PASO ROBLES... IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WINE!
First, Some Wine Wisdom...
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)
To set the mood, you might want to watch some of the "Paso Wine Man" videos here. They are hilarious & great...
NOW, FINALLY, SOME WINE TASTING SUGGESTIONS...
Daou Winery ***
2777 Hidden Mountain Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446 (805.226.5460). This is a 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 - [5/23] - 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. 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 typically spends 1 ½ - 2 hrs. discussing wines and wine making. The winemaker, Roger Nicholas, is a retired 3* Michelin 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 Noir. Our favorite wines and wine club. If you can, try his Pinot Noir.
Dresser Ranch Winery at Gelfand Vineyards (Previously " Gelfand Vineyard" +++
5530 Dresser Ranch Place, Paso Robles, California 93446. South of Hwy 46 east. 805-239-5808. Jan and Len Gelfand have retired but the new (Fall of 2020) owners, Cathy & Kory Burke, are continuing the Gelfand tradtions of friendship, great wines and a casual tasting experience, outside of their small wine making and wine barrel storage barn, situated below their hilltop home (see above) by appointment only ... but again you can usually join in the fun.
Denner Winery ****
5414 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles, Ca. 93446. 805-239-4287. Call for tasting reservation. The setting and grounds are top notch and beautiful and, while the wine prices are on the expensive side, the the wines are "wowzer" (Some excellent red blends in particular) and are often sold out early in the season. It is certainly worth visiting on the West side 'wine loop’. Go for the view too. Update- This beautiful & rewarding stop has been sold (2023) and time will tell if the ambiancw & wines stand up to Ron Denner's standards.
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 and a very nice lunch service. A fun kind of casual party atmosphere. A favorite visit for us.
Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar ****
1585 Live Oak Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 801-5122. The Hope family’s wineries and vineyards, the Austin Hope & Treana Tasting Cellar offer excellent, award winning wines and a fun, casual atmosphere . A favorite of the locals as well as wine afficianados. Well worthy of a visit.
Villa San-Juliette ***
6385 Cross Canyon Road, San Miguel, CA 93451. (805) 467-0014. Our favorite, unique & inviting afternoon stopover (allow for a 1-2 hour visit) for lunch & wine tasting. It will be memorable.
VSJ is located in a remarkably beautiful California Central Coast Wine Country setting, featuring a beautiful Tuscan villa, a never ending panorama with views of the vineyards, beautiful botanical flower gardens and majestic Oak trees (bring your cameras). This stop is NOT just a "sip and go" experience. Sweetening the visit is the friendly & attentive staff who make you feel welcome. Plan the stop for lunch with lovely chef styled lunches... and moderately priced as well. A worthy experience indeed. ... not to mention their award-winning Bordeaux and Rhone-style wines
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 the art and craft of winemaking. If you're lucky, he may take you back into the barrel room and do a wine-thief blending of 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
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 nice wines.
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.
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 moderate to high price bracket for the quality. Also 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... also on the West Side Loop on Vineyard Rd.
Castoro Cellars ***
1315 North Bethel Road Templeton, CA. (805) 238-0725 A fun tasting room for a group with a wide variety of wines and a pretty setting. A group tourist’s regular stop (which sometimes can be a negative).
Cass Winery ****
7350 Linne Road, Paso Robles, CA. (805) 239.1730 A fun, large indoor and outdoor dining and tasting rooms with a wide variety of excellent wines and chef prepared lunches on the east side of Hwy 101 and Paso Robles. In the last several years it has repeatedly earned 90+ and Wine of the Year designations for their wines and has been recognized for their dining offerings. The wines are at reasonable price points . Another must visit for your wine touring and a fun excursion. We go weekly for lunch and a glass.
I’ll quit with those for now but that leaves us somewhere around 200+ more world class offerings here in "Wine Country" to explore... and NO, we do not own any part or interest in any of them, Sadly.
You can check out some other vineyards in the locale of Blue Dog Ranch at
... There are several hundred more world class offerings here in "Wine Country