There are so many amazing Paso Robles wineries to explore and there’s no way you can visit all of them in one trip—there are over 260 wineries in Paso! But that’s ok, you’ll just have to make multiple trips to try as many Paso Robles wines as possible. It can be a bit overwhelming trying to decide which Paso Robles wineries to hit up, so to help you narrow things down a bit, I’ve put together this list of the best Paso wineries!
We had such an awesome experience wine tasting in Paso Robles a couple of months ago, and we are already planning our next trip back to Paso. We had so many family members and friends (and of course @wtfab followers!) reach out asking to learn more about Paso Robles, and it’s honestly a bit of a hidden gem!
If you went to Cal Poly you’re definitely very familiar with Paso, since it’s only a 30-minute drive from the town of San Luis Obispo and it’s within San Luis Obispo County. But once you start to get outside of that area, people become less and less familiar with Paso Robles. San Francisco and LA are only a four-hour drive away from Paso, but I only know a handful of people who have visited. I think more people are familiar with Santa Barbara as an alternative wine country destination to Napa, but I honestly think that is about to change, so you should definitely visit Paso Robles before it blows up!
I think that being based in San Francisco, with Napa, Sonoma, and Healdsburg just an hour’s drive away, we can get a bit stuck in our Northern California wine country. Which is lovely and I adore our wine country, but it’s good to get out and explore new areas, ya know? And I’m so glad that we did because we ended up loving Paso. It felt like a low-key version of Napa (I love Napa but it can get really frustrating with having to book tastings out weeks in advance and pay an arm and a leg for some of them), which we really enjoyed.
And you guys, Paso Robles makes some damn good wine! Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely produced varietal in Paso, but they make so many other awesome reds. I’m a big red girl and I’ll politely sip some pinot if you give it to me but I’ll definitely be looking over your shoulder for a big, juicy zin. I loved how much variety there was in the different varietals they produce in Paso. I discovered some I’d never heard of or tried before (like Mourvèdre and Petit Verdot) and tried some different GSM (Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvèdre) blends that were fantastic.
So why is Paso Robles wine country able to produce such fabulous wines? Well, it’s in part thanks to its location along California’s central coast and its AVAs’ unique characteristics in climate and soil. With the Pacific ocean not far, winds have a large impact and can cause a 50-degree diurnal shift in temperature from day to night (causing some hot-ass days and cold-ass nights!). And a large diurnal shift leads to grapes with higher acidity and higher quality, more balanced wines. ??
Add in Paso’s range in elevations (700 – 2,000 feet) and the many different types of soil (30 different kinds, to be exact), and you’ve got a diverse variety in microclimates that bless the 11 different AVAs in Paso Robles. Paso also has a long growing season which allows winemakers to ripen the 69 different varieties grown in Paso with the ideal balance of sugar and acidity, creating award-winning wines.
Ok, thanks for coming to my TED talk on why Paso is so great for growing wine. ? Clearly we learned a lot about Paso Robles during our trip.
So let’s get into it! Read on for the best wine in Paso Robles and all the wineries you’ll want to add to your Paso bucket list!
The Best Paso Robles Wineries
Adelaida Vineyards: Adelaida was one of my absolute favorite Paso Robles wineries we experienced during our trip! Adelaida is family-owned and run, and their property is beautiful and so very charming. They practice sustainable winemaking and agriculture and make classic California wines, thanks to their wide range of unique mesoclimates and soil types.
You can do several different tastings in their tasting room and bring your own picnic for their outdoor areas, but I personally think the best way to go is with their incredible hilltop tasting experience! Their property has the highest point in Paso Robles, and it’s at this point that you’ll enjoy your hilltop tasting beneath beautiful oak trees, overlooking the Adelaida District and Paso’s mountainous terrain. Try to time your visit so you have at least an hour before sunset for some seriously beautiful views. Bring a jacket, but they also provide blankets!
We also got to try some of their walnuts from their ranch, and oh em gee, they were so delicious and paired so well with some of the reds. Btw, I loved their zins!
