseo, was educated at the L’Ecole Oenologique de Macon in Burgundy, France and was selected as San Luis Obispo County’s 2007 Winemaker of the Year. You can drop by his California winery to sample the products that he and his crew produce. The L’Aventure winery address is 2815 Live Oak Road in Paso Robles, and the tasting room is open to the general public on most days. Limited appointments can be made for visits on off days.
Rounding out this rather concise list of Paso Robles wineries is Linne Calodo – a family-owned winery that is credited with producing some of the highest-praised wines in California. Much like Alban Vineyards, this is a small winery. Its wines are handcrafted, and the specialties include Zinfandel and other red blends. Among the main grapes that are used to craft Linne Calodo wines are Zinfandel, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. Should you wish to add a Linne Calodo visit to your list of things to do in California, the visiting address for the winery is 3030 Vineyard Drive. Advanced scheduling is required for tasting room visits.
Top image: SD Dirk (flickr)