Two weekends ago Luke and I ventured up to Paso Robles for the weekend to celebrate our friend Devin’s birthday. The weekend was wonderful. Devin rented a large house where 20 of us stayed and we enjoyed delicious home-cooked Italian food. I’d always known that Paso Robles was a great place to go for wine, but I had no idea how beautiful and unique the wineries are, and how many there are throughout the area.
We only had time to go tasting on Saturday, and we were able to make it to three different wineries with our group of 20. We had expert advice on which three wineries to go to from our friend’s dad who is a wine enthusiast.
Our first stop was Tobin James, which immediately scored high in my book because tastings were FREE and they had all different types of wine, including sparkling and dessert, which are often hard to find when you are tasting. The decor of the winery was also very unique, which I liked, and judging by the photos on the walls and a sign detailing a wine club cruise, it appears as if Tobin James has successfully made their wine into a lifestyle for their club members. My boyfriend, who usually likes vibrant reds which are too strong for me, loved their chocolate-y dessert wine so much that we almost drove 15 minutes out of our way on Sunday to get it before heading back to LA. This place would have been perfection for me had they accepted American Express.
Chumeia, our second winery was just down the road from Tobin James. I really liked this winery also. It had a very family feel to it and the winery mascots, a dog and cat, were lounging around the tasting area. Chumeia charged a fee, but had lots of different wines out to taste and it was a more intimate setting where we were learning about the wines from the wine makers, which was really cool. They also had a grape stomping pool set up, which was a big hit with our group. I bought a bottle of their 2005 Silver Nectar. I have yet to open it, but I’m looking forward to it.
Our final winery of the day was probably my least favorite. In fairness to Opolo, it was the most hyped of the wineries we visited, so I guess it makes sense. We went to Opolo expecting to get their delicious barbecue lunch. By the time we arrived, a flat tire and gas station stop later, we had missed lunch and just had to do tastings. One thing I did like was that the vines were right where we were tastings, so it had the most authentic* feel of any of the wineries we visited. *Authentic being the way I imagine wineries are in Napa Valley, including a long driveway, vines everywhere, etc.
I really enjoyed Paso Robles, I just wish it weren’t such a far drive from L.A. I hope we will have another chance to explore the wineries in the area.