Narrowing down the best Paso Robles wineries was difficult without establishing parameters. The number one parameter for making my list was the “complete” experience. This includes the best wine, the best informative tasting experience, and the beauty and comfort of the winery.
What makes a winery “the best” in a region with over 300 wineries? I owned the first farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Paso Robles, Thomas Hill Organics, for 14 years and have a discerning palette, but this is still difficult to answer.
Bigger is not always better. So many fantastic boutique wineries make renowned wines. I did not go to the wineries that only had “tasting” rooms. I will explore those in the future. Tough job, wine-tasting in scenic glorious Paso!
The main criterion, of course, is the wine. The quality of wine is affected by the soil, winemaking techniques, and climate. There are over 11 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) in the area, each identified by different microclimates.
The AVAs considered to produce the best Rhone wines are the Adelaida District and the Willow Creek District due to their calcareous soil and cool climate. However, if you are a Bordeaux fan, the Eastside of Paso has a warmer climate and well-drained soil, particularly good for growing fuller-bodied wines with big fruit flavors.
Everyone’s palette is different, allowing for 300-plus wineries with many different varietals. The wine must be balanced for my palette, a quality of certification. What’s the best wine? The one you like, of course!
After visiting numerous wineries to complete this article, I realized that the tasting staff makes the experience what it is or isn’t. We had some incredible tasting experiences on our journey to find the best. Reservations are recommended at all of the Paso Robles wineries.
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The 13 Best Paso Robles Wineries
I joined my first wine club at Tablas Creek Vineyard twenty years ago. As one of the pioneers of the California Rhone movement, they introduced nine different grape varietals into the United States. Tablas Creek Vineyard is the first local vineyard to be certified Biodynamic and the first anywhere to be Regenerative Organic, making them both innovative and unique.
Tablas Creek is focused on education for their guests and as a resource to other members of the wine community. You will find camaraderie amongst all of the Paso Robles wineries, making for a great collaboration.
Sitting on 120 acres, the winery itself is welcoming and relaxing. They have a lovely outdoor patio surrounded by vineyards. Their tasting room is warm and inviting.
They produce Rhone-style wines using grape varieties traditionally grown in the Rhone Valley of Southeastern France. The warm days and cool nights allow their grapes to develop complex flavors. The wines are full-bodied, rich in flavor, and well-balanced.
The staff at Tablas Creek is knowledgeable and friendly, providing an outstanding educational wine-tasting experience.
I am a fan of their flagship blends. They are propagated from budwood from the Chateau de Beaucastel estate in France, Esprit de Tablas, and Esprit de Tablas Blanc. The grapes are selected from the top 15% to 20% of the estate-grown lots.
Exceptional winery to enjoy great wine in a tranquil atmosphere.
2815 Live Oak Road Paso Robles, CA 93446 +18052271588
Located in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles, L’Aventure produces high-quality Bordeaux blends. Owner Stephan Asseo has been making wine for over 30 years. He is well known for his expertise in blending Bordeaux varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot.
L’Aventure has limited production but superior quality. Stephan is meticulous with details when crafting his wines. They are multifaceted and rich, conveying a taste of the terroir.
A fun fact, Stephan was considered a rebel in France. He wanted to make blends to enhance the taste of the wines, which went against the French tradition. This taste for adventure led to the winery’s name, L’Aventure.
With its rustic and elegant design, the winery sits upon a hill overlooking the vineyard. The building connects to their underground caves.
You can enjoy a wine-tasting experience on the fully covered patio or in their expansive tasting room. They offer elevated experiences, including a cave tasting. You begin with a glass of champagne and then to a seated tasting in Stephan’s private library inside the caves.
L’Aventure refers to their tasting staff as “Estate Educators” since they provide you with in-depth knowledge on each of the six wines poured. You can feel and taste their passion.
L’Aventure’s flagship wines, the Estate Cuvee 2019 and the Estate Cuvee 2020 are drinkable now but are meant to be aged. I am a big Rose fan, and their 2021 Rose is made in the French style, crisp and dry.
1825 Las Tablas Road Templeton, CA 93465 +18054001616
I pulled up to Guyomar Wine Cellars and was immediately enamored by the spectacular 360-degree view. Steep hillsides and vineyards as far as you can see, with beautiful spacious homes dotting the landscape.
