Consider coming to town during one of the several wine-oriented festivals held in and around Paso Robles each year. The biggest is the Paso Robles Wine Festival (www.pasowine.com/events/winefestival.php, $55–125), which happens over the third weekend of May each year. The central event of the festival, the Outdoor Wine Tasting, happens on Saturday in the Paso’s downtown city park.
More than 80 wineries bring out their wares, making it fabulously easy to find your favorites and learn about some new vintners in the region. In addition to the central tasting, most Paso wineries keep their tasting room doors open, offering tours, special tastings, food pairings, winemakers, and more.
A recent addition to the festival, a golf tournament held on the festival weekend brings golfers from all over out for a round in the perfect Central Coast spring weather. Buy your tickets for the wine festival and the golf tournament well in advance; both events always sell out.
At the other side of the year, the Harvest Wine Tour Weekend (www.pasowine.com/events/harvest.php) celebrates the changing foliage of the grapevines and the frantic rush to bring in the grapes and start the juices fermenting. Nearly 100 wineries throughout Paso put on events during the third weekend of October.
Check with your favorites to learn what’s coming this year. You might want to sign up early for a cooking class, or just show up to join in on some messy but fun grape stomping. If you’re lucky, you might even get to take a tour of a winemaking facility in full furor, and learn a bit about how your favorite vintages are made.
As with the spring Wine Festival, it’s a good idea to book your room and make your plans early for the Harvest Tour—the event has become quite popular with wine aficionados across the state and beyond.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition