Paso Robles is home to over 200 wineries and 32,000 vineyard acres with a mircroclimate, warm days, and cool nights. The area’s heritage wine variety is Zinfandel. Wine Enthusiast magazine named this area the 2013 Wine Region of The Year. So where do we begin. First we researched the wineries via the brochures and the internet and tried to find a variety of wineries that were all a little different, not only in wines, but in architecture and unique features. We would loved to have tried some Saxum wines, whose 2010 James Berry Vineyard wine was rated number 1 in the world by Wine Spectator magazine, but they are closed to the public. Oh well. We also feel that wine tasting is very personal and the awards/ratings/reviews/etc. can be a guide but don’t rule our opinions. Kind of like RV Park and campground ratings! So here’s the list of wineries we visited.
kukkula (don’t capitalize the k) means hill in Finnish. We choose this winery due to its unique architecture including innovative materials that blend into the environment and maximize energy efficiency They farm vines, olives, and walnuts. A great little farm nestled into the hills.
Justin Vineyards “Isosceles” wine was rated one of the top 10 wines in the world in1997 by Wine Spectator. And besides that we couldn’t stop reading all about this terrific winery and their wines. A must see. They have not only a few rooms they rent out but also a Wine Society lounge along with their tasing room.
Tablas Creek Winery
A lovely setting for an organic vineyard specilizing in Rhone varietals and their use of Biodynamic techniques (using donkeys, sheep, and alpacas who feast on the winter crops and fertilize the fields). They have a lovely outdoor setting where you can sip your wine and enjoy the vineyards. They even have some vines for sale for $10. How do we get them to grow and propser in an RV?
Calcareous is an adjective meaning lime or chalky. This vineyard is set in the western most part of the Paso Robles AVA which is highly regarded for growing grapes. The vineyards and tasting room are set up on a hill affording fabulous views. The tasting room was lovely and the staff could not have been nicer. AND we met a nice new friend, Salty! Seems the winery employs two canines. We spotted Salty lying under a tree in the shade, obviously on a break. He followed us around a bit. We love this place and their Zin is to die for!!
We noticed this winery had quite a bit of art from outdoor sculptures to indoor paintings. Combining the love of art and enjoying wine suits us perfectly. John Jagger and Dale Evers are responsible for the sculptures which are well worth viewing as is the detail on the gate as you enter the vineyard. A beautiful tasting room, fine wines, and cheese/crackers and other items are for sale.
This winery jumped out at us because of several reasons, one being their wine, the next being the close proximity to Wine Country RV Park, and the third being the free tours offered every half hour. through their caves No need dto make a reservation or an appointment and find yourself running or hurrying to meet your schedule. You just pop on over and get the tour and see their lovely caves.
Beyond that there are more wineries than we can possible visit probably in our life time.
Guess we will just have to return. Did I mention we had fabulous weather, it could not be any better. Just like they say, warm days and cool nights.
San Simeon – Heart Castle
We have been in the desert throughout the winter and my heart was aching to get back to the water and the pine trees so we decided to head over the coast for a litle daytrip. It is only about 20-30 minutes from Paso Robles to the coast so off we went. We decided to head on over to Hearst Castle to get some decorating ideas for our new castle (wink, wink…). It was just before the holiday weekend so no crowds were to be seen yet and alas, no reservations required. We arrived just in time for a tour and had plenty of time to view the movie afterwards.
San Simeon – Elephant Seal Rookery
Just about 4 miles north of Heart Castle is the elephant seal rookery where you can visit and witness hundreds (and maybe more) of the elephant seals who call this beach home during the winter months for nesting, breeding, and mating. Apparently February is the peak time for mating and boy did we see (and hear) a lot of mating. Not only is hte female having to nurse but she is busy fending off the males. She never gets a break!