Looking to plan your next summer weekend getaway? I highly recommend visiting Paso Robles, CA. Paso is a beautiful wine region located about three hours north of Los Angeles, just outside of San Louis Obispo. It is just off of the 101, so you can also enjoy a scenic coastal drive traveling to and from the area. Surprisingly, there are more than 200 wineries throughout the region, and most are family owned and operated businesses. In the heart of the area is Downtown Paso, which includes amazing restaurants, shops, bakeries, and cafes. There is even a weekly farmers market on Saturdays in the main square, with local vendors selling fresh produce and hand-made arts and crafts.
With so many wonderful options, some might find it difficult to put together an itinerary for the day (although I promise you can’t go wrong!). As a frequent Paso visitor myself, below are a few recommendations that will hopefully make your decision-making a bit easier:
Before heading to the wineries, I suggest stopping by Di Raimondo’s Cheese Shop to purchase a selection of meats and cheeses to pair with your tastings. This European style market offers cheeses, charcuterie, and other grocery items from around the world, many of which are rare and difficult to find at most stores. The staff is extremely knowledgeable about the history and making of the products they sell, and they also provide sample tastings to help you with your selection. All of their products are delicious; however, they sell two types of cheese that are out of this world and cannot be missed: Moliterno Al Tartufo and Shaft’s Bleu. The first, Moliterno Al Tartufo, is a pecorino-style cheese that is aged for six months, and then infused with rich black truffle paste. The truffle is so incredibly pungent, and it pairs perfectly with the sharpness of the pecorino. If you are a truffle lover, you will find this cheese to be divine! The second cheese, Shaft’s Bleu, is also just as yummy. It is rich and creamy, yet bold and powerful in flavor. Once you’ve purchased your meats and cheeses, it’s just a short ride to the wineries.
On a beautiful summer day, I recommend starting your winery tour with L’Aventure. Not only are the winery and views breathtaking, but they offer an award-winning rosé that will blow you away! Rosé, of course, is so refreshing on a warm day and is a great way to ease into a long afternoon of wine tasting ahead. To touch on the history, owner and winemaker, Stephen Asseo, began wine-making in Bordeaux, France in 1982. He had a passion for innovation and a drive to be more creative than the French wine laws would allow, so he decided to settle in Paso Robles in 1996 where is adventure began – “L’Aventure.” Stephen creates a variety of stellar blends (Optimus, Côte a Côte, Estate Cuvée, etc.), but he is well-known by many for his rosé. It is dry, light, and balanced, with subtle notes of crisp fruit. You could easily spend a few hours at L’Aventure enjoying their various wines and soaking up the sun while walking the grounds.
Next stop on the tour? Head to Tablas Creek, which is a short drive from L’Aventure. Tablas Creek was founded and created in 1989 by two internationally known families within the wine industry: the Perrin family of Château de Beaucastel and the Haas family of Vineyard Brands. They chose to develop the winery in Paso Robles due to its similarities with the southern Rhône region of France, and they imported vines from Beaucastel to replicate wines from the area. Mourvédre, Syrah, Roussanne, Grenache Noir, Viognier, Counoise, Marsanne, Picpoul Blanc and Grenache Blanc were initially imported, and new varieties continue to arrive at Tablas Creek each year. If you participate in their tasting, you will be sure to learn more about their history as you sip each sample of the flight. I personally love their whites, my favorites being the Espirit de Tablas Blanc, Côtes de Tablas Blanc, and Viognier. The winery also has a gorgeous outdoor patio, so it’s a great place to picnic or enjoy the charcuterie from Di Raimondo’s Cheese Shop, paired with a glass of wine of course!
If time allows, there are several other fabulous wineries in the area you can visit: Niner, Écluse, DAOU, Adelaida, Turley,….However, if you have not yet been, I recommend wrapping up your afternoon at Tin City. Tin City is an industrial area located near Downtown Paso that includes various wine tasting rooms, micro-breweries, a creamery, and even a small batch brandy distillery. If you enjoy brandy, Wine Shine is a must! They distill brandy out of grapes sourced from local wineries and produce a variety of interesting flavors, such as Hibiscus Lemon, Mango Ginger Black Pepper, and Fig. While their brandies are delicious as such, they are also lovely in cocktails as well. After stopping by Wine Shine, you can walk right over to Barrel House Brewing Co. They craft unique beers that will be sure to satisfy any palate, from blondes to IPAs, to stouts, and even sours. They also sell yummy eats sourced from local vendors and offer live music in the beer garden. Barrel House is an absolute blast!
After a fun-filled afternoon of wine, beer, and brandy tasting, you can head to Downtown Paso for a fabulous dinner. Paso is filled with award-winning restaurants, a few including Thomas Hill Organics, Il Cortile Ristorante, Artisan, Fish Gaucho, and La Cosecha Bar & Restaurant. If you’re visiting Paso with a larger party, I suggest dining at La Cosecha. Spanish for “the harvest,” this restaurant serves an array of wonderful tapas and shared plates that highlight the flavors of Spain and South America. The menu includes Grilled Octopus with leek mashed potatoes and cherry tomato confit, Blue Crab Toast with avocado and roasted peppers, Pork Belly with carrot puree and cabbage slaw, and Braised Short Ribs with red wine sauce, celery root puree, and seasonal vegetables. They even frequently offer traditional seafood paella as a special, which you have to try! La Cosecha is a great place to enjoy great food, yummy cocktails, and endless laughs with friends.
Paso Robles is the perfect weekend getaway and will be sure to keep you coming back for more. For additional information to help you plan your next trip, visit travelpaso.com.
Check out more LaLaScoop about Paso Robles on MoneyInc.
Here’s a tip – there are several affordable driver services throughout the area that can take you to and from the wineries. Some even offer chauffeurs that drive your own vehicle so you don’t have to worry about booking a town car or limo. My personal favorite is Grand Cru Limousine.
Have fun, and drink responsibly!