12 Foolproof Paso Robles Wine Tasting Experiences

These favorite stops treat guests like old friends.

With nearly 300 wineries in the Paso Robles appellation, figuring out which ones to visit can be daunting. Below are a dozen tried-and-true favorites to help you make the most of your time. Some are unassuming, others luxurious, but all pour superb wines and treat guests like old friends. 

Wineries were few and far between in Paso Robles when Adelaida was established in 1981.

Adelaida Vineyards

Adelaida Vineyards occupies nearly 2,000 acres (about 180 of them vineyards) amid the Adelaida District appellation. The first wines date to 1981, but the Pinot Noir in the HMR Vineyard, one of the winery’s seven estate vineyards, was planted in 1964. (HMR is Central Coast’s oldest Pinot Noir vineyard and California’s second oldest.) Rhône whites and reds (plus a mighty-fine rosé), Zinfandel, and swoonworthy Cabernet Sauvignon from the Viking Estate Vineyard are the specialties, served in several indoor and outdoor spaces near the production facility. Adelaida is on the west side of Paso Robles. It’s best to make a reservation – same-day is usually possible on weekdays, less so on weekends.

Why go:  longstanding reputation for quality; broad range of wines; amiable hospitality.

Award-winning architecture, inviting outdoor spaces at Brecon Estate.

Brecon Estate

Welsh-born Damian Grindley, an avid caver, makes the wines for Brecon Estate, which he runs with his Australian wife, Amanda. Grindley describes his approach as “Paso-centric,” which is to say he emphasizes grape types that do well here. Brecon Estate is known for Albariño whites and Rhône and Bordeaux reds, the latter complex wines with strength but soft tannins. The tasting bar opens to a concrete patio furnished with oversized chairs and sofas shaded by umbrellas and nearby oaks. Picnic tables dot the woodsy lawn beyond the patio. The outgoing Amanda sets a welcoming tone that, along with Damian’s delectable wines, invites lingering.

Why go: complex wines with strength but soft tannins; sophisticated architecture; welcoming, laid-back setting.

Calcareous Vineyards occupies a Peachy Canyon hilltop. (Photo courtesy of the winery.)

Calcareous Vineyards

Established in 2000, Calcareous Vineyards takes its name from the lime-laden soil lacing the 442 hillside acres on which it sits. The winery’s reputation rests on bold interpretations of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and especially Rhône varietals in traditional and alternative blends. Sip them in the stone and glass tasting room; after choosing a wine proceed to the grassy picnic area, a grand Peachy Canyon perch with miles-long views.

Why go: traditional and alternative interpretations of Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Rhône varietals; a place to linger; expansive picnic area; hillside views.

View through patio arches at Daou Vineyards.

Daou Vineyards

With ample rolling hills and bona fide mountains, Paso Robles doesn’t lack for wineries with expansive views, but at elevation 2,200 feet, Daou Vineyards has some of the most spectacular ones. Named for its Lebanese American founders, brothers Georges and Daniel Daou, the winery would merit a visit for its ritzy Spanish Colonial–style tasting room and well-groomed outdoor spaces even if the wines hadn’t evolved so dramatically during the past decade. Whites include Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and the Chemin de Fleurs blend of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, and Roussanne. The Cabernet Sauvignons in the Estate, Reserve, and Patrimony tiers, successively higher in quality and price, all deliver. Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Pinot Noir rank among the diverse portfolio’s other stars. Tastings at Daou are pricier than at neighboring wineries, but most guests find the experience worth the extra cost.

Why go: dramatic wines; ritzy tasting room; spectacular views.

Epoch Estate is on the former York Mountain Winery site, the Central Coast’s oldest bonded winery.

Epoch Estate

The gifted Jordan Fiorentini creates the elegant, intelligent, mostly Rhône blends of Epoch Estate Winery. Epoch occupies the site of the Central Coast’s oldest bonded winery, formerly known as York Mountain. But the historical connections don’t stop there. Some of the winery’s grapes come from the 67-acre Paderewski Vineyard, first planted by Ignacy Jan Paderewski in the early 1920s. A celebrated pianist, composer, and Polish politician and diplomat, Paderewski became captivated by Paso Robles after experiencing a  spa cure here for arthritis in his hands. The tasting room, completed in 2017, incorporates timber, masonry, and old equipment from the original winery, reflects the past yet feels contemporary.

Why go: elegant, intelligent blends by winemaker Jordan Fiorentini; wines from historic vineyard; contemporary tasting space.

The grapes for the flagship Zinfandel at J Dusi come from a vineyard planted by her grandfather.

J Dusi Wines

Paso Robles producers in search of quality Zinfandel vie for “Dusi juice” from the decades-old vines planted by the Italian-American Dusi family in the 1920s and 1940s. The family sold all its grapes to other wineries until 2006, when fourth-generation farmer Janell Dusi set up her own operation, J Dusi Wines. Her flagship wine, an estate-grown Zinfandel, is made from grapes planted by Dante Dusi, her grandfather.

Why go: Estate Zinfandel from vines planted in 1945 by winemaker’s grandfather; upbeat staffers; casual outdoor tasting and picnic areas.

L’Aventure’s tasting room shortly after its completion in 2016. (Photo by Melissa Winchester for the winery.)

