Paso Robles is a city with many parts: hot springs, olive oil and almond orchards, a booming CBD hemp industry and of course, an abundance of wineries.
Located on the Salinas River north of San Luis Obispo, California, this bubbling city boasts of over 250 bonded wineries that cultivate more than 25 different varieties of grapes.
Paso Robles’ Wine History
Grape growing started in the Paso Robles in the late 18th century by Franciscan friars and over a century after, the people began growing zinfandel.
Later in the mid-1900s, they grew Bordeaux grapes like cabernet sauvignon and within a few decades, the city championed the potential for Rhône varieties like syrah, mourvèdre, and grenache in California. Today, cabernet and Rhône grapes are majorly cultivated. Each of the wineries in Paso Robles serves great-tasting and high-quality wine.
Getting to Paso Robles
The city is accessible majorly by road. The closest airport is located in San Luis Obispo, which is only a 40-minute drive to Paso Robles. If you’re a lover of road trips, driving into the city from San Francisco or Los Angeles takes about 3-6 hours and offers a fabulous experience.
For a thorough experience, stay up to at least 6-7 days in Paso Robles, not even a quarter of its wineries can be explored in a day.
Paso Robles is a unique place with very friendly vibes, craft breweries and restaurants that serve locally sourced food. The people are calm, welcoming and passionate about their farming.
Getting Around the Paso Robles Vineyards
The wineries in Paso Robles are clustered together on opposite sides of the town, with many ways to get around them, one of which is through wine tours. Wine tours are organized wine tasting tours that is done alone or in groups of people. Tourists get to sample and taste different wines at a fee and also engaging in conversations with growers and producers.
There are a number of companies that offer wine tour services. These services can be booked online: for example, The Wine Line offers private and semi-private tours to different wineries with the added benefit of flexibility. All you have to do is select a region, tour type, and date and get picked up at an affordable rate.
There are bike tours with a combined experience of cycling in a new city and wine tasting. The terrain is mostly level with a few short hills that are easy both professional and moderate cyclers. Just like general wine tours, there are lots of companies offering bike rentals for these kinds of tours.
There is also the option of helicopter tours around Paso Robles. These are the most exciting kind of tours for people who love adventure and want a scenic view of vineyards. A good example is the helicopter experience offered by Sinton Helicopters. They offer air tours with stops at wineries that have approved landing sites. They are reasonably priced and convenient to the board and give the most exciting form of wine tours
Best Paso Robles Vineyards
Bethel RD Distillery and Winery
Located in the heart of Paso Robles Wine Country, this winery prides in its mission of promoting creativity and community. They do so by creating inspirational and inviting spaces that capture the real essence of winemaking.
Their tasting room is open from Thursday to Monday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm and by appointment. You can make an appointment on their online page. They have different tasting options including spirit tasting flight for $15 and wine tasting for $10. Their Spirit and Cocktail Club members taste for free.
J Lohr: J Lohr Vineyards and Wines
This is a winery headquartered in San Jose. With over 3700 acres of estate vineyards in Paso Robles, this family-owned business is operated by members who are constantly mastering their craft in winemaking.
The Wine Centre is open from 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m daily for sampling. Visitors can choose six wines to taste for a $15 fee. This tasting fee is waived with club membership or a minimum two-bottle purchase from their tasting menu. The wines include many of their award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir wines and more. The Wine Center is located at the winery, just 3 miles east and 3 miles north of the town of Paso Robles and is surrounded by gorgeous vineyards and their winemaking facilities.
Tobin James Cellars
This winery is centrally located in town just off of the highway and is a favorite stop for locals and visitors alike. It captures the old west feel of Paso Robles with their wooden structures and their wines are called “Paso Robles in a glass”. Their tasting rooms are open from 10 am to 6 pm daily and require a reservation. Their tastings are free and there is an extensive list of wines one can taste from.
They are legendary for their wine club, The James Gang which is rumored to be the largest wine club in the world. Members get a 15% discount on all wine purchases.
Herman Story Wines
Herman Story Wines is owned by Russel P, an expert winemaker who releases his wines twice a year – in Spring and in the Fall. His tasting room is located in downtown Paso Robles and is open Thursday to Monday from 11 AM to 5 PM. He produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir, Red Rhône-Style Blend, Rosé, Syrah, Tempranillo, Viognier and charges a tasting fee of $20.
Vina Robles Vineyards and Winery
Vina Robles Wines capture a blend of the finesse of European wine and the bold natural flavors of Paso Robles vineyards. Their tasting room is open daily at 10:00 a.m and closing times vary depending on the season. They charge $15 for wine tasting.
LXV Wine – Paso Robles Winery
LXV Wine Tasting Room, located in Downtown Paso Robles, produces hand-crafted wine that is inspired by exotic flavors from India and is a perfect mix of minimalism, authenticity and contemporary blends. The Tasting Room is open from 12 am to 5 pm on Sundays and Mondays and Thursdays to Saturdays and from 4pn to 6 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. It is open to reservations for 1-10 persons at $25 per person.
Doce Robles Winery & Vineyard
Doce Robles offers an exclusive westside boutique winery that features award-winning wines for decades, a small gift shop and a charming staff. The tasting room is open from 10 am to 5:30 pm daily and is welcome to individuals and groups.
Robert Hall Winery
This is one of the most recognized wineries in the area. Their wines showcase the true essence of Paso Robles. It is open daily from 10 am to 5 pm and charges $10-$20 tasting fee depending on the number of people in the group.
Derby Wine Estates
The tasting room is located in the historic Almond Growers building at 525 RiversideAvenue in downtown Paso Robles. It is open daily for tours and tastings from 11 am to 5 pm. They charge a $15 tasting fee which is waived with a 2 bottle wine purchase and Club Derby members.
If you are looking for a lively spot this coming spring, be sure to visit Paso Robles.