Adelaida accepts walk-ins for classic tastings in their tasting room and requires reservations for any of their elevated tastings.
L’Aventure Winery: L’Aventure is a renowned wine estate in Paso that produces fabulous red blends using Bordeaux and Rhône grape varieties. You’ll find their winery located southwest of downtown Paso Robles, in the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountain Range. The founder and owner, Stephan Asseo, began making wine back in 1982 after studying in Burgundy, France. For 15 years, he made wines and became an artisan winemaker in Bordeaux. But his true desire was to be more innovative than French-winemaking laws would allow, so he went on a journey (along with his wife and three children) to discover a new part of the world where he could make wine. He spent a year searching around the world, looking at the best wine fields in South America, Napa, South Africa, and eventually settled on the United States–in Paso Robles, to be exact.
Stephan chose Paso Robles for his winery in 1998 because of its similarities in terroir to the Rhône Valley. He fell in love with the Santa Lucia Mountain Range, the deep and varied soils, and the ocean’s wind and influence on the area. His vision for a “Bordeaux meets Rhône in Paso Robles,” style has earned their wines accolades and high scores by Robert Parker, and Stephan was awarded Winemaker of the Year in San Luis Obispo County in 2007.
L’Aventure produces 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Syrah, 15% Petit Verdot and 15% Mourvèdre as well as Grenache, Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache blanc. Discover the adventurous spirit of L’Aventure in their “Paso Blends,” made with varietals Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.
L’Aventure Winery offers two different tasting experiences—their Tasting Room Experience, and their Private Tour & Tasting Experience, which includes a guided tour of their winery and caves, as well as a sit-down tasting in Stephan Asseo’s personal library. Both experiences are by appointment only.
Turley Wine Cellars: We love Turley! Omied and I are wine club members here (in fact, it’s the only wine club we’re a part of), and we love their zins. As I mentioned I’m a zin girl, and Turley is known for making some of the best Zinfandels in California. Turley has two tasting rooms in California—one in Amador County and one in Templeton, in the Paso Robles wine region. The Amador County location is not too far from where Omied and I grew up, and I’ve been there for wine pick up parties, which are SO fun. You basically drink Turley wines all day while they serve up amazing food like lamb on a spit.
Larry Turley is a retired surgeon, who started Frog’s Leap Winery with John Williams back in 1981. Back then, he’d work the vineyard during the day, and be in the emergency room at night. After a while, Larry wanted to start a new project focused on zin and petite syrah, and he sold his half of Frog’s Leap to Williams and started Turley Wine Cellars.
Turley specializes in making their wines from old-vine zinfandel, sourcing fruit from older vineyards that date back to the late 1800’s, and oftentimes need a lot of extra love and care to restore them.
Since we’d only been tot he Amador County tasting room, we wanted to be sure to visit the Turley tasting room in Paso. The tasting room is casual and people there are friendly, and there’s an outdoor patio area for seating as well. They offer cheese and charcuterie plates for purchase, and their tasting room is open to walk-ins. Their tasting fee is a very reasonable $15, which is waived for wine club members or with a two-bottle purchase for non-members.
Robert Hall Winery: Robert Hall is a lovely winery less than ten minutes down the road from downtown Paso Robles, and they have some really delicious reds. Hall Ranch consists of four different estate vineyards over 150 acres, and they grow twelve different grapes. The winery spans both the Estrella and Geneseo Districts on the east side of Paso Robles, but their winemakers also source grapes from every AVA district in Paso. Robert Hall Winery has been awarded many accolades, including being voted Paso Robles Winery of the Year by New York International Wine Competition in 2017.
The tasting room itself is warm and inviting, and on a nice day, the patio with beautiful views is definitely where it’s at. They also have tons of fun lawn games (giant Jenga, chess, bocce ball, and Connect Four), to keep you or your kiddos entertained. And on Friday evenings during the summer they have live music.
Robert Hall offers cheeses to pair with their wine tastings, as well as guided educational tours so you can see and learn about their winemaking facility and underground wine caverns, which are the largest on the Central Coast.
JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery: JUSTIN Winery is an absolute must-visit in Paso. They planted their first vineyard back in 1981, aiming to make world-class Bordeaux-style blends in Paso. Thanks to Paso’s geological uniqueness, their vineyards are rich in fossilized limestone from literally eons of marine deposits, which is ideal for creating JUSTIN‘s big, Bordeaux-style reds because the limestone stresses the vines, helping them fully express their character—and you know I love a big red!
JUSTIN offers a number of different tasting experiences (10 to be exact), ranging from an Estate Tasting to a chocolate and wine pairing, to a cave tour.
Be sure to time your visit so that you can enjoy lunch or dinner at the Restaurant at JUSTIN. I can’t think of a more quintessential California wine and food experience than sitting on their restaurant patio overlooking their vineyard, enjoying delicious farm-to-table dishes paired with a glass of Isosceles or Justification. So. Good.
And if you’re looking for accommodations on a vineyard, JUST Inn (cute, right?) offers several charming options.
Halter Ranch: Halter Ranch is situated in the Adelaida District, on the west side of Paso Robles. The ranch sprawls over 2,000 acres and includes their wine grapes, walnuts, and olives. Visit their beautiful tasting room, nestled between blocks of their Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Grenache. Their tasting room has beautiful views of the property and a lovely outdoor patio where you can enjoy wines by the glass or bottle, a classic tasting, or a seasonal food and wine pairing menu.
If you’re looking for something a little more adventurous than a sit-down tasting, check out some of their other tours and experiences. Their Excursion Tour, awarded Best Vineyard Experience by Sunset Magazine, will take you on a two-hour adventure through the historic ranch in a restored 1984 Land Rover. Stop along the way to taste different featured wines and take in the incredible scenery.
Or, go on a guided horseback ride around the beautiful property, enjoying a charcuterie picnic and a tasting back at the tasting room when you’ve finished. Halter Ranch also offers a winery and cave tour, as well as a reserve tasting in the caves. So you have plenty of fun and unique options!
If you’re searching for a unique place to stay, Halter Ranch also has some beautiful and luxurious accommodations on the ranch. Check out this stunning Hilltop Luxury House that can sleep up to 12.
Chateau Margene: Chateau Margene is a small winery located in the Creston District of Paso. We were lucky enough to get to chat with and get a tour from owner and winemaker Michael Mooney, and we loved hearing about the history and vision behind Chateau Margene (named after his wife). The first wine produced at Chateau Margene was their 1997 Cabernet Sauvignon, and their viticulture practices of only selecting superior quality grapes by hand (that are then hand-sorted and moved through their gravity processing system) has led them to being known for their high-quality, luxury Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
We loved hearing from Michael about his vision and passion for winemaking, and his philosophy behind why they don’t distribute and only sell directly to consumers who visit the tasting room, and of course their wine club. You can make reservations online for a classic tasting, or do the Elevated Tour & Tasting Experience for a unique vineyard and winery tour and tasting with Michael.
Opolo Vineyards: Opolo has a reputation for growing and producing award-winning wines in Paso. They have almost 300 acres of vines on both the east and west side of Paso Robles, giving them a wide range in climate and soil, allowing them to create a variety of wines. Visit their estate vineyard for stunning rolling hills and picturesque views, and a variety of different tasting experiences. Opolo has several tours available, as well as cheese and wine pairings or food and wine pairings. Be sure to check out their events page as well, as Opolo hosts events like a special Valentine’s Winemaker Dinner for V-day, and a Sunset Crab Feed during the Wine Festival.
Peachy Canyon Winery: Peachy Canyon was founded by husband and wife team, Doug and Nancy Beckett in 1988. The winery continues to be family-owned and operated, with Zinfandel as its flagship varietal. Visit the Old School House tasting room, a historic spot from 1886, to visit their Estate Zinfandels. And while you’ll find a lot of zins on the tasting menu, they do have over 15 different small-batch varietals you can’t find elsewhere, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petite Sirah, Viognier and more. Wine Spectator magazine has ranked Peachy Canyon among the top 100 wines in the world, and its wines continue to rank with 90-point + scores, oftentimes for multiple vintages. Spend an afternoon here for a tasting, enjoying the picnic area and old-fashioned gazebo under the oak trees.
