This guest-post comes to us from Mira Advani Honeycutt , of the Los Angeles Mumbai Sister City Affiliation and author of California’s Central Coast, The Ultimate Winery Guide: From Santa Barbara to Paso Robles .
I discovered Paso Robles five years ago, while researching my book on Central Coast wines – and I fell in love with the town. As a result, my husband and I ended up buying our wine country getaway, Cabernet Cottage in downtown Paso.
Paso is enjoyable in all its seasons, but summer is special – when the historic town square comes alive with festivals. On July 12th is the Lavender Festival followed by the Olive Festival on August 21st showcasing more than 30 different olive oils from Central Coast.
On Friday nights, the locals picnic in the park for free enjoying evening concerts and the Shakespeare festival from July 9- August 14. If you’re into agriculture and livestock then check out the Mid-State Fair (July 21-August 1) held at the fairgrounds, a few blocks from the town square.
Although summer days are hot and the temperature can hit high 90s (evenings cool down to 60s), there are ways to beat the heat – with a scoop of gelato at Powell’s and iced latte at Amsterdam’s Coffee. Then there are summer’s refreshing wines at tasting rooms in downtown. Taste the roses at Anglim, the aromatic viognier at Orchid Hill and crisp white Rhone blends at Kiamie. If you’re a fan of red, savor Christian Lazo’s complex cabernet franc, the plumy syrah at Arroyo Robles and luscious Rhone blends at Edward Sellers.
The cozy Vinoteca bar offers a good selection of wine flights and delicious tapas. Across the park, Meritage tasting room showcases six local wineries.Try the ruby red cabernet sauvignon of HammerSky and the crisp dry roussanne at Line Shack.
And for some heavenly local food, visit Thomas Hill Organic for the best thin crust pizzas – cooked in the alfresco wood burning oven by owner Joe Thomas. The restaurant’s produce comes from the family’s organic farm nearby. Then there’s French faire at Bistro Laurent, early California cooking at Villa Creek, modern cuisine at Artisan and American wine country dishes at Matthew’s (my favorite is quail roasted in grape leaves).
A trip to Paso is not complete without visiting wineries along highway 46 east and west. So hop on the Wine Wrangler’s van and check out the rest of Paso’s wine country charm.