This year, Wine Enthusiast Magazine gave Paso Robles the Wine Region of the Year award, and for good reason. The up and coming Paso Robles wine region is part of California's larger Central Coast appellation and is located in San Luis Obispo County. The hillside vineyards are scattered about in the larger cities of Paso Robles and Atascadero, as well as in the smaller cities of Templeton and Creston.
The Paso Robles wine region began to grow in the early 1980s and has continued to expand ever since. This year, the region is home to more than two hundred wineries—a large majority of which are small production and family owned. The region hosts three annual wine events for those looking to explore the luscious wine that Paso Robles has to offer: Vintage Paso, the Paso Robles Wine Festival, and Harvest Wine Weekend.
Vintage Paso takes place between March 14th-16th and is the premier event to attend for Zinfandel lovers. This event boasts a wide array of Zinfandel from around the region in addition to highlighting other varietals alongside food pairings, barbecues, barrel tastings, and music. The 32nd Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival will be held on March 16th-18th this year and promises to pour wine from more than 60 wineries at the event. Harvest Wine Weekend, as the name suggests, takes place in the Fall during grape harvesting time. This year, the event will be held on October 17th-19th, and will allow attendees to get an up close and personal look at the inner workings of a winery during the busy harvest season.
While this region is known for its Rhône varietals—such as Syrah and Viognier—it also grows a healthy amount of some of the more commonly known varietals such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Zinfandel. There are also a handful of wineries making Cal-Ital wine (California wine made from Italian grapes) that offer varietals such as Primitivo, Sangiovese, and Barbera. With such an eclectic variety of traditional California wine alongside grapes that originated from some of the world's greatest wine growing regions of Italy and France, Paso Robles has a lot to offer and incredible potential as the next up and coming major wine growing region of California.