Photo by Michelle Bainbridge Constantia South Africa
Photo by Michelle Bainbridge Constantia South Africa
Where's the Wine Blog
Where's the Wine Blog  

Planning a trip to Paso Robles Wine Country – Part Two

Paso Robles Wine Country Itinerary


The geography of the area was significantly influenced by ancient oceans, when they receded, they left behind diverse soils and microclimates. Paso Robles has one of the largest diurnal temperature ranges in the world, with cool nights and often daytime temperatures exceeding 100 degrees. It is one of the largest AVA’s at over 600,000 acres, of which more than 40,000 acres are planted to grapes.  Paso Robles began commercial wine production in the 1880’s but it wasn’t until the 1990’s that the region experienced rapid expansion with over 200 wineries today. Known early on for outstanding Zinfandel wines, the region is now producing exceptional Bordeaux and Rhone varietals.


Paso Robles is located mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. The closest airport is San Louis Obispo, with Santa Barbara being an option about 2 hours’ drive away. I recommend spending at least part of your visit in a hotel within walking distance of the lovely, tree-lined main square in the town of Paso Robles. You will have easy access to several great restaurants and city wine tasting rooms.


Best Hotels within walking distance of the City Park (main square)

Paso Robles Inn

The Piccolo

Hotel Cheval

We chose the Paso Robles Inn for this visit because the location, price and service were perfect for us. We were looking for a place with open space and the PRI has lovely landscaped, mature gardens for your private patio view. Some rooms are available with a large hot tub jacuzzi on the patio with privacy curtains, a nice way to end a day of wine tasting. PRI is the original luxury hotel in Paso Robles. It has aged gracefully but is no longer considered a luxury property. Each of our restaurant choices were within a few blocks of the PRI.


Best Restaurants in Paso Robles, near the main square

Il Cortile Ristorante (Italian)

Thomas Hill Organics Bistro and Wine Bar (Farm to table)

La Cosecha Bar and Restaurant (Latin-inspired)

Fish Gaucho (upscale Mexican)

Somm’s Kitchen (intimate food and wine pairings)

Buona Tavola (Northern Italian)


Pro tip-Make all your restaurant and winery appointments at least 3 weeks in advance. There are not that many options for all the demand. It is easy to do using the links in this article to visit the websites.


After checking into your hotel room, you may have time to visit some of the wine tasting rooms located in Downtown Paso. Some also have tasting rooms at the wineries but starting Downtown will get you in the spirit of your wine country adventure. You most likely will not need a reservation, walk-ins are encouraged. Keep in mind that most of the tasting rooms close at 6pm. For your first night in Paso you might want to purchase some wine bottles for your room. It seemed odd to me how few options there were for retail wine purchases within walking distance. We ended up shopping at Third Base Market & Spirts, in a gas station, on Spring Street. Be sure to pick up some snacks for your wine country road trip, there are not many places to shop once you leave Downtown.


Best wine tasting rooms in Downtown Paso

Tudor Wines


Asuncion Ridge Vineyards

LXV Wine

CaliPaso Tasting Room

Day One-

The first day of wine tasting takes you east of Paso Robles. In just a few miles, you will pass many wineries. Make Eberly Winery your first stop. Gary Eberly is one of the current- day “pioneers” in the industry. He is one of the original co-founders of the Paso Robles Appellation in 1983, the first to label his wine with the AVA and the first to commercially produce a 100% Syrah. The covered patio looked out over the vast acres of vineyards. There was plenty of space for social distancing. Our table host, Kirk, was quite the precious (and precocious) gem. He was full of humor and educated and entertained us for hours. He was generous enough to share several wines with us that were not part of the day’s tasting menu, and of course they were all available for purchase. Eberly offers generous discounts and nearly-free shipping on wines purchased at the winery.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 3810 CA-46 Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-238-9607

Hours: 10am-5pm daily

Plan your mid-day stop at Bianchi, just a short drive from Eberly if you are visiting on a weekend, they offer lunch, which is always a challenge to find in wine country. Some days you may want to pack a lunch so that you do not have to return to town to eat. And I can assure you, wine tasting will make you hungry! It is a lovely setting for lunch with a large patio adjoining a beautiful koi pond.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 3380 Branch Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-226-9922