I walked around and around until Ishka, the owner, rescued me from my daze. Ishka Stanislaus, the owner-winemaker, is a true farmer. I was treated to a one-on-one tasting and learned a great deal about the terroir and farming grapes the right way.
Guyomar Wine Cellars is in the Willow Creek AVA with its calcareous soil and 40-degree temperature swings. The vines are dry-farmed, with roots reaching down 35 feet to reach the water. Guyomar’s wines are “vineyard” driven and not manufactured.
The wines are blends of Syrah, for its backbone and structure, Grenache, for the fruit base and whimsy, and Mourvedre for the acidity. Guyomar’s wines were balanced with great structure and perfect balance. The vineyard speaks for itself.
The 2017 Monsignor, a blend of Petite Sirah/Syrah/Zinfandel/Grenache, was robust but slid off the palette in a silky smooth manner. Although I was very impressed with Ishka’s perfectly structured red blends, I am a sucker for a Provence style rose. His Rose of Grenache was my kind of rose, luscious with a mineral finish and perfect acidity.
DAOU Vineyards is in the Adelaida District on what locals call “DAOU Mountain.” It is the highest point in Paso Robles, with spectacular panoramic views of Paso and our wine country.
DAOU is first on my list for achieving all three criteria: exceptional wine, an impeccable tasting experience, and the ambiance leaving a lasting impression.
They spared no expense on this winery. Mediterranean design with high ceilings, elegant décor, beautifully carved wood furniture, leather seating, and arched doorways. There is a large tasting room and numerous outdoor seating areas. I try to sit outside to enjoy the panoramic views of Paso Robles wineries and vineyards and beyond.
DAOU set the standard for Paso Robles wineries for outstanding customer service. Their staff is highly knowledgeable about each wine, the grape varietal, the location of the vines, and the story behind their wine. They all have stories with regard to the DAOU family.
DAOU winery is committed to producing high-quality Bordeaux wines and has received multiple accolades. Their flagship wine, Soul of a Lion, is made with hand-selected estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It is full-bodied and rich with dark fruit flavors. It showcases the terroir of the region.
I believe DAOU’s pursuit of excellence has put Paso Robles on the map.
The view at Clos Solene is captivating in its natural beauty. Rolling vineyards and abundant beauty portray a French countryside, with an elegant tasting room that exudes comfort and warmth. This is my favorite place to relax and enjoy some of the best wines in Paso Robles.
Located in the Willow Creek District, with its cool nights and warm days, not to mention diverse soils, Clos Solene produces Rhone varietals such as Syrah, Grenache, and Roussanne. Although their production is limited to 5,000 cases a year, their wines are exceptional.
Owner, Guillaume, is meticulous in his winemaking, using both artisan and traditional winemaking techniques. I wish I could narrow down my favorite Clos Solene wines, but they are all exceptional. The Harmonie, a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Syrah, is a full-bodied wine with elegant tannins paired beautifully with many of our dishes at my restaurant.
You will learn about Guillaume’s wine-making process, from his philosophies to his practices, while enjoying barrel samples showcasing different vineyard blocks.
Clos Solene has three tasting experiences to choose from. I love all three, but for an educational and exclusive experience book “A Taste of the Terroir.” It’s a private guided tour with the owner, Guillaume, of the terroir on his 27-acre property.
840 13th St, Paso Robles, CA 93446, United States +18052963000
In addition to their downtown tasting room, Copia Vineyards recently opened a winery in the Adelaida District of Paso Robles. They are considered a boutique winery producing 2,000 cases annually. They have a lovely indoor tasting room and a patio when weather permits.
“Copia” is taken from the Latin word abundance or plenty. Anita and Varinder Sahi’s wines certainly deliver an abundance of premium winemaking. The winery is modern-minimalist yet warm and comfortable.
They produce primarily red Rhone blends, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre. The wines are full-bodied with a weighty mouthfeel. I found their flagship wine, the “Source,” a Syrah, Mourvèdre, Grenache, velvety with medium tannins.
The wine-tasting experience at their Adelaida District Estate was memorable. We had a very warm welcome with personalized attention. I had a deeper appreciation and enjoyment of their wine after visiting. It was also a chance to unwind, relax and enjoy!
Epoch Winery is located on the historic York Mountain, which has a history of winemaking dating back to the 1880s. Their vineyards span some 700 acres, farmed using sustainable and organic practices. They are considered a boutique winery producing 6,500 cases annually.
