I have always enjoyed wine tasting and make a point of visiting nearby wine regions a few times each year. Usually I go to Temecula since it is less than a hundred miles away from where I live, but since I know that area so well, I have been itching to visit other places. While I love Napa and Sonoma, I avoid those destinations for two reasons: 1) both treks are a bit too far for me to make an easy drive, and 2) the wine tasting fees, wines, and lodging out there are outrageously expensive. Yes, the wines up there are phenomenal, but I am not about to go into the poorhouse for the sake of wine tasting up there.
Last week we visited Paso Robles for a three day getaway, and were determined to explore the central portion of the wine tasting region there. I hadn’t been to Paso Robles for close to ten years, so the experience felt relatively new to me. On Friday we visited one winery (Falcon Nest) which we knew stayed open later than the others, and ended up having a lovely conversation with the winemaker there. After our evening wine tasting, we drove into town and had a quick bite to eat, then headed back to the very comfortable and charming bed and breakfast inn where we were staying (Union Road Guesthouse).
We had planned to visit as many wineries as we possibly could the following day, but since the wineries we wanted to visit were only open from 11-5, we didn’t have much time to do wine tastings. We started our wine tour at Glunz Family Winery without any expectations, so we certainly didn’t expect their Bernese Mountain Dog Jenga to literally run towards our car as we pulled up to the winery! With such a great beginning to our visit to Glunz, we knew we were in for a great experience. I was so impressed with Glunz wines that I not only bought a bottle of Grenache Blanc and a bottle of Zin, I also became a member of their wine club, which is something I typically avoid.
We spent about an hour at Glunz, then continued our wine tasting by heading to Hug Cellars/Bodega De Edgar, not realizing that there were two other wine tasting rooms right next door (Paydirt and Brochelle). We met the second dog of the day at Paydirt, a funny little dog named Max. We also tasted a nice zin there which we ended up purchasing. By the time we left the three winery cluster, we were starving so we got something to eat, then resumed our wine tasting tour, visiting Barr, Clautierre, Pear Valley, Steinbeck (and our third dog of the day, Lola), and PasoPort. We paid another visit to Falcon Nest before heading back to the inn, then had dinner at a steakhouse in town.
By Sunday, we had pretty much had our fill of wine, but I just couldn’t resist going for one more tasting at Glunz, since the wines were so fantastic there. Our second visit there resulted in the purchase of their Mission Angelica Port, which is rich with butterscotch and caramel flavors. Seriously WOW.
Overall, I would HIGHLY recommend visiting the Paso Robles area for wine tasting. The quality of the wines there is exceptional, the area is filled with charm, and there are plenty of great restaurants and bed and breakfast inns there (though we highly recommend Union Road Guesthouse).