Paso Robles is a large AVA (American Viticultural Area) in San Luis Obispo county, about halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco. 33,000 acres are planted to vineyards and there are 11 sub-AVAs that may appear on wine labels. Additionally, there are over 200 wineries within the AVA boundaries.
The signature varieties in Paso Robles include Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhone varieties, and Zinfandel – there are over 60 different varieties planted throughout the AVA. This area is warm during the day with an all over Mediterranean climate, but cool breezes off the Pacific Ocean help moderate the temperatures at night, allowing grapes to retain acidity and ripen more slowly.
Soils in the region are largely made up of granite, serpentine, shale and limestone. These low-nutrient soils help create more concentration and complexity in the resulting wines.
Paso Robles is a historic wine region – the area was settled by missionaries in the 1700s, and winemaking dates back to that time. It also holds an important place in recent wine history – the ‘Rhone Rangers’ are largely associated with the region. This group of winemakers helped shine a spotlight on Rhone varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier in California throughout the late 20th century.
A beautiful coastal drive from either LA or San Francisco, downtown Paso Robles is full of boutique shopping, urban tasting rooms, and great restaurants, while the surrounding area features scenic hiking opportunities.
All of these amenities, along with a plethora of award-winning wines, are why Paso Robles Wine Country was named Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Wine Region of the Year in 2013. Cheers!
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Note: We do our best to maintain up to date information on all wineries featured. However, we recommend checking directly with a winery before planning a visit. If you find any information below that needs to be updated please let us know.
1. Law Estate Wines
CW Score: 96.5
Overview: Law Estates Wines produces a number of white and red Rhone-style blends, along with a few single-varietal reds and a rosé. The tasting room, complete with vineyard views, is open for tastings by appointment (appointments can be made online or by calling the winery).
Tastings are seated one-on-one experiences with a knowledgeable guide, during which you get to sample five different wines. Outdoor seating is available if you want to bring your dog along too!
2. Venteux Vineyards
CW Score: 93.8
Overview: Venteux Vineyards’ tasting room is open daily from noon to 5 PM. Walkin-ins are welcome, and they have ample outdoor space for picnicking. While visiting, try a selection of current release wines – Venteux uses both Bordeaux and Rhone varietals in their production, which focuses on red wines.
Also be on the lookout for the summer live music schedule, with shows on Fridays during the season. Additionally, Venteux offers a number of accommodation options available for overnight stays.
3. Fratelli Perata Winery
CW Score: 93.6
Address: 1595 Arbor Rd Paso Robles, CA 93446
Overview: Established in the 1980s, Fratelli Perata Winery dry farms their 40 acres of vineyards, and only produces about 100 barrels of wine each vintage. They make a mix of red wines from Bordeaux and Italian varieties, including Barbera, Cabernet Franc, and Sangiovese.
Tasting room reservations are required for groups larger than 6 and are available for smaller groups as well, although walk-ins are accommodated when possible. Tastings take place outside with views of the peaceful rolling hills.
4. McPrice Myers Wines
CW Score: 93.1
Overview: McPrice Myers Wines specializes in Rhone wines, both as single varietals and blends. The tasting room includes outdoor space overlooking estate vineyards. Seated tastings are $25 a person (this fee is waived with a minimum bottle purchase) and include samples of five wines.
The tasting room is also dog and kid friendly, with a maximum group size of eight people. Reservations can be made online, and you can add a cheese board to your order to enjoy during your visit.
5. Dark Star Cellars
CW Score: 92.2
Overview: Dark Star Cellars produces a wide range of wine made from locally sourced fruit. Guests can opt for a tasting (during which you get to sample eight different wines) or wine by the glass when visiting the tasting room, which features abundant indoor and outdoor seating with vineyards views.
You’re also welcome to bring your own picnic to enjoy with your wine, and the venue is family and dog friendly. Be sure to check out karaoke night on Friday evenings!
6. Anglim Winery
CW Score: 91.8
Overview: Anglim Winery is family owned and operated, focusing on Rhone varieties along with others including Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. They source their fruit from local growers and age the wines in 100% French oak. Their low-intervention wines are often bottled unfined and unfiltered.
The cozy downtown tasting room, which includes indoor and outdoor spaces, is open daily from 11 AM to 6 PM with a reservation.
7. Caliza Winery
CW Score: 91.6
Overview: Caliza Winery is a family owned and operated boutique winery focusing on – but not limited too – Rhone varieties. When visiting the tasting room, outdoor seating is available with a reservation while indoor options are first come, first served.
They offer a cheese pairing experience, or you can bring your own picnic to enjoy. Wine is available as a tasting or by the glass or bottle. They also offer a virtual tasting experience for those times you can’t physically make it to Paso!
8. ZinAlley Winery
CW Score: 91.3
Overview: As the name implies, Zinfandel reigns at ZinAlley Winery. Along with a dry red and red blend, they also produce a limited run Zinfandel port. The vineyard is dry farmed, which results in extra concentration and complexity in the wines. Additionally, both the labels and the winery itself have an Italian flair to them.
This small, boutique winery (they produce a maximum of 500 cases each year) is open daily from 11 AM to 5 PM.
9. Vines on the Marycrest
CW Score: 90.3
Overview: Vines on the Marycrest dry farms their old-vine, head pruned vineyard for ultimate complexity and concentration in the resulting wines (mostly reds made from Zinfandel, Tempranillo, and Rhone varieties). They are passionate music lovers as well, and use that as a strong influence when naming their wines.
The tasting room is open Thursday through Monday. Tastings are $20, and guests are welcome to bring a picnic with them to enjoy on the patio.
10. PasoPort Wine Company
CW Score: 90.3
Address: 95 Booker Rd Templeton, CA 93465
Overview: The tasting room at PasoPort Wine Company also features the Per Caso and Pendray’s Distillery brands, giving visitors a multitude of options, including table wines, ports, and spirits.
Perched on top of a hill to optimize the views, the tasting room is open Thursday through Monday from 11 AM to 4 PM. Reservations are recommended but not required. As an added bonus, you’ll probably meet the winery dogs Daisy and Bo while visiting.
Plan Your Visit to the Top Wineries in Paso Robles
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