Epoch Winery is in the Willow Creek District AVA, known for its warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters. This is ideal for growing high-quality Rhone-style wines.
The tasting room, a restored 19th-century farmhouse, is rustic and industrial, adding to the overall experience. Epoch was voted the #2 winery around the world in 2018 by Architectural Digest. A picturesque view of the vineyards adds a relaxing and cozy ambiance.
The staff is knowledgeable about the wines and the history of York Mountain. Did you know York Mountain was its own AVA? We had a personalized wine-tasting experience with ample time to ask questions.
With a minimal winemaking philosophy, Epoch produces wines expressive of the grapes and the soil. Their wines are well-balanced and elegant. My favorite wine was the 2018 Block, a 100% Syrah. This is a must try amongst the Paso Robles wineries.
2644 Anderson Road Paso Robles, California +18052377367
Booker stands out in the many Paso Robles wineries and is known for producing innovative and distinct Rhone wines. At 6,500 cases a year, they are considered a boutique winery. They produce estate wines using traditional winemaking techniques, including hand-harvesting and open-top fermentation.
Their winery is modern and sophisticated yet has a relaxing and unpretentious atmosphere. The view from the winery is stunning, with vineyards and rolling hills as far as you can see. The tasting room is welcoming, with intimate spaces for your personalized tasting experience. Their staff is insightful and well-informed.
Booker has three unique tasting experiences, including their classic tasting. Enjoy a private outdoor lounge, scenic vineyard views, and bottles of Booker wine while playing bocce ball.
Who doesn’t love a bocce ball game!
Second, is their terrace tasting, which is the best view in the house. Last is the cave experience, where you will enjoy the founder’s library of wines while surrounded by calcareous limestone rock walls.
My favorite wine at Booker is the Fracture, a 100% Syrah, bold, complex with lots of texture.
An exquisite wine for sure!
Austin Hope Winery is in the Willow Creek AVA. Although this AVA is known for its high-quality Rhone varietals, Austin Hope is known for their Cabernet Sauvignon. They do produce other hand-crafted Rhone wines such as Syrah, Mourvèdre, and Grenache. Their Cabernet Sauvignon was one of our bestselling wines at Thomas Hill Organics.
The owner, Austin, follows traditional winemaking with some modern techniques. He incorporates sustainable and organic farming in their vineyard management.
The winery is elegant while also being warm and inviting. The tasting room has a rustic-modern vibe with large windows so you can enjoy the picturesque views of the vineyards. They have outdoor seating on the patio or in their courtyard.
There are two highlighted tastings; the Legacy Tasting and the Ultimate Cab Lover’s Tasting. Of course, I went for the Cab Lover’s Tasting just to try the different Cabs side by side. These truly express how amazing the terroir, climate, and hands-on winemaking can place Paso Robles as a top Cabernet Sauvignon producer in the United States.
Their wine educators are wine aficionados. They know the philosophy behind each wine and what makes each one unique. One of my all-time favorites is the Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2018 vintage was a shining star, full-bodied and rich with elegant tannins. It’s one of the best Paso Robles wineries.
6360 Peachy Canyon Road Paso Robles, CA 93446 +18052270107
Torrin is a boutique winery producing 2,700 cases yearly, surrounded by rolling hills and scenic vineyards. A lovely and serene setting to enjoy two hours of delicious wines. They concentrate on Rhone varietals but purchase grapes from Santa Barbara County to make Pinot Noir.
The tasting room has a simple, minimal, yet functional Scandinavian design. You can also taste on their patio, which looks out over the vineyards.
We had a very engaging experience with their wine steward. His knowledge and insight added to a fantastic tasting. It is remarkable how subtle differences amongst each Willow Creek AVA can produce different yet incredible wines.
Because Torrin has limited production, the winemaking can be very detailed, resulting in extraordinary results. Hand harvesting and hand sorting are two of the artisanal techniques they use for their carefully crafted wines.
We enjoyed all the wines, but our top two favorites were the 2020 Banshee and the 2020 Le Devoir. The Banshee is a Rhone blend of Mourvedre/Syrah/Grenache, and the Le Devoir is Syrah with a touch of Graciano. Both wines are savory and lush and can be drunk now or cellared.
