Your Guide To Paso Robles

Paso Robles is home to more than 300 wineries spreading across the Paso Robles AVA and 11 sub AVAs. The region has more than 60 varieties of grapes on nearly 40,000 acres of vines. Reds dominate the region — Cabernet Sauvignon being the most planted grape. The region is also known for Rhone style blends like GSM. I had the pleasure of visiting for a week, we fit in a ton of wineries and we were able to explore a bit of the California coast.

Itinerary

Day 1

  • Arrive/Check-in
  • Barrel House Brewing
  • LAW @4
  • La Cosecha @7:30

Day 2

  • Hike
  • Justin @11
  • Tablas Creek @1
  • Daou @3:30
  • Thomas Hill Organics @8:15

Day 3

Route 1 to Carmel By The Sea (3 hours)

  • Stop in Big Sur @ Big Sur Bakery
  • Carmel By The Sea – Explore
  • Caraccioli Cellars @2
  • Toro

Drive back to Paso

  • 1122 Speakeasy

Day 4

Morro Bay

  • Explore
  • Brunch @Blue Sky Bistro

Paso 

  • Explore
  • Serrano 
  • Vivant Cheese
  • 1122 Speakeasy

Day 5

  • Hike
  • L’Aventure @10:00
  • Hope Family Vineyards @12:45
  • Tooth & Nail @3:30
  • Fish Gaucho @7:30

Day 6

  • Linne Calodo @10:00
  • Epoch @12
  • Tin City for Lunch @Barrel House
  • The Hatch @7

Day 7

  • Mineral Hot Spring
  • Tin City for Lunch @Barrel House
  • Union Sacre 
  • Depart

Wine

When visiting a new wine region I always like to build a wine itinerary based on big and small producers. I generally like to visit some of the bigger places I can find locally. Typically, the smaller producers always win my heart. Below you will find a list of all the wineries we visited:

Law Estate was our first winery visit of the trip and they set the bar high. They produce ultra premium, limited production, Rhone and Spanish style wines using sustainable and organic farming practices. Law uses gravity for movement of wine instead of traditional pumping methods, which allow them to stay true to their minimalistic approach to wine making. Their views are spectacular, the vineyard is one of the highest in the area at 1,600 – 1,900 feet. Our favorite wine was the 2017 Beguiling which is a Southern Rhone blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Our next winery was Justin. Justin is one of the bigger producers in Paso Robles but they still focus on small batch wine making — they have ~160 acres planted and have a huge case production. Justin is known for their Bordeaux blends. I was a huge fan of their Justification (Cabernet Franc/Merlot) and Isosceles (Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot) wines. Isosceles was the first wine that came out in 1987. Their label and names come from Justin’s dad who was an architect.

Tablas Creek Vineyard is the pioneer of California’s Rhone movement — we can thank them for bringing Rhone grape varietals to the United States. They are more a mid-level producer, with a case production of 25,000-30,000 cases. They have an extensive list and produce over 30 wines. The vineyards at Tablas Creek are biodynamic and organic. We absolutely fell in love with their wine and story so we became wine club members!

Discover Daou! One of our highlights was our terrific visit to Daou. Their views are breathtaking and the wine did not disappoint. Daou is owned by two brothers Daniel and George who grew up in France. Daniel is the winemaker while George runs the backside. Some of my favorites included their Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir, Eye of The Falcon Reserve (CS/PV), and their Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

L’Aventure, “The Adventure,” was founded in 1998 and was the 35th winery in Paso. They have a small production of 6,000-8,000 cases. All of their wine is phenomenal — my favorites were their 2020 Estate Rose and their 2018 Optimus. The Optimus is a blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.

Hope Family Wines was high on my list to visit in Paso. Hope Family Wines has five different labels but you taste their estate wines at their tasting room. Some of our favorites included their Cabernet Franc and Graciano. If you have never heard of Graciano it has a fun and unique story in Paso. Graciano was purchased by several vineyards in 2004. The varietal was originally believed to be Mourvèdre. One of the goofs was grammatical — the Spanish word for Mourvèdre is “Monastrell,” while the French word for Graciano is “Morrastel.” Eventually winemakers realized Graciano was growing differently and had a different flavor profile so they sent it to UC-Davis for genetic identification. Hope Family Wines is going for it with Graciano — there are two acres grown on their Estate vineyard.

I was very excited to visit Tooth & Nail, they are known for their castle tasting room and their dark art. They have several labels and I am a big fan of Rabble — unfortunately, we were not able to taste any Rabble wine but we enjoyed a flight of wines that included Tooth & Nail, Amor Fati, and Stasis. I was a big fan of The 2018 Tooth & Nail Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2018 Tooth & Nail “The Possessor.” Unfortunately, I didn’t learn a lot about the winery or brand. Our tasting attendant didn’t seem interested in answering any questions so we just enjoyed our wine. If you come hungry they do serve food! We enjoyed their truffle fries and wagyu sliders — the sliders paired perfectly with their Cabernet Sauvignon.

If you have been following me, you know I am obsessed with Serrano Wine. Serrano is home to the Harry Potter wine that I featured on my Instagram back in February. Their tasting room is located right in downtown Paso so it is perfect to visit before dinner. Serrano has a beautiful story — the word itself means one of/from the mountains; highlander. The owners Sarah and Brice called their winery/dream Serrano because of their story, relationship, the beginning of mountains, and progressing on mountains. I loved tasting the 2020 Patronus which is their rose!

