Paso Robles Goes Big-Time with Napa-Style Hotel Development

New Paso Robles Development

Proposed Pine Street Promenade in downtown Paso Robles.

The Pine Street Promenade will fill a welcome niche in Paso Robles

Paso Robles has been primed for a big-time development downtown for sometime. The recession only postponed the inevitable. A large-scale hotel, shopping (public market) and performing arts center project that will extend the reach of downtown Paso Robles was unanimously approved by city planners this week. The Pine Street Promenade is to be built at Pine and 10th streets at the site of the old Hayward Lumber yard. The project received a 7-0 vote of approval from the city’s Planning Commission with no opposition. The performing arts centers will seat 500 and the public market is inspired by the Oxbow Public Market in Napa. The entire project is engineered to LEED standards.The second phase will include a much needed parking garage. This new jewel just a block off the square will be a welcome addition for locals as well. In fact much of the growth in the area is directly related to the burgeoning wine industry and all the delicious trappings that go with it: high-end restaurants, entertainment, art galleries, resort hotels and bed and breakfasts. Oh, and lets not forget the Beer industry! That is a subject onto itself and will have to be left for another blog. Cheers!

Tribune Full story

September 3, 2014 |

Taste Paso Robles History


Pioneering Paso Robles Wineries
Historic wineries were just getting started nearly a century ago, dry farmed and producing wine under primitive (to today’s standards) conditions. But these early settlers knew something that it took most of us another 70 years to figure out; The terroir was perfect! Paso Robles was going to be a real player in the world wine market. These wineries have link to those trailblazers either in spirit or in bloodline.  Part 1

Le Cuvier Winery
3333 Vine Hill Lane, Paso Robles (one mile west of the Lake Nacimiento/Adelaida Road intersection)
John Munch is one of only a few people I’ve met in my life that could truly be called a Renaissance Man. He is part mad-man, part genius and usually has his tongue firmly planted in cheek. The wine however, is serious and consistently delicious no matter the vintage. Wild yeasts and ideal terroir are the base that Munch gently guides to enophile perfection.  Munch is also the original winemaker/owner of Adelaida Cellars which was one of the modern wineries that showed the potential of the region. Le Cuvier is known for everything from seductive Pinot’s to ravishing Rhones and masculine Cabs.

Adelaida Cellars
5805 Adelaida Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Situated on the Westside nestled in the Santa Lucia foothills, this winery has a lot of history. Featuring the oldest Pinot Noir vineyard in the region, the famed HMR Estate vineyard. The Pinot Noir is outstanding! They also make bold Bordeaux varieties, lively Rhones and a big Zinfandel. Starting with John Munch, they have employed a roster of rock-star winemakers including current winemaker, Jeremy Weintraub.

Zin Alley Winery
3730 West Hwy 46, Templeton, CA 93465
Frank Nerelli is the grandson of Frank Pesenti who founded one of Paso Robles’ first wineries, Pesenti Winery in 1923.  The dry-farmed boutique estate vineyard features head-pruned vines which are grown in the old world tradition to produce a rich and very complex Zinfadel. Only 500 cases are created, so get the current vintage before it sells out! They also make a wonderful Zin-Port.

Wild Horse Winery
1437 Wild Horse Winery Court,Templeton, CA 93465
Wild Horse Winery was one of the first Paso Robles Appellation wineries that showcased the diverse varietals could be made well in Paso Robles. Founder, Ken Volk had a passion for Pinot Noir and it is still their flagship. The reserves and single vineyard designated wines are amazing. They also make a fine Chardonnay, but there are plenty of heirloom varieties to explore, you may find a new favorite!

May 29, 2014 |

Dare to Try a New Winery


new_wineriesRecently Opened Paso Robles Wineries Part 1
Microclimates abound in Paso Robles, as does winemaking style, tasting room offerings and architecture. Visiting wine country is not enough for some of us, we need to immerse ourselves in the business of winemaking ourselves. Not all of us make it, but these wineries have what it takes; quality and persistence to hoe the long row, vintage after vintage.

Brecon Estate
7450 Vineyard Drive, Templeton, Ca 93465
These wines are fermented in small batches. Each as an individual story to tell and is sold exclusively through our tasting room. Try the Abarino or Cabernet Franc, if they aren’t sold out!  The kids may get to meet the family dog in this beautiful setting.

Hammer Sky Vineyards
7725 Vineyard Drive, Paso Robles Ca 93446
A lovely boutique winery with a cute hundred plus year-old inn. A Bordeaux centric nearly 100% estate winery with picturesque grounds where kids ran roam the grass and explore the quartz and whale fossil encrusted rocks.