3885 Peachy Canyon Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446 +18052269200
Wow, a 360-degree, breathtaking view of the hillsides and vineyards at LAW Estate. I forgot how spectacular the scenery was at this venue. The winery is located on top of a hill at an elevation of over 1,600 feet on the west side of Paso.
This is one of the Paso Robles wineries that is contemporary in design while warm and inviting. The owners met their expectations with a tasting room where you can relax with friends and enjoy excellent wines. The word “stunning” does not do it justice.
LAW grows 12 varietals on the property, producing about 7,000 cases annually. They concentrate on Rhone varietals but produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, and Graciano.
Their approach to winemaking is with minimal intervention. Their wines are handcrafted and of high quality. They have many distinct microclimates that add unique flavor profiles to the wines.
Our tasting was spectacular; we enjoyed spending time with their General Manager, Oliver Espharham. Their flagship wine is Audacious, a blend of Rhone and Bordeaux varietals. Brilliant! It’s a must visit amongst the Paso Robles wineries.
This is the largest vineyard out of all the Paso Robles wineries, with over 200 acres planted. It is one of the most scenic vineyards with its rolling hills, expansive vineyards, covered bridge, and quaint pond. When I have company in town, this winery is a must visit.
Halter Ranch wines are known for their quality. Their vineyards are in the Adelaida District AVA, with a mix of diverse soil types. This provides a foundation for many different varietals to grow.
Halter Ranch produces both Rhone-style blends and Bordeaux-style blends with a variety of white wines. They are sustainable in their winemaking, and they farm organically.
There are a few tasting experiences to choose from. You can enjoy wine by the glass or bottle in their tasting room or try one of their signature tasting menus with a seasonal farm-to-table culinary menu.
If you are adventurous, take a ride in their Land Rover. Learn the history of the Ranch and experience breathtaking scenery across the 2,700-acre ranch. Stop and enjoy a cheese and wine pairing on the ride.
I don’t want to forget about their caves. The largest wine caves on the Central Coast are located at Halter Ranch. Sign up for a tour and learn about the production facility and its sustainable winemaking while enjoying a tasting flight selected by their winemaker. It’s one of the best Paso Robles wineries.
Adelaida Vineyards is located in the Adelaida District AVA on the west side of Paso Robles. With its diverse soils, extreme slopes, and microclimates, the vineyard produces Rhone varietals and Burgundy wines such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The property sits at the second highest elevation in Paso, spreading over 1,800 acres. Adelaida Vineyards produces 12,000 cases a year. Their goal is to grow the finest fruit to make the best wine in the world.
The winery was rustic but elegant, which comes to mind when I look at my photos. I tasted on their lovely patio. The knowledgeable staff even gave me the winemaker’s e-mail to contact him directly.
Jeremy Weintraub is the winemaker and has been at Adelaida since 2012. His philosophy is that of an ecologist, “let Mother Earth do the talking.” The vineyard is certified organic, and they carry this over into the winemaking process.
The two tasting experiences I recommend are the Food & Wine and the Signature tastings. Trumpet Vine, a local catering company, creates the paired bites for the Food & Wine. Their Signature tasting focuses on signature wines complimented with cheese and charcuterie.
The Anna’s Red 2020 Rhone blend was my favorite. It has a beautiful mouthfeel, and it was creamy and luscious. Jeremy, the winemaker, added a touch of Touriga Nacional for structure.
This grape is typically used to make port.
Adelaida Winery is one of the Paso Robles wineries that creates a story in a glass. Each wine conveys its unique character through its appearance, aroma, and palette.
Paso Robles Wineries Wrap Up
Please raise a glass to these amazing wineries in Paso Robles. I missed a few, but I will certainly get to them on my next wine tasting venture.
May your wine tasting adventures be as memorable and educational as mine. Exquisite flavors, beautiful scenery, and the pleasure of discovering new and magical wineries to visit with friends and family. What is the best wine? The wine you like!
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Debbie Thomas moved to Paso Robles from Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue a slower pace of life. Midway through a career that included upper management positions with licensed apparel companies like Adidas, Rival, and Starter, she and her then-business partner started a 10-acre organic farm. Nine-hundred trees and various row crops later, she opened Thomas Hill Organics, a farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Paso Robles.
After 14 years of owning and managing a successful restaurant, she sold it to pursue her next adventure, writing. She has a passion for travel, creatively prepared food, and well-balanced wines. She enjoys sharing her experience with others.