My beverage of choice is wine. AND, we live just about four hours south of one of the best kept secrets of the central Southern California Coast -- Paso Robles, California.
Maybe the wines in Paso can't compare with Napa (asserts Steve Heinmoff in the Best Wine Blog of 2013), however, according to the Huffington Post, the pace is slower and more relaxed. Paso is also less corporate and (dare I say) a bit more hipster than Napa.
|Linne Calodo (Borderline rustic modern if you ask me.)|
A few Saturdays ago, we took quick trip to taste some new wines and get away for a little bit. Since we have done this at least a half a dozen times before, let me offer you my eight (8) tips for wine tasting in Paso Robles. These tips will help you NOT waste money but they will also prevent you from getting wasted (and making a fool of yourself).
TIPS FOR VISITING PASO ROBLES
#1 Don't drink
This advice may seem counter-intuitive due to the nature of this excursion, but you must sip. Otherwise, you will be tipsy by your third winery and drunk by noon (not that there is anything wrong with that). We went to 17 wineries in 27 hours. Trust me, you taste or sip and then you dump in the handy containers on the bar. Hey, you can drink every drop, but don't hold me responsible.
|Aron Hill Vineyards|
#2 Share tastings
Every person in your party should not purchase their own individual wine tasting. See #1.
#3 Buy a bottle
If you buy a bottle of wine from every winery you visit, not only will you remember where you stopped (critical to bragging later), but the wineries will also provide you the tasting for free (they deduct the tasting from the cost of the wine). And, after the server takes you through all the wines on the tasting menu, it is a lot less awkward if you close the session by saying, "I'll have a bottle of Mother Hubbard Zinfandel" which is the wine tasting equivalent of asking for a phone number.
|Niner Wine Estates|
Scout out where you want to have lunch and make sure you stop and EAT. Not all of the wineries have food. In fact, very few have food. You need something in your stomach for the wine to land on.
#5 Don't Drive
Seriously. In order to relax and not worry, rent a town car or a limo. Paso wineries are located on complicated country roads and a driver certainly helps keep everyone safe and sane. But do have your own list of wineries if you have preferences. Not that I am implying the drivers get a cut, but the drivers probably get a cut. Just makes sense.
#6 Wine clubs
Cancel half the wine clubs you sign up for when you get home. If you sign up for two, cancel one. If you sign up for five, cancel two and a half. Immediately. Right when you walk in the door. Don't be embarrassed.
|Hearthstone Vineyard and Winery|
Skip the luxury hotel or B&B. Use your points and stay at the local Marriott Courtyard in Paso. Save your money for the wine (focus on the prize).
|Ventuex Vineyards and also a great depiction of how you will see at the end of the day if you drink all the wine.|
It is 43 miles away from Paso on the coast, and super freaking cool! Make a weekend of your visit but get your tickets in advance. Because I am a house whore (first step is admitting you have a problem), on our last visit to Hearst Castle, I went on three of the four possible tours. And I really regretted not doing the fourth.
|Kukkula Modern tasting room and modern home on the hill. These people are my heros.|