Vineyards. Vino. California. Sonoma, Napa Valley, perhaps? Not this time. I am biased toward a smaller, less renown (for now) vino destination. One where the vines grow strong, the grapes plentiful and the vino bottled with just as much expertise as passion. A seemingly forgotten or unknown destination for both NorCo and SoCo dwellers. One with foodie love, cowboy disposition and small town charm. Paso Robles, an unseen destination — yet a favorite for those fortunate enough to have discovered. Nestled behind the San Lucia Coastal Range mountains this town is the fastest growing city in San Luis Obispo county.
A mere 3.5 hours from Los Angeles, Paso Robles screams weekend with the girls, romantic retreat, or family reunion. With 147 vineyards, a robust town square and plenty of gorgeous views it is one not to be missed.
For the last two year’s I have celebrated the holiday of food and wine in Paso Robles, with loved ones and family. What I love most is the chill of fall in the air, the changing of the leaves and the small town feel that you just can’t find in Southern California. A great big thanks to the Lyle’s for introducing me to Paso and a cheers to a successful and memorable Thanksgiving, with both families!
So next time your headed north, make Paso Robles your destination. Eat, drink and play through a town like no other.
Wineries to Discover…
A 1979 aged-well winery, known for their Cabernets, Eberle Winery holds their ground in a town of vinos. Mostly recognized for their 16,000 square feet aging wine caves located beneath the tasting room. Tours and tastings are complimentary, it’s one to definitely add to the list.
A Lyle (Chris’ family) and now Jones family favorite, Opolo Vineyards produces fabulous well-rounded wines of all kinds and serves up some house made sausages and brick oven pizza for our enjoyment. Voted best of class by both families:
- 2009 Sangiovese
- 2009 Montagna Mare
- 2009 Malbec
- 2008 Tampranillo
Tastings run you a mere $5 and are waived with purchase and you should defiantly purchase!
Tablas Creek Winery
Tablas Creek Winery founded in 1987, by native French Perrin family from Château de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, longtime importer and founder of Vineyard Brands, had a dream to recreate the wines of France in California. In 1987, they began what turned out to be a very lengthy process, the creation of a Châteauneuf-du-Pape style vineyard from scratch in California. Today Tablas Creek is dedicated to organically farmed Rhone varietals and Châteauneuf style blends.
Tastings run you $10, waived with purchase.
Firestone Walker Brewing Co.
Okay, I’ll admit it I am not a vino, I love and would never trade beer for wine. I do and probably always will prefer one over the other and it just so happens Paso Robles is home to Firestone Walker Brewing Co. If you are a beer fan and haven’t had a Firestone brew it’s a must try.
- Firestone DBA
- Double Jack IPA
- Walker’s Reserve Porter
Eats in Paso Worth a Taste Test
Thomas Hill Organic
A bistro with a promise to serve organic dishes from their own garden and vino’s from the Central California Coast. Thomas Hill Organics, homegrown flavor and the careful precision in which they pull together unique dishes is not to be missed. (It’s so good I have stopped on a road trip from SF to LA, seriously check it out!)
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
Now on the east coast small town Christmas tree lightings are plentiful, but I can’t say that I have been able to re-live that experience in California, with the exception of the a lighting in Paso Robles. The Day-After Thanksgiving Tree Lighting is not Rockafella Center spectacular, but the town meets up in the center square to bring in the holiday season with carols and laughter. If you’re in town is worth a stop.