My Itchy Travel Feet | The Baby Boomer's Guide To Travel

Visit Paso Robles for Wine Tasting and So Much More

2010/04/27by Donna Hull

Steinbeck Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles, California

The view from Steinbeck Vineyards and Winery

California wine tasting, fine dining and a couple of active adventures thrown in for good measure. Is this your idea of travel fun? If you think that this article is going to be about visiting the wine country of Napa or Sonoma, you are wrong. While both are worthy wine destinations, I want to introduce you to central California, where wine, food, history and ranching culture combine to make a western blend of wine travel fun when you visit Paso Robles.

Alan and I stopped in Paso Robles at the beginning of a coastal California sports car road trip. With the luxury boutique hotel, La Bellasera, as our headquarters, we spent four days exploring the area. What did we find?

Wine tasting at Paso Robles Wine Centre

Wine tasting at Paso Wine Centre

Wine Tasting

With more than 200 wineries located in Paso Robles, enthusiasts will find it impossible to visit every one. How do you choose? We started in the heart of the city at Paso Wine Centre. The plan? Sample a few wines, then route an itinerary based on the wineries that we liked.

Zipping around in a sports car on curvy Adelaida Road is a fun way to explore the wineries on the west side of town. The scenic drive also makes an interesting bicycling adventure. In the tasting rooms of the boutique and family owned wineries that you’ll visit, the person pouring the wine might very well be the winemaker or vineyard owner. Listening to his or her passion for developing a fine wine will add to your understanding of the winemaking process.

Now that you’ve heard about winemaking, it’s time to learn about grape cultivation. On a visit to Paso’s east side wineries, save time for the Crash Course at Steinbeck Wines. Cindy Newkirk, a fifth generation grower, shares her family’s knowledge, experience and history in Paso Robles.

The Food Scene

If you’re looking for locally produced food, raised with care and served with flair, this is the place. Experience a lively Saturday morning at the farmer’s market in Paso Robles City Park. Browsing the fresh produce will make you want to stop in for lunch at Thomas Hill Organics Market Bistro and Wine Bar, located just a few blocks down the street from the farmer’s market. The innovative dishes that are on the menu focus on the organically raised produce served fresh from the Thomas Hill Farm.

Gourmands will find any number of choices for dinner. We enjoyed dining on seasonally inspired dishes from Artisian, located in downtown Paso. For a quiet dinner, the patio at Enoteca at La Bellasera Hotel and Suites can’t be beat.

Mission San Antonio de Padua

Mission San Antonio de Padua

Mission History

Spanish conquistadors and Franciscan missionaries introduced grape growing to the region in 1797. You can still see the fermentation vats at Mission San Miguel a few miles north of Paso Robles. Combine the visit into a day trip with a drive to Mission San Antonio de Padua located on Fort Hunter-Ligget Army Base. The beautiful drive provides a rest from all that wine tasting unless you brought a bottle along to accompany the picnic lunch from DiRaimondos Italian Market.

Cowboy Culture

With ranching a prominent part of Paso’s history, there’s no better place to learn about the cowboy life than Harris Stage Lines. Tommy and Debby Harris are committed to keeping the cowboy culture alive through various horsemanship and entertainment programs. On our visit, Alan learned how to drive a stagecoach. Wait till you see the video.

Rejuvenating Waters

Since its early history, Paso Robles has been known for hot springs and mud baths. Lodging guests in the Deluxe Spa rooms at Paso Robles Inn have access to the famous waters. Or, plan a day of rejuvenation at River Oaks Springs Spa where you can soak inside or out in the mineral hot springs tubs.

Read the entire collection of Coastal California Road Trip articles. Boomer fun guaranteed.

Did you visit Paso Robles on a California road trip? Post a comment to tell us about your favorite activity. Since we didn’t have time to try everything, we’ll add your suggestions to the list for our return trip to Paso.

Discolsure: This travel experience was provided by the Travel Paso Alliance

A boomer travel and lifestyle authority who is exploring the world one activity at a time. Besides writing and publishing My Itchy Travel Feet, she also writes about boomer travel for My Well-Being Powered by Humana, Make It Missoula and is the author of New Mexico Backroads Weekend Adventure.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Donna Hull
April 27, 2010 at 8:50 am

Thanks for sharing a link to our article. Can’t wait to return to your part of the country.


April 28, 2010 at 4:59 am

What a great idea to go to the wine center first to sample wines and then choose your itinerary! I used to live in San Francisco and Napa was a common trip, however Pasa Robles looks lovely – would love to get there!


lawilliej April 28, 2010 at 6:04 am

We have been going to Paso for many years. The Far West wineries are my favorites. I still am a member of the Justin and Tablas Creek wine clubs. Even though they are pretty far out of the core city, they are well worth the the trip. I just recently reviewed my last trip to Paso on my blog at


pen4hire April 30, 2010 at 2:56 am

Boy, you surely make it sound inviting! I've been through that area, but didn't spend as much time there as you did. Or didn't eat as much!


Donna Hull
May 6, 2010 at 4:46 am

We didn't make it out to the Far West wineries but hope to next time.


Sanchin February 21, 2012 at 11:47 am

Sure sound interesting—I been Napa Paso Robles quite different
Will definitely on top of my list


Donna Hull
February 21, 2012 at 3:18 pm

Thanks for commenting, Sanchin. Hope you’ll enjoy a Paso Robles visit soon.


brandy bell
December 23, 2012 at 7:54 am

I was born and raised in Paso Robles! Naturally enough, I worked in the wine industry for several years before starting as a permanent nomad. One of the things I miss most about life abroad is cuddling up with a great bottle of Paso Robles wine… ahhh, thanks for the sweet reminder of home :)
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Donna Hull
December 28, 2012 at 7:54 am

The Paso Robles area is home to some great wines. I bet you could recommend many of them to us.


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