If you’re looking for your next wine tasting excursion that doesn’t include the Napa or Sonoma, Paso Robles is calling your name. Located about 200 miles south of San Francisco, Paso Robles has made a name for itself primarily because of its award-wines, but also because it offers a historic downtown, delicious restaurants, and breathtaking views around each corner. With 200+ wineries, the options may seem a little overwhelming, so we've compiled our top 7 wineries the offer the best views around. Now all that's left to do is get there...and get ready to soak up the wine and soak in the beauty that surrounds you.
Photo Credit: Niner Wine Estates
Daou brothers created a little slice of Napa in the hills of Paso Robles Westside, but with much better views. Park at the bottom of the hill (unless you are a club member) and you will be whisked to the top of the mountain in an air-conditioned Mercedes mini-bus. DAOU wines are not cheap, but the quality rivals the best of Napa. The view at Daou is unparalled - creating the perfect place to soak in the incredible scenery as you savor their spectacular wine. Pictures are unable to truly reflect the beauty of this place, which means...you'll have to go in and see it for yourself!
Until the arrival of DAOU, Calcareous had the #1 view in Paso. To visit, you will need to drive up winding roads and climb (in your car) the steep hill to get to this limestone plateau, but it is definitely worth it. Bring your picnic basket to enjoy a food and wine experience or just simply take your yourself and sip, relax and watch hawks flying above this expansive property. Calcareous has a nice variety of wines using grapes from both warmer Paso Robles and cooler York Mountain (high elevation and just 7 miles from the ocean).
3. Le Cuvier
Le Cuvier offers yet another breathtaking hilltop view overlooking the the mountain ridge to the north of the town, and so close to downtown Paso Robles. With a name that variously translates from the French as “little barrel room, Le Cuvier's philosophy is small production (meager 3600 cases) and non-intervention by utilizing native yeasts, dry-farmed fruit and neutral barrel aging . It is also first Paso winery to offer food pairings as part of the standard tasting.
Just off Hwy 46, Croad offers spectacular view of the Templeton Gap hills and vineyards across the road. The owners hail from New Zealand, so you might be lucky to arrive just in time for a "Kiwi Hour", which means 50% off the wine by the glass. Croad is a popular wedding destination as well, so for all of you looking for the perfect spot to say "I do".... look no further. In addition to the winery, they also have an inn located on the property, creating an true destination within Paso Robles' beautiful wine country.
Niner's Heart Hill is one of the most photographed places in Paso Robles. The name tells it all: vineyard hill with a tree patch shaped as a heart. Is there a better place for a wedding proposal or celebration? The wines are spectacular too, coming from both the West and East side of Paso Robles, as well as estate Jaspersen Ranch Vineyard in coastal Edna Valley. They are also one of the 2 vineries here that make Carmenere, but it sells out fast. They also have a well-regarded restaurant on the property, serving lunch Th-Su 12-3 so visiting around lunch time to savor both the wine and food is highly recommended.
6. Halter Ranch
This winery is not on the hilltop, but there is something majestic about it' pastoral settings. Halter Ranch facilities are brand new and blend extremely well into the surrounding vineyard and tree-covered hills just off Adelaide Road. They focus on Rhone varietals, but you will also find some other gems, like Tannat. Come on Saturday or Sunday to catch their complimentary winery and cave tours, offered several times a day. It gets busy, however, so be sure to make reservations in advance.
7. Pear Valley
The Eastside of Paso provides majestic rolling hills, studded by oak trees and covered by vineyards. Pear Valley has one the best views on the East Side, best viewed from their stunning 'wedding pad'. This family owned winery and vineyards offers a variety of wines including various reds, whites, dessert and port-style, as well as reserve. But the only way to snag these wines, outside of their website, is to savor and purchase on the property - so head over and get tasting!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Data Scientist by day, walking-and-talking wine encyclopedia after hours. Over the years, I have visited hundreds of wineries, from Niagara Peninsula, to France, to South Africa, finally settling on beautiful California Central Coast, home of such up-and coming appellations as Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Rita Hills and Santa Lucia Highlands. Officially in love with the land, people and sun.