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Paso Robles: A Sip Through Time

Wed, Apr 03, 24
Nestled halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles is a gem on California's Central Coast, celebrated for its thermal springs, beautiful landscapes, and, most notably, its vibrant wine culture.

Let's uncork the story of Paso Robles, a region that's as rich in history as it is in the wines it produces.


The story of Paso Robles' wine industry is as layered as a classic Austin Hope Cabernet Sauvignon.

Before it became known for its vineyards, the area was home to the Salinan Native Americans, who were the original stewards of the land. The name "Paso Robles" translates to "The Pass of the Oaks," a nod to the majestic trees that dot the landscape.

The official wine journey began in the late 18th century with the Spanish missionaries, who planted the first grapevines. Even though there were earlier wineries and vineyards in Los Angeles, it wasn't until the 1880s that the region's wine potential began to blossom, thanks to a visionary named Andrew York, who planted Zinfandel vines on what would become the Epoch Estate Winery. These early efforts laid the groundwork for the flourishing wine industry that would follow.

Prohibition and Persistence

Like much of the United States, Paso Robles' wine growth faced a formidable roadblock during Prohibition. Vineyards were uprooted, and barrels were dry, but the resilient spirit of Paso Roblans couldn't be dampened. Many vineyard producers switched to almond and apple orchards to survive, while a few brave souls continued winemaking in secret, ensuring that the wine-making tradition would endure through the dry years.

Wine could still be made for medicinal purposes and religious ceremonies.

The Renaissance: From Dust to Decanters

The true renaissance of Paso Robles wine came in the 1960s and '70s, with pioneers like Dr. Stanley Hoffman and Gary Eberle recognizing the region's potential for premium wine production. They experimented with a variety of grapes, from Pinot Noir to Syrah, and found that the region's diverse climate and soil were ideal for a wide range of varietals. Justin Baldwin followed as did many more boutique winemakers.
Today's Paso Robles

Fast forward to today, and Paso Robles is a veritable wine wonderland, boasting over 200 wineries and 40,000 vineyard acres. The region is renowned for its innovative spirit and a sense of camaraderie among winemakers. the Daou family have invested in amazing property and project, recently sold to Treasury Estates. Austin Hope produces wines of consistent style and there are so many hand-crated wines coming out now. From robust Zinfandels and Rhone style wines to elegant Bordeaux blends, Paso Robles reflects the creativity, diversity, and history of this unique area.

Paso Robles has also become a hot spot for wine tourism, offering everything from luxurious wine resorts to intimate tasting rooms. In fact, the annual wine festival, held in the town square, is a definite 'bucket-list' experience. The area's wineries are known for their warm hospitality, often with the winemakers themselves pouring glasses and sharing stories with visitors.

As we swirl, sniff, and sip our way through the wines of Paso Robles, we're not just tasting the fruits of the vine; we're savoring the history and heart of a region that has weathered challenges and emerged as a leader in California wine production. Paso Robles is a testament to the idea that with a little patience, perseverance, and a lot of passion and research, the possibilities are as boundless as the rolling hills on which its vines grow.

Come taste some of the wines at our upcoming "Westfield River Wine Festival" or stop by the shop to find some Paso Robles gems. Contact us if you would like a mixed case of different wines from this great region.
By Carlo Bonavita