J. Dusi Wines
1401 Hwy 46 West, Paso Robles, CA 93446
Now here’s a newer winery with an old familiar name: Dusi! The Dusi family has been farming Zinfandel since 1924 and has only recently jumped into the commercial wine market. The vineyards were sought after by many big name wineries over the years so it was only fitting that a ‘Dusi’ were to bring the grapes to their highest potential. A true zin-lovers pot of gold!

Broken Earth Winery
5625 Highway 46 East, Paso Robles, Ca
This is winery is personal family favorite for the numerous complimentary live concerts they offer. There is ample ground for kids to run around in and they are sure to make new friends rolling down the grassy slopes. Nice shady picnic area and the wines are a great value.

May 29, 2014 |

Family Tips for Event Season at the Wineries


The vines are growing that grassy green first growth of the new season and that means special event season has started at the wineries! Sure, people get married at wineries, I did (and it was the best), but what I’m focusing on here are the events that are open to the public: Wine Festivals, Concerts, Cooking Demonstrations, Food and Wine Pairings, BBQ’s, Art Shows. even Plays and Melodramas. If you are lucky, you may find a winery or region that is showcasing many of these attractions on the same weekend.

20120506-b-paso-robles-wine-festivalFestivals and Concerts
Wine Festivals that are taking place at a central location are really more of an adults only event, but there is usually much going on at individual tasting rooms as well. These events sometimes cost a few dollars, but you can typically get a discount for the designated driver. Check in advance to find the wineries that are the most welcoming to kids and make the wines you prefer. Then you can pick and choose where you will eat and where you might want to stay for the live music. Many wineries have complimentary live music on the weekends. The kids really love concerts, the energy is palpable and we love to expose them to different styles of music. Get there early enough to find a spot under some shady trees. I suggest sitting near the back of the crowd. That way the kids can get loud and dance around and you won’t spend the afternoon apologizing. The businesses really appreciate the courtesy and you will have a more relaxing time of it.

Be Prepared
Always bring lots of water! Take snacks for the kids as well, you never know if they will like what is available to eat or when the caterer will run out of food. Keep some sweatshirts in the car just in case a cool breeze starts blowing off the Pacific. Hats and sunblock are mandatory at any outdoor event on the West Coast. Bring folding chairs, a blanket if the show goes into the evening. Is it picnic style? Some wineries allow you to bring your own sustenance. Just don’t bring your own wine! Speaking of, I aways buy a bottle to support the winery and if we really like it, more to take home. Remember, most wineries discount by the half and full case. I know of a few that take a little more off with a multiple case orders as well. If you are smitten, try their Wine Club. You’ll be given a heavier discount and receive wines delivered to your door (most states) several times a year.

It’s about Family Fun
          Don’t forget to stop by to make your winery event choices painless and easy. With a little pre-planning and preparation, you will create a memorable event for the whole family.

April 24, 2014 |

Paso Robles Wins Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year Award

Eberle Vineyards

A beautiful view of Eberle’s Estate vineyard in Paso Robles, Ca.

Congratulations are in order as the Paso Robles wine region has finally received the deserved recognition that many of us have acknowledged for years.

The wine region grows over forty varietals in the fifth largest American Viticultural Area in the country. Blessed with a  long growing season peppered with hot days ensures peak ripeness and the cool evenings help retain the acidity ultra premium wine grapes require. Over the past year the region has added 11 sub appellations to better reflect the variance of climate and terroir. This demarcation can greatly serve both the winemaker as he knows what grows best in what location and the consumer, so one can focus the search for a favored varietal and flavors a specific terroir imparts.

Of course we care about quality and innovation, but we will always apply the family focus to Family Friendly Wineries, in essence giving the vacationing family the chance to visit an oasis on the sometimes bumpy holiday road. When visiting a winery tasting room we want to be welcomed as potential clients and not having to feel like we are walking on eggshells. Parents have enough stress in our daily lives without accruing more on vacation! Many of the Wineries in this innovative and creative region are very appreciative of visiting families and are happy to make sure the whole of the family is entertained, not just the adult guinea pig sampling the wine. Eberle winery, mentioned in the article is one such establishment. Gary Eberle was one of the first winemakers in the state to plant Syrah when everyone else was lost in a Cabernet/Chardonnay stupor. Younger and smaller wineries, many which are members of the Garagste (renegade small-lot wine makers) are equally inviting. The Vines at the Mary Crest encapsulates this renegade spirit with zestful charm.