Le Cuvier Winery: Le Cuvier in the Adelaida District makes small-production wines that are not distributed to restaurants or retailers. Paso Robles legend John Munch is the head winemaker leading the way, taking a non-interventionist approach to winemaking. Le Cuvier offers tastings Thursday – Monday for $25 (waived with wine purchases), and all of their tastings at their stunning hilltop locations are food and wine pairings, with chef-crafted hors d’oeuvres expertly paired with every wine. They do accommodate walk-ins, but for larger groups of six and up you’ll want to make a reservation.
Tablas Creek Vineyard: When it comes to winemaking in Paso Robles, Tablas Creek is a really special vineyard that has pioneered a lot of Paso’s wine history. Considered to be the sibling winery of southern Rhône estate Château de Beaucastel in Châteauneuf du Pape, the late Robert Haas partnered with the Perrin family to import vines and grow them in Paso, aiming to produce Rhône-style wines that were previously unavailable in California. They made the decision to start a vine nursery program and make these vines available to other winemakers in the Paso Robles area. Over the years of 1993 – 2003, Tablas Creek produced over 1,000,000 vine grafts, selling the plant cuttings to other wine producers and really driving Paso Robles’ growth in Rhône-style wines, helping to put Paso Robles wineries on the map. The cloned grape varieties that were available for purchase included varieties like Mourvèdre, Syrah, Grenache, Counoise, Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Picpoul Blanc, Vermentino, and Tannat.
We felt so lucky to get a tour from Jason Haas, Robert’s son, and Tablas Creek’s General Manager. He was so generous with his time and knowledge and we learned SO much about Paso Robles wine country history. Plus we got a really cool grafting demo from him, got to play with the vineyard dogs (how cute is Sadie??), and saw their alpacas, so I can’t think of a better way to spend an afternoon!
Epoch Estate Wines: Epoch (pronounced “epic”) is a really fabulous and beautiful spot to visit during a trip to Paso Robles. Epoch was founded in 2004, and since then has gained a reputation for small-batch, hand-crafted wines. On their two estate vineyards, Paderewski and Catapult Vineyard, they grow Rhone, Tempranillo, and Zinfandel varieties, with a dedication to making wines that are complex and delicious.
Their tasting room at the historic York Mountain property has won awards for its architecture and design (Omied was of course very excited about this from a design perspective, and I loved it too!), and it’s nestled in between Eucalyptus and Redwood trees. The property is seriously stunning. They’ve restored the old York Mountain Winery, the first winery on the central coast, using as many of the original bricks and beams as possible, and it’s become a part of their new tasting room. Epoch offers daily tastings, by appointment only.
DAOU Vineyards & Winery: DAOU‘s story is an American Dream story. The DAOU brothers Georges and Daniel left their home in Lebanon during the civil war and grew up with their family in France. Later on, they both attended UCSD, studying mathematics and engineering. The brothers eventually sold a software company that they had created, catapulting them into financial success, and allowing them to purchase what is now known as DAOU Mountain in Paso Robles.
DAOU’s winery atop the mountain at 2,200 feet is epic. The views are arguably some of the best vineyard views in California, and when you see them you might want to cancel the rest of your winery visits so you can just sit here and enjoy the scenery all day (but don’t do that, because you don’t want to miss out on the other incredible wine tastings available in Paso—just make sure to give yourself at least a couple hours here to enjoy!). DAOU offers several different tasting options, including food and wine pairings. Definitely make reservations ahead of time. They’ll their best try to accommodate walk-ins, but this is a really popular spot and is on everyone’s list of Paso Robles wineries to visit, especially on weekends.
Broken Earth Winery: Broken Earth‘s original name, Rancho Tierra Rejada, is Spanish for “land of worked earth.” In the late 19th century, the 2,500-acre ranch here was mostly grain and cattle. Now, it’s home to the vineyards that produce Broken Earth Wines. The Vineyard was established in 1973, and was one of the first large-scale producers in Paso Robles. Their winery is 100% solar-powered, producing wines that are estate-grown, and harvested in bottled all in Paso Robles.