Hours: 10am-5pm, closed Tuesday and Wednesday, lunch available Saturday and Sunday


Your third appointment of the day will be at Robert Hall Winery, also close to Eberle and Bianchi. They specialize in Bordeaux and Rhone varietals. There is a word of caution for you- as the day progresses, you will start to get “palate fatigue” and these wines will seem to be perfectly rich and smooth. However, when you try them at home, they may seem overly extracted, with high alcohol. If you enjoy this style, consider joining their wine club, which allowed 30% off everything purchased that day.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 3443 Mill Road Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-239-1616

Hours: 10am-5pm daily


Pro tip- Wine tastings can be expensive. Remember that you can share a single tasting with another person, or two. Not only does this save money but keeps you legal to do your own driving. Always have a designated driver and keep them sharp. Also, everyone will feel better at the end of the day.

Day Two-

Today you will head west of Paso Robles for a leisurely brunch and tasting at the top-of-the-line, “new kid on the block” DAOU Winery in the Adelaide hills. This was a second visit for me, and I could not wait to get back here to share it with my travel companions. The spectacular setting is at the top of a mountain with extensive views of the vineyards and walnut groves. The view is equaled in the high-level of hospitality and world-class Bordeaux-varietal wines. I know this is a lot of superlatives, but you need to experience this for yourself. There is a full Mediterranean menu on which to feast while you taste through the extensive line up of wines. Tasting these wines with food, is really the best way to get to know them. It took several hours to taste through the menu and the wines, so please allow yourself time to enjoy here. The quest for perfection is evident in every aspect of your visit. These wines consistently receive rave reviews from the major trade publications. DAOU is not to be missed.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 2777 Hidden Mountain Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-226-5460

Hours: 10am-5pm daily


Pro tip- Signing up for wine clubs will allow many benefits, from discounts on wine tastings, wine and shipping and invitations to special events and experiences. Your visit, including lunch, may even be complimentary. 

Your afternoon today will also be a relaxing excursion to your next hotel, The Allegretto Vineyard Resort, just a few miles from Downtown Paso Robles. This resort is a destination in and of itself. There are marvels around every turn and a small vineyard on the hill behind the hotel. Request a room at the rear of the hotel with a view of the vineyard and the pool.


The Ayers brothers, Douglas in particular spent a lifetime dreaming of this special property and are continually adding artistic elements to the grounds. The property is steeped in energetic crystals, worldly symbolic creations, and artworks. A guided tour is offered and recommended. Allegretto makes its own label wines which can be sampled, by appointment, in the tasting room. The grand courtyard at the center of the property is a bonus space in the evenings, as you can enjoy a recap of the day with your travel companions by one of the many fire pits. Remember to pack down jackets for the chilly evenings, all year long.


Pro tip-Use the DAOU corporate rate discount offered to DAOU wine club members. It is significantly better than the AAA rate.

Be sure to schedule a wine tasting at the hotel’s tasting room. You will have a personal host to taste you through the lineup of Allegretto wines, which of course, are available for purchase to take to your room. There is a convenient restaurant on the property, Cello Ristorante & Bar. Cello features a Mediterranean-inspired menu, lots of outdoor dining and dramatic firepits. 


On our visit we were able to add an incredibly unique outdoor art installation to our itinerary, Bruce Munro: Field of Light at Sensorio. This open-air exhibit was opened in 2020 and has been extended until at least the Fall of 2021. It is not to be missed, if it is available to visit. Plan ahead and book your tickets on-line. The best time to visit is just before sunset as you will watch the sky change during the approximately one-hour time you are walking around. The gravel path is only about a half mile but be sure to wear flat shoes. The silhouettes of the trees make for stunning photos. Just take a look……