As with many other wine regions, Paso Robles is endowed with a plethora of delectable eateries as well as a wide range of lodging options. There is a burgeoning craft brew movement as well, but we’ll save those details for another posting.

Whether you are on a family vacation or just passing through, make Paso Robles one of your destinations or pit-stops, you’ll enjoy the quality of the hospitality the Paso Robles wine region can offer.

November 14, 2013 |

Self-Guided “Day in Wine Country” Tour Itinerary (Eastside)


Margie’s Diner
1135 24th St, Paso Robles (across from the fairgrounds)
Margie’s is a no nonsense American diner but this ain’t no Denny’s! With portions to satiate the most hearty of appetites, choose between their classic biscuits and gravy, traditional egg dishes or the delicious banana pancakes. Can’t decide? Get a combo. These portions are large enough that you may not have to order anything for the kids, just share your heaping plateful and save your dinero for the wine!

Starting on the Eastside…

Tobin James
8950 Union Rd, Paso Robles
Walking into Tobin James tasting room feels like your entering a saloon out of the old West, in fact the site is on an old stagecoach stop. This is likely the least pretentious winery in the land! The main bar dates back to the 1860’s and there is usually a bandana clad dog looking for a scratch. They have been around for over 20 years and offer a large wine selection and a sparkling non-alcoholic grape juice for the kids and designated drivers. Keep a lookout for Jesse James’ ghost, as rumor has it, he enjoyed Paso Robles wine before it was trendy!
For the kids: Sparkling Grape Juice, free video games, fun Western ambiance.

For the adults Zinfandel and lots of it!  Ask if they have any of the James Gang Reserves open. Finish with the “Liquid Love” Late Harvest Zinfandel served with chocolate.

Warning Becomes party-central in the late afternoon, especially on weekends. Go early and avoid the intoxication and the crowd!

3810 Hwy 46 East, Paso Robles
Gary Eberle is known as the “Godfather” to local winemakers for good reason. He made his first vintage of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon in 1979 and was one of the first to plant Syrah in California. Though making quality wine is the focus, they know how to have fun and have a knowledgeable staff to make sure you feel welcome.

For the kids Rub the bronze boars nose at the entrance for good luck.  The cave tour. Bocce ball court.

For the adults Must taste the Cabernet Sauvignon. Ask if they have any Reserves open. The Syrah is great as well. End with the sweet but not cloying Muscat Canelli.

Warning There is fragile Italian pottery within little hands grasp in the tasting room. If you take the cave tour, beware of the the steps and potential hazards to touring a working winery.

Berry Hill Bistro
1114 Pine St, Paso Robles (on the square)
Berry Hill Bistro is a French country-style restaurant that emphasizes fresh, seasonal ingredients and large portions. The Frites (authentic “French” fries) are a great appetizer and kid favorite, served with three dipping sauces. The chicken salad and portobello mushroom salad bring in the crowds. The children’s menu sports a grilled cheese sandwich that is suitable for adult appetites. Dessert? Try their own Olallieberry pie a la mode (when in season). There are a few tables outside with a view of the town square, great for when the kids are feeling rowdy!

Powell’s Sweet Shoppe
840 11th Street, Paso Robles (on the square)
The kids have been patient, they’ve been supportive in your search for good wine, now it’s their turn! Got a sweet-tooth in the family? This place rocks! More candy than should be allowed in one location, they have brands I didn’t know were available anymore and all the usual suspects as well. Fill up bags from one of the many bins or go for the gelato and savor the silky sugar rush!

Firestone Walker Brewery and Tap Room (the rumors are true!)
1400 Ramada Dr, Paso Robles (near the intersection of Hwy 101 & Hwy 46 W)
Beer me! Yes, there’s great beer made in wine country! True there’s not a whole lot for the kiddies at this stop, and as a functioning brewery, they must be closely supervised at all times. But, this can be the one chance for the beer fan in the family to get a taste or two while the rest of the family takes a little walk or tries some pretzels and artisan mustard. The restaurant has a wide ranging menu using fresh local produce and meats. This award winning brewery is always highly ranked among brew aficionados. They have a full range of beers from lagers to stouts, but the ales put them on the map. Try the double barrel ale (fermented in wine barrels!) and the Union Jack IPA, which is a local winemaker favorite. Free brewery tours @ 1:30, 2:30 and 3:30pm. Remember, it takes a lot of great beer to make great wine! New addition to the Firestone Walker compound: The Brewery Store! Home brewing set-ups, educational supplies and seminars!


Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ  -Cowboy up!
1125 24th St, Paso Robles (across from the fairgrounds)
Alright, this is the place to get down and dirty and eat with your hands! Right across from the California Mid-State Fair, the location couldn’t be more appropriate. Yes, they have wings, onion rings, nachos and garlic bread to get you started. Then your off to cowboy land with offerings from the BBQ; ribs, tri-tip and pulled pork sandwiches to run the sauce up your arm! Sure they have salads and corn on the cob, but don’t fool yourself, this is an old fashioned meat palace complete with a mechanical bull! Come in on your birthday and your meal is on Bubba.

Free Concerts in the Park

Paso Robles and Templeton have free concerts in their respective squares throughout the Summer months.

Paso Robles’ is on Friday nights 5:30-7:30 at the park gazebo.

Templeton’s is on Wednesday evenings 6:30-8:30 in their park gazebo.

Both offer food for sale, but most families bring a picnic and yes, beer and wine is allowed.

Park Cinemas
Catch a movie! Situated on the square surrounding the downtown park, this THX certified theatre is great treat anytime for all ages!
1100 Pine St. Paso Robles, CA 93446
Movie info/times 805-2272172

July 20, 2011 |

Self-Guided “Day in Wine Country” Tour Itinerary (Westside)


1344 Park St, Downtown Paso Robles
Panolivo is a great place to start your Paso Robles adventure!  A family run French Bistro with an in house bakery, the owners are hands on and everything is made from scratch, including the yogurt. Though the quality is certainly upscale, the emphasis is that of a family restaurant complete with a very comprehensive kids menu. Whether you crave fresh pastries or the perfect omelette with your latte, this undoubtably will not be your last visit.

Starting on the Westside

Castoro Cellars
1315 North Bethel Rd, Templeton
888-Dam-Fine (326-3463)
The owner’s nickname is “Beaver” and Castoro is the Italian equivalent, hence the “Dam Fine Wine” motto.  They have concerts here year round with some complimentary shows in the Summer months. This winery has one of the longest tasting lists in Paso Robles, so pick your tastes carefully.

For the kids Varietal grape juice. Lush picnic area with access to 30-plus year old Cobble Creek zinfandel vineyard. Hunter, the tasting room cat.

For the adults Initially known for their Zinfandels, they also make a great Pinot Grigio and Tempranillo. Finish up with their Estate Grown Late Harvest Zinfandel served with dark chocolate.

Warning This winery gets very crowded late in the day and there a lot of breakable items for sale in the tasting room.

Pipestone Vineyards
2040 Niderer Road
Paso Robles, 93446

Draft Horses, Feng Shui, Certified Wildlife Habitat and excellent Rhone varietals is reason enough to visit this small family owned winery. This family focused winery shows respect for the land by minimizing it’s carbon footprint and living in harmony with nature. They also make wine in the traditional method, by growing premium grapes and letting the wine express the terrior it is grown from.

For the kids Tour the grounds and learn about the Wildlife Habitat.

For the adults The Grenache, dry Rosé and the red Rhône blend.

Warning The Pipestone daughters, Grace and Gwendolyn are wily jokesters!

Lunch: On special occasions Jeff will have his wood-fired pizza oven baking some of the best thin crust that will pass your lips!

Shamel Park (at Moonstone Beach)
5455 Windsor Blvd, Cambria
Head over to the coast for a little refreshing walk on the beach. Only 20 minutes from Paso Robles westside wineries in the village of Cambria, here’s a nice park with a wind protected playground and lots of grass. Situated only steps from the beach along Santa Rosa Creek. The beach is a treasure trove of moonstones and driftwood with lots of bird-watching to take in as well. Picnic table and BBQ grills are available at a first come basis.

Harmony Cellars
3255 Harmony Valley Road
Harmony, California 93435
Open Daily 10 – 5pm
Summer Hours 10 – 5:30pm
Children and dog friendly feel free to roam the gardens and relax in the gazebo. While this family run winery excels in all its offering,  They also offer Friday twilight hours during the Summer months where they stay open until 7pm and feature snacks and live music to harmonize with their vino.

For the kids  Let the kids create sidewalk art, chalk is provided!

For the adults  The two “must tries” are the Diamond Reserve Pinot Gris and Diamond Reserve Aria Meritage style blend.

Warning  Lots of tempting gift items are within a curious hand’s reach.

HarmonyWalk the historic old dairy village of Harmony  A Quaint old town with a rotating selection of artisan craftwork. The two longtime businesses are the Harmony Glassworks and Harmony Pottery. Adult supervision is a must at these places of business, but exposure to the arts is important!