If you’re hungry, their kitchen, La Cucina, offers small plates and pizzas. Enjoy a picnic on their patio, or relax inside in their new tasting room.
Saxum Vineyards: Saxum Vineyards is located in the Willow Creek District, and is focused on producing Grenache, Syrah, and Mataro based blends in small-batch production (5,000 – 6,000 cases per year). Saxum is one of Paso’s most highly acclaimed wineries, and they’re arguably producing some of the best wine in Paso Robles. They purposefully keep their yields low, picking fruit only at the peak of ripeness, and using a minimalist approach in their cellar. Since their vines’ roots run deep through the calcareous soil, they are able to practice mostly dry farming and rarely need irrigation.
Scheduling a visit at Saxum is difficult. They do not have a public tasting room, however Justin their winemaker will do limited seasonal tours by appointment only for members. Wine purchases can only be made by wine list members…which can have a two to three-year waitlist.
Sculpterra Winery: Dr. Warren Frankel and his family moved to Paso Robles in 1979 in search of a simpler life. They planted 20 acres of pistachios on the ranch, followed by 20 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. They then expanded the vineyard with more Cab, Zin, and Merlot, with recent additions including Cabernet Franc, Mouvedre, Petite Sirah and Viognier. They opened the tasting room in 2007, and paired their premium wines with fine art and a multi-million dollar sculpture garden, making for a unique tasting experience.
Niner Wine Estates: Niner’s Estate is just stunning, and we loved our Sunday brunch at their restaurant! Niner‘s family-run company makes estate-grown wines from three vineyards in Paso. Their tasting room is open daily and the floor-to-ceiling windows offer gorgeous views of their Heart Hill Vineyard. Farmed from a total of 223 acres across three different vineyards in Paso Robles and Edna Valley (Bootjack Ranch in the Geneseo District, Heart Hill Vineyard in the Willow Creek District, and Jespersen Ranch in Edna Valley), Niner Estates makes all their wine in their LEED Certified Winery at Heart Hill Vineyard.
Tobin James Cellars: I love the story of how Tobin James Cellars started because it was a bit happenstance. In 1987, Tobin was an assistant winemaker and asked the owner of the winery if he could have six tons of grapes that were going to go unused. The owner replied, “Sure kid, knock yourself out,” and a year and a half later, Toby started winning gold medals for his first zin, the 1987 Blue Moon.
After making wines at another local winery and selling them at a wine shop in town for a few years, Toby scraped together a down payment for a historic piece of land out on Highway 46. There, he built Tobin James Cellars and modeled it as an old West saloon, because why not. There, they offer daily tastings, as well as an open picnic and pet area.
Wild Horse Winery: Wild Horse Winery was named for the wild mustangs that roamed the hills of their vineyard estate. The founder, Ken Volk, picked the location for its soils and rustic vibe. The location at the midpoint of the Central Coast is ideal for sourcing fruit from vineyards north and south of the winery, and the varieties of soil composition and microclimates give them the opportunity to cultivate the same varietal in a wide range of growing conditions, contributing to Wild Horse Winery‘s approach to multi-vineyard sourcing. They seek to grow the same varietal in different terroirs, carefully blending the individual lots, amounting to a variety in flavors.
Ok, thanks for letting me geek out over all of these incredible Paso Robles wineries. Like I said, we’re already planning our next trip back, so if you’ve been what’s some of the best wine in Paso Robles that you’ve had? I’d love to add to my list!
Planning a trip to Paso? Don’t forget to check out my other Paso Robles guide
Paso Robles has many incredible wineries, but some of the best ones are L’Aventure, JUSTIN, Adelaida, Le Cuvier, and Halter Ranch.
Paso Robles is known for its Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône-style wines.
There are over 260 wineries in Paso Robles.
Have a spa day, visit Hearst Castle, visit some of the smaller museums in Paso, or go olive oil tasting.