As an up-and-coming wine-growing region, Paso Robles has become a familiar destination and appellation for state residents and as well as a popular side trip from nearby Cambria. Huge crowds do not descend on Paso every weekend as they do in the more popular wine regions and you can still find room at the tasting bars, engage with