Linnie Calodo was one of my favorite stops on this trip — their name is latin for limestone and mudstone. Essentially the winery is named after the vineyard’s soil type. Linne Calodo has 55 acres under vine and produce ~5,000 cases. They are organic, sustainable, and dry farmed. I fell in love with all of their wine but my two favorites were Contrarian and In My Dreams. Contrarian was named due to the fact that it was contrary to the winemaker, Matt, to make a white wine. It is a delicious blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Picpoul Blanc. It is aged in concrete to bring out the wine’s minerality. Another one of our favorites was In My Dreams which is a delicious blend of Grenache, Tempranillo, Graciano, Tannat, and Carignan. The winemaker also has a second label, Slacker. These wines are more his “playground.”

One of the last wineries of the trip was Epoch Estate Wine. This was not on our original itinerary but we were told by many tasting attendants to visit. Epoch was formerly York Mountain Vineyard, the first vineyard in Paso Robles. Their current tasting room is restored from the original winery that was damaged during an earthquake. Epoch has an amazing female winemaker, Jordan. She makes a drawing/vinepression of each of her wines. Epoch is a small producer that focuses on Rhone, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo varieties. They are mineral driven and ferment and age several of their wines in concrete tanks/eggs/tulips. I fell in love with their fruit forward wines. Some of my favorites included their 2017 Veracity (GSM), 2017 Estate Blend (Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, Tempranillo, Zinfandel, Carignan), and their 2016 Tempranillo.

Union Sacre is located in Tin City. They pay homage to the Alsace region of France. The wines of Union Sacre are focused on single vineyard and single varietal wines. We had been told by several tasting attendants to visit and I am so glad we did. We had the privilege of tasting with the owner/winemaker. We tasted their dry Gewurztraminer, Dry Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon. I enjoyed the wine making style of being 100% — no blending.

Drink

Eleven Twenty-Two Speakeasy and Lounge was one of the highlights of our trip. This hidden speakeasy is located right in downtown Paso behind Pappy McGregor’s. 1122 is truly a unique cocktail experience — the 1930s decor transports you right back in time along with the intimate seating, dimmed lighting, delicious craft cocktails and wonderful staff. The cocktails were phenomenal — I wish I could have grabbed a photo but no phones allowed! Honestly, it was so nice to have an intimate evening without the phone!

The Alchemist’s Garden was magical. This is another go-to spot for amazing craft cocktails. We decided to grab one before dinner one night and they did not disappoint. We enjoyed the Alchemists Gold (Old Fashioned) and the Nicholas Flamel (Spicy Marg).

Barrel House Brewing is located in the heart of Tin City. They have a large outdoor area with plenty of seating and great beer. We enjoyed the Strawberry Haze and Juicy Hazy IPA. They have a permanent food truck that has amazing chorizo and goat cheese tacos — we literally visited twice just for the tacos!

Eat

The Hatch is your go-to for comfort food. I fell in love with all the food we ate! For an appetizer we enjoyed the artichoke and for dinner we enjoyed the meatloaf and the delicious fried chicken.

If you are feeling tacos and margs, Fish Gaucho is just the place for you. I really wish I would have made reservations to enjoy twice because once was not enough. The strawberry basil margarita was probably the best margarita I have ever had. We both enjoyed tacos — carnitas and ahi tuna!

Thomas Hill Organics is a delicious farm-to-table restaurant that highlights organic cuisine from the central coast. Our food was delicious, we ordered the Bone Marrow Crusted New York Strip and the Seared Half Chicken.

La Cocheta is a tapas style restaurant. Grab a bottle of Tempranillo and enjoy the paella, you won’t be upset! The scallops also make a delicious appetizer.

If you want a lighter dish, check out Vivant Fine Cheese. This is a great spot if you want to grab a cheese board and a glass of wine. They also have delicious panini’s that will hit the spot after a day of wine tasting.

Do

Before our days began with wine, we liked to start each morning with a hike. We found the best park, Stadium Park Atascadero. There were great trails and amazing views.

Morro Bay is a fun little town that is home to Morro rock, fun shops, and otters. If you need a place to grab an amazing brunch, visit Blue Sky Bistro — they have an amazing bloody and delicious food all with a beautiful view of the bay and rock.

One of the highlights of the trip was enjoying Paso’s hot springs. We decided to venture to River Oaks Hot Springs & Spa to enjoy their Sip & Soak package. You get to enjoy a flight of Paso wine while soaking in a vineyard-view tub. It is completely private and luxurious.

Big Sur & Carmel By The Sea

A huge bucket list item was crossed off my list on this trip — Ride along Route 1 and listen to Country by Empire of The Sun. Big Sur stole a piece of my heart that day.

Big Sur Bakery is a small and adorable bakery offering up coffee and delicious sweet and savory pastries. It is a great place to stop and enjoy a treat.

Carmel By The Sea is an adorable town with tons of shopping, bars, restaurants, and tasting rooms. We loved walking around, shopping, and even enjoyed the beach!

There are tons of restaurants in Carmel but we were recommended to Toro and it hit the spot. The sushi was amazing. We split the jalapeño popper roll, Carmel roll, spicy tuna roll, and rainbow roll with a bottle of bubbles! It was one of my favorite meals of the trip!

Caraccioli Cellars was the perfect winery to visit in Carmel. Caraccioli focuses on producing wines from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The winemaker was born and raised in Champagne so we finally got to enjoy bubbles! We loved the Brut Cuvee, Brut Rose, and Pinot Noir.

Please let me know if you are planning a trip to Paso and need help or recommendations! I truly loved my time there and everything was perfect.

Cheers, Paige