Harmony Glassworks
If you time it right, you can see live glassblowing! This is an art that will amaze all ages.
2180 Old Creamery Road, Harmony, CA 93435
Open Daily 9 – 5:30pm

Harmony Pottery
Established in 1973, this gallery features the work of over 25 talented ceramic artists and candle artisans.
Downtown, Harmony, CA 93435
Open Daily 10-5pm






Robin’s Restaurant
4095 Burton Drive Cambria, CA 93428
Open daily 11-9pm  Sunday Brunch 11-3pm
Inspiration drawn from world cuisines, this family friendly gem cooks-up handcrafted, original gastronomical creations that won’t break the budget. This is the one restaurant that will make almost all diners happy, whether it’s seafood, chicken, lamb or an adventurous vegetarian meal you’re looking for, you will find it here. Great children’s menu as well. Tip #1: Early Dinner, offered 4-4:50pm. Tip #2: Ask for a table on the patio, overlooking the garden, it is covered and heated and won’t stress you out if the kids are a little boisterous. Robin’s offers a daily vegetarian soup as well as a delicious Salmon Bisque, there’s gluten-free dishes on the menu as well. Tip #3: Save room for one of their homemade desserts, yum!

Dinner option #2 (If you’d rather eat closer to Paso Robles lodging)
El Vino Mexican Restaurant
1510 Park, Downtown Paso Robles
Don’t be fooled by the exterior, El Vino is a Mexican restaurant that tailors itself to the wine country family without losing its authentic roots. Featuring a great salsa with super thin, crisp chips are a great start. Order the made-at-the-table guacamole to fully realize the experience. The entrees are made to order and use meat-free sauces as to give the health-conscious or vegetarian diner more choices. There is a large vegetarian section on the menu and it even offers tofu as a meat substitute!  Of course the usual mexican fare is available; burritos, enchiladas, fajitas, etc. but made with freshness usually only seen in kitchens South of the border. Specials vary from grilled chicken breast to scallops with mushrooms and spinach.

July 20, 2011 |

Half Day of Family Fun


You should be able to hit two wineries and enjoy a nice lunch before you have to head on down the road.

First pick which side of the Paso Robles appellation you want to explore: east-side or west-side.

Wine Tasting:

East-side: Eberle Winery, Tobin James Winery

West-side: Castoro Cellars, Pipestone Vineyards


Berry Hill Bistro

The Berry Hill Bistro is located in Paso Robles on the town square and park. It is also centrally located between the two wine trail and freeways for travel convenience.

Fun for the kids:

Let the kids run about the park after lunch and take them to Cold Stone Creamery for dessert. They will hopefully reward you with some quiet-time when the sugar wears off and the road lulls them to dreamland!

July 14, 2011 |

Pit Stop in Paso Robles

Paso Robles

Paso RoblesPaso Robles is the halfway point between San Francisco and Los Angeles, the perfect place to pull off the road and give the kids a break.  Depending on how much time you want to spend, here are some suggestions to break up your trip and keep everyone happy.

Pit Stop #1 – The Quickie with Lunch

Exit at 46 East

Lunch at Big Bubba’s Bad BBQ.  You can put the kids in the jail cells but you can’t leave them there.  Burn off some steam on the mechanical bull.  Fill your gas tank at one of the many gas stations next door.

Head out 46 East to Tobin James Cellars.  The kids can play arcade games or pet Cisco the dog while you taste a few of the excellent wines.  Sparkling grape juice for the kids and designated driver.

If you need to head back west to hwy 101, and if you have a little bit more time, pull into Eberle Winery.  The kids will burn off more energy on the really fun cave tour or bocce ball court and you will love the wines and view from the deck.


Pit Stop #2 – A Taste and a Park

If you are just passing through, but would still like to get a “taste” of the area, here are some options:

Winery: Depending on which way you are going, Castoro Cellars on highway 46 west (heading to Cambria) or Eberle on highway 46 east (headed toward the San Joaquin valley). For highway 101 travelers, either winery is less than 3 miles from the freeway and Paso Robles.

Stretch your legs and treat your darling(s) to something sweet at the Paso Robles city park (on the square) and a stop at the Powell’s Sweet Shop. The park features a playground and grass area with a gazebo bandstand shaded by towering mature trees.

Generous parking is found nearby and restrooms are available near the playground. In addition to multitudes of candy, the gelato is what my family yearns for, as it is of the highest quality and goes down silky smooth.

July 14, 2011 |
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