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Wines of the Central Coast


Sorrow can be alleviated by good sleep, a bath and a glass of wine.  (Thomas Aquinas)

Quickly, bring me a beaker of wine, so that I may wet my mind and say something clever.  (Aristophanes)

Men are like wine - some turn to vinegar, but the best improve with age.  (Pope John XXIII )

I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food. (W. C. Fields)

First, to set the mood, you might want to watch some of the "Paso Wine Man" videos here. They are great...


Click the photo ->


I have made some additions and changes to my “faves” wine tasting recommendations with a little additional  “practice”... and I’ll make periodic updates as the mood permits. They are in no particular order of quality, price or favorites... and cover a range of “price points

Daou Winery
2777 Hidden Mountain Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805.226.5460). This is a relatively new place with a new truly impressive public tasting room. The most spectacular views in the county and some nice wines made by two French -Lebanese brothers, Georges & Daniel (Daniel is the winemaker, who trained for 10 years in France). Their wines are French style, rather than “typical” California. We joined their club on our first visit. They sell most of their wine to high end restaurants around the country and to their club members. Not at all cheap but maybe worth the trip and the tasting. UPDATE [10/16] - Though they recently were awarded 90+ points on some of their wine, we have since quit their club because it has become very pretentious and pricey, not a typical Paso trait. We're told their wine shipments have escalated to over $500 and they now charge a $25 pp tasting ... even if you are a member. If they can sell their wine at their prices and if you can afford them, more power to you both.

RN Estate Vineyards
7986 North River Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. 805-610-9802. Appointment only. North of Hwy 46 east Must be 8-10 people but you often can call and join another tasting group. This is because he opens $300 of wine and typically spends 1 ½ - 2 hrs. discussing wines and wine making. The winemaker, Roger Nicholas, is a retired French chef and restauranteur, who had restaurants in Pebble Beach, Manhattan and Vermont. Just listening to him talk about his wine passion is worth the visit. He makes his boutique wines on very few acres and creates a nice variety of "French style" reds... red Rhône and Bordeaux varietals, as well as Burgundian style Pinot Noirs. Our favorite wines and wine club. If you can, try his Pinot Noir.

Gelfand Vineyards
5530 Dresser Ranch Place, Paso Robles, California 93446. South of Hwy 46 east. 805-239-5808. Jan and Len Gelfand are the owners and the tasting is casual, outside of their small wine making and wine barrel storage barn, situated below their hilltop home (see left), so this is also by appointment only ... but again you can usually join another group of tasters (if the Gelfands are not on one of their 3-4 annual cruises somewhere around the world. They make a nice variety of reds, many of which have been rated 90+ and have been awarded medals in national and international tastings. One of our favorites (we also joined their club).

Denner Winery

5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446. 805-239-4287 Public tasting room... oops, not any more, at least for the time being it is “members only”. BUT, you often can call ahead and get in. They really just want to keep the sometimes unruly limo crowds out I think. Their wines are "wowzer" and are often sold out early in the season. It is worth keeping in mind. West side 'wine loop’. Go for the view too. Some very good red blends in particular. Appointment only.

Opolo Vineyards

7110 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 238-9593. Public tasting room, west side 'wine loop". Try their Mountain Zin, if you like Zin. A fun tasting room with a variety of wines and usually a basketful of loyal wine tasting fans. Often has food pairings available. A good kind of party atmosphere. If you plan ahead you may be able to get a reservation for their Croatian grape stomping party or their Mediterranean wine cruise to Croatia. A favorite visit for us.

Mitchella Vineyard & Winery

2525 Mitchell Ranch Way, Paso Robles, CA 93446. “46 East” tasting area. Recoommended by our wine afficiando friends, this is a lovely, comfortable little tasting room, somewhat hidden behind the wine giant Robert Hall's facilities. The wines are nice and at a very reasonable price point. The viognier is tasty and only $20. Also try their red blend called Cheap Bastard (named after the winemaker), which is only $15. The most expensive offering when were last there was a 5 varietal Bordeaux blend called Innuendo Noir at $45. Well worth a visit ... and we plan to go back

Still Waters Vineyards

2750 Old Grove Lane, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 237-9231.   A small family run vineyard with public tasting room. Very nice wines at modest prices. The winemaker, Paul, and his staff are friendly and accessible and treat you like friends and guests at their home (which is just down the hill from the tasting room). Hosts free concerts all summer under a forested canopy of 100+ year old olive trees. No better way to spend a summer afternoon.

August Ridge Vineyards
8790 E. Highway 41, Creston, CA 92432. (805) 239-2455 Another small family run winery (John, Jill and young Isabella) on the east side Creston trail. Good people and some very nice reds and whites, at very reasonable prices. Worth a visit. Their wihte wines, Arneis and Pinot Grigio are lovely and very drinkable. I'd suggest that you taste their reds as well... the Barbera snd Nebiolo are easy to like and, of their estate reserve wines, I would point you to the Ingenious and Jovial blends. Gotta love them.

Castoro Cellars
1315 North Bethel Road Templeton, CA. (805) 238-0725 A fun tasting room with a wide variety of wines and a pretty setting. A tourist’s regular stop.


