A recent 4 day trip to Paso Robles wine country revealed the dramatic growth that has occurred in the rolling hills of this central coast region. Five years ago Paso Robles had a few big names like Turley, Eberle, Castoro, Peachy Canyon and Justin among the approximately 44 wineries and tasting rooms open for business. Since then the number of wineries has risen to about 100 and the restaurant and lodging scene has grown to meet the traffic being attracted to the area. The recent addition of an outdoor entertainment venue at Vina Robles put the icing on the cake making Paso Robles and neighboring Templeton and San Miguel a real destination.
The Vina Robles tasting room and hospitality center were opened in 2007, about 10 years after establishing their vineyards and label. The first vintage was 1999. A family owned business with one foot in Switzerland and the other in Paso Robles, Vina Robles approach to wine making is captured in its motto: European Inspiration – California Character. They produce about 35,000 cases and will likely grow to 50,000 cases when they have completed their new winery in the next year or so.
The wines are quite delicious and nicely priced considering the excellent quality. They produce many of the favorite Bordeaux, Burgundian, Rhone, Spanish and Italian varieties and some that are lesser known. The pricing, as indicated is a treat for those who frequent Napa and Sonoma wine country with the most expensive bottle available being under $50 and many lighter whites and rosés in the $16-26 range. The 2013 Sauvignon Blanc was fresh and crisp with a wonderful balance between the varietal characteristics and the, all important, acid. At the other end of the spectrum was the 2010 Ryan Road Syrah at $42 retail. The deep ruby color was like eye candy and the plum and cherry flavors were rich, creamy and full-bodied. This Syrah has an amazing mouth-feel and exceptional balance.
The hospitality center, banquet rooms and grounds are very inviting and can be reserved for company events and large private parties. They are all elegant and quite beautiful. The hospitality staff is especially welcoming and knowledgeable. Vina Robles also has a guest house in nearby Pleasant Valley which is available for vacation rental. If all of this wasn't already enough, Vina Robles added an entertainment venue, the Vina Robles Amphitheatre, in 2013 with over 25 concerts performed over the past two seasons. Ticket prices vary and wine club members get special consideration.
For those considering a harvest season visit to Paso Robles, the concert schedule at Vine Robles remains packed with big names like the Band Perry (9/7), Jennifer Nettles (9/13), Chicago (9/14), Jeff Dunham (9/21), Brian Wilson and Al Jardine (9/27), Crosby, Stills and Nash (9/30) and ending the season with Ray LaMontagne (10/10).
Plenty of Summer left in Paso Robles at Vina Robles! Watch for Part 2 of this Paso Report.
Paso Robles is located on Hwy 101 about 200 miles and 3.5 hrs south of San Francisco and about the same time and distance north of Los Angeles.