L’Aventure Winery

Winemaker Stephan Asseo describes his flagship Estate Cuvée, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Syrah, as the reason he left a successful career in the French wine business for Paso Robles. Asseo chafed under French winemaking rules that prohibit, for instance, blending Cabernet, Petit Verdot, and other Bordeaux varietals with Rhône ones such as Syrah. A bit of an iconoclast even in Paso Robles, where such combinations are not an issue, Asseo makes edgy, emphatic “crazy blends,” as he’s called them. All tastings at L’Aventure Winery, about 6 miles west of downtown off Highway 46 West (Arbor Road to Live Oak Road), are by appointment only.

Why go: cellar-worthy wines from iconoclastic French expat; adventurous blends and single-varietal wines; 100% estate-grown fruit.

Hosts at LXV Wine Lounge explain the importance of understanding a dish’s spicing when pairing food and wine.

LXV Wine Lounge

The downtown tasting room of LXV Wine is alone worth a visit for its East India–chic decor and gracious staff. The spices co-owner Neeta Mittal pairs with the wines she produces with her husband, Kunal, further elevate the experience. The hosts, sometimes Neeta herself, explain why understanding a dish’s spicing is as essential to pairing it with an appropriate wine as knowing the protein. The Mittals favor an Old World style of winemaking that emphasizes flavor but focuses on its subtler aspects instead of amplifying fruitiness. Sommeliers applaud the wines for their food-friendliness, but even solo they come across as complex, delicate, and delicious.

Why go: spice pairings; East India–chic tasting lounge; gracious staff; Old World winemaking approach.

Fieldstone tasting room at Niner Wine Estates. (Photo courtesy of the winery.)

Niner Wine Estates

The massive fieldstone hospitality center of Niner Wine Estates and the heart-shaped grove of blue oaks amid Heart Hill Vineyard catch the eyes of most travelers along Highway 46 west of U.S. 101. The barnlike building houses a restaurant that serves lunch (highly recommended) and occasionally dinner.  The winery first came to notice for Cabernet Sauvignon and the flagship Fog Catcher blend of that grape and other Bordeaux varietals. Two additional estate vineyards – one on the east side of U.S. 101 in Paso Robles, another in the Edna Valley to the south – supply more Rhône grapes plus Sangiovese, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and a few others. 

Why go: range of varietals; vineyard setting; winning restaurant.

Sixmilebridge’s Peachy Canyon tasting room.

Sixmilebridge Vineyards

Sixmilebridge Vineyards proprietors Jim and Barbara Moroney moved to the Paso Robles area from Texas, where before retiring Jim served as the publisher and CEO of the Dallas Morning News. The Moroneys grow Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and five Bordeaux red varietals at their 95-acre elevation 1,800–1,900 feet perch in Peachy Canyon. The vineyard manager, Hillary Yount, and her husband, Anthony Yount, who makes the Sixmilebridge wines (he’s also the winemaker at highly regarded Denner Vineyards), say they relish the challenge of organically farming the property’s steep limestone-laden slopes. The stars at this winery, named for Jim’s ancestral hometown in Ireland, include the Cabernet Sauvignon, the Estate Cuvée blend of Cabernet plus four other Bordeaux varietals, and the Malbec-dominant Incantation. Individually hosted tastings, often outside a contemporary stone and wood structure completed in 2020, are by appointment only.

Why go: food-friendly Bordeaux-style reds; secluded setting; acclaimed winemaker.  

The U.S.-based Haas family and the Perrin family of France’s Château de Beaucastel founded Tablas Creek Vineyard in 1989.

Tablas Creek Vineyard

The visionary founders of Paso Robles’ 120-acre Tablas Creek Vineyard focused on varietals native to southern France, particularly the southern Rhône Valley. After extensive research in the late 1980s, the U.S.-based Haas family and the Perrin family of France’s Château de Beaucastel selected a limestone-bespeckled site in what’s now called the Adelaida District. The appellation’s terrain and climate of warm days and cool nights closely mirror conditions in the French original. The number of grape types produced as single bottlings or in blends is impressive. Two favorites of wine critics are the Esprit de Tablas GSM blend of those three red grapes plus small amounts of Counoise, Vaccarese, and Cinsaut, and En Gobelet, which contains the first four and Tannat. At tastings, by appointment only (reserve a few days ahead on weekends), you can choose mixed flights or an all-white or all-red one.

Why go: pivotal role in Paso’s Rhône ascendance; lower-profile varietals; balanced, food-friendly wines.

Head trained Zinfandel vine, Pesenti Vineyard. (Photo courtesy of Turley Wine Cellars.)

Turley Wine Cellars

A mandatory stop for Zinfandel lovers, Turley Wine Cellars is known for its velvety smooth, exquisitely crafted single-vineyard wines from old-vine grapes grown throughout California. Some Turley fruit thrives on certified-organic head-trained vines—freestanding, rather than in trellised rows—planted in the 1920s on the winery’s property a few miles south of Paso Robles in Templeton. On a misty late-winter morning before the year’s buds have broken, these dark, gnarly mini-trees set against the green limestone-riddled hills are a sight to behold. The wine they produce, the Pesenti Vineyard Zinfandel, also impresses. The two wines from this historic site—the other a Petite Syrah, as the winery spells it—are among several you can only taste at Turley.

Why go: velvety smooth, exquisitely crafted single-vineyard Zinfandels; noteworthy Petite Sirah wines and Cabernet Sauvignon;  outdoor tasting area.

More About Paso Robles

Where to Eat, Drink, and Sleep

Allegretto Vineyard Resort Paso Robles
Paso Robles Lodgings Cheat Sheet
Paso Robles Restaurants Cheat Sheet
Thomas Hill Organics

More About Paso Robles

Paso Robles Wine Facts
Paso Robles CAB Collective

This story first appeared online in 2017; it was most recently updated in 2023.

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