Day Three-

Today you will head west again into the Adelaide hills to Justin Winery. You may be familiar with this winery, as it is well-distributed throughout the U.S. There was an extensive line-up for this tasting, including the highly rated Icosolese and Justification. The winery offered several bottlings that are not available outside of the winery, including Syrah and Reserve Tempranillo (my personal favorite). On the weekends there is a full-service restaurant and weekdays there is a limited menu offered. At Justin they insist on providing a fresh glass with each pour. Just for fun, we asked them not to clear them away. There were only two of us tasting and we nearly filled the table! You can book many different types of wine tasting and tour experiences at Justin, based on your time and interest, including a chocolate pairing.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 11680 Chimney Rock Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-238-6932

Hours: 10:30am-4:30pm daily


Pro tip- When planning your wine tasting appointments for the day, it is best to start your day at the location that is the farthest from where you want to end your day. Each subsequent appointment will be a little closer to your hotel or wherever you want to end the day. This is a very relaxing way to tour wine country and assures that your last wine tasting is a short drive “home”. Always scope out a few tasting rooms on your route as “bonus” stops. Should you get ahead of your schedule, you can always call and ask if they can accept your group, on short notice. 

Nearby was Halter Ranch, a boutique winery with very limited distribution. We chose to visit here because it was recommended and that they served lunch. I big hamburger during a day of wine tasting can serve to help with metabolizing all the wine you will be enjoying. If your time permits, you can even schedule a guided hike on the property.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 8910 Adelaida Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-226-9455

Hours: 10am-5pm Thursday-Monday

Just across the road from Halter Ranch is Tablas Creek, one of the iconic Paso Robles wineries specializing in Rhone varietals. This was one of our most anticipated visits. I have followed Tablas Creek for decades and signed up for their wine club the year before. I have always loved Rhone varietals, from around the world. These wines are modeled after their sister property in Chateauneuf du Pape, Chateau Beaucastel. The Haas family (of California-based importer, Vineyard Brands) and the Perrin family of Chateau Beaucastel partnered to find a vineyard with heavy limestone to influence the perfect grapes for the Rhone blends. The property is farmed Biodynamically and organically.


Tablas Creek has expanded their patio area to accommodate small groups at individual tables with a dedicated host who will shar as much information as you wish. If you are a member of the wine club, your tasting will be complimentary. 


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 9339 Adelaida Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-237-1231

Hours: 10am-5pm Daily

Day Four

Heading east, your first stop is at Sculpterra Winery and sculpture garden. The artwork is the inspiration for the wines and a good reason to visit the winery. The wines are not widely distributed, so if you like them, you should plan to take some home. Our plan was to have lunch at Firestone Walker Brewery Company which was very conveniently located for our itinerary. However, they are not open everyday for lunch, and we missed out on the famous BBQ tri-tip which is a specialty of the Central Coast region. 


Reservations: Walk-in’s welcome

Address: 5015 Linne Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-226-8881

Hours: 10am-5pm Daily

Your afternoon stop is at Austin Hope & Treana. They have done a beautiful job of creating individual living rooms for outdoor tastings. The staff was young, energetic, and sincere, if not the most knowledgeable of crews. The visit was casual and fun. You will not feel rushed. The specialty of the house is Cabernet Sauvignon at several levels of quality.


Reservations: Required until COVID restrictions end

Address: 1585 Live Oak Rd. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-238-4112

Hours: 10am-5pm Daily


Try to save time in your schedule to spend a half day at Tin City, Thursday-Sunday is the liveliest. There is a “fair-like” atmosphere with large crowds stopping in at the many tasting rooms, breweries and shops in the open-air complex. This warehouse collection is an “incubator” for small wineries and breweries. It is full of talented, passionate entrepreneurs, you will likely meet many of them during your visit to their establishment. Their tasting rooms are their connection to consumers and their most important marketing tool. There are plenty of options for catching a bite to eat while you are there. You may be treated to one of the many live music performances if your timing is right. If you have an Amazon Prime account, you can watch a documentary on Tin City, to get you in the spirit for your visit.


Address: 450 Marquita Ave. Paso Robles, CA 93446

Phone: 805-434-5474

Hours: varies by establishment, not all open every day



Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance News and Events

Documentary on Tin City available on Amazon Prime

See Michelle’s Pinterest Board for Paso Robles for tons of insight into traveling in San Luis Obispo County (SLO)

Print | Sitemap