Carmody McKnight Estate Wines

11240 Chimney Rock Rd., Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 238-9392. Do you by chance remember the old TV shows Land of the Giants or Burke's Law? Both starred Gary Conway... who happens now to be the owner, along with his wife Marian, of this little boutique winery on the westside loop. They feature some unique reds and whites to try and you might spend some time sipping a little at a picnic table under the oaks in the beautifully landscaped garden overlooking the pond... where you can usually spot some migratory ducks and egrets puttering about. Not a bad place at which to spend some time. Try their reasonably priced Bordeaux blend, Cadenza.


Cass Winery 
7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles, CA. (805) 239.1730 A fun, large tasting room with a wide variety of wines, good food service and reasonable price points . Kind of a “partiers’ paradise and a fun excursion.

Chateau Margene

6996 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles, CA (Corner of Vineyard Drive & Peachy Canyon Road) (805) 238-3500 A family run local winery with their public tasting room, west side 'wine loop’. Try their "Cielo Rosso" sangiovese blend, their Mooney Brothers red blend and their cab reserve... if they have them. They are usually their best wines. UPDATE [10/16] - Their prices have jumped up as well and they have closed the Peachy Canyon tasting room, in favor of a new one in Morro Bay. Their original production and tasting facility in Creston, near Paso Robles and the Back Roads Wine Trail, is still open.

Justin Vineyards & Winery

11680 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles, CA. 805.238.6932 . West side 'wine loop". They make a variety of good to great wines and are well regarded. In my opinion their wines are similar to Denner (above) but Denner is now a bit better. Justin was better in the past but has been sold to the Wonderful Co., a large corporate bottler and the last releases paled in comparison to the older releases. We used to be in the wine club but dropped it when they took over.


Hansen Vineyard

5575 El Pomar Drive Templeton, CA. (805) 239-8412 A fun wild man / standup comic while pouring wine in his small tasting room, Bruce Hansen, is the host and winemaker. Don't be fooled, however into dismissing his knowledge and skills in art and craft of winemaking. If you're lucky, he may take you back into the barrel room and do a wine-thief blending from 3-7 young wines and treat you to a terrific Q&A discussion about wine making. He makes some excellent wines, particularly his big reds.
UPDATE [10/16] - Bruce too has won some recent wine competitions... and <sigh> has also jumped his prices up significantly.

Kenneth Volk Winery
2485 Highway 46 West, Paso Robles, CA. 805-237-7896 Ken Volk made his name and his fortune with Wild Horse Winery here (still a good place to taste), sold it for the big bucks, got bored and than began this second successful winery, with the current wines under his name. His wines are always highly rated prize winners, have a loyal following and are very fairly priced. Try his new Spanish varietals. Tasting rooms in Santa Maria and Paso Robles..
UPDATE [10/16] - The Paso tasting room has closed but their large and worthwhile main tasting room is still open in Santa Maria in northern Santa Barbara County.

Calcareous Vineyards
3430 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles CA. (805) 239-0289. Public tasting room, west side 'wine loop. Go for the fantastic view overlooking the valley to the east, a light lunch (it's worth it) and some really nice wines. Try their new Syrah.

Le Cuvier
333 Vine Hill Ln, Paso Robles, CA 93446. 1(800)549-4764 or (805) 238-5706 Considered by many to be one of the best groups of wines in the area, if not California, made by a wine maker (“wine herder”), who has taught the craft and art to many of the other wine makers in the area. At times, his wines are sold out to the wine club members before he even bottles... but we’re in luck because he has opened a brand new, cozy and laid back wine tasting room for all of us.

Silver Horse Winery
2995 Pleasant Rd, San Miguel, CA 93451. 805) 467-9463. This tasting room is inviting and comfortable with a fireplace and plenty of room to relax and enjoy their wines, which are fun and tasty, ranging, when were last there, from $23-38. I’d suggest The Big Easy Blend and their Spanish blends. Sadly, they do charge a tasting fee, even if you purchase wine, which in the past was not the case with most wineries here... but we see that tradition fading at other wineries as well.


Debost Ranch Winery
9988 Chimney Rock Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 226-8463 Another small family run vineyard with public tasting room. Some nice wines at modest prices. If you're lucky, Kurt will be BBQing his wild boar sausage to go with your tasting (his way of “getting even” with the boars which periodically like to run amok in and wreak havoc on his vines).

B&E Vineyard
10,000 Creston Road, Paso Robles, 93446. 805.238.4815 A family run wi
nery on the east side Creston trail. Good wines, nice people and ... give a try to their "Rhythm". Reasonable prices.

Halter Ranch Vineyard
8910 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. Phone 805-226-9455
This a lovely setting with a new large modern tasting room and views of the vines. With a new winemaker, they offer a variety of very nice reds and whites at a very reasonable price bracket for the quality. Well worth a visit while driving the "West Side Loop" sampling the local vintages.


Adelaida Vineyards & Winery

5805 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 239-8980. Certainly worth a visit and a local pioneer in Paso winemaking...  which a offers large selection of fine wines in a fine tasting room. Usually a part of everyone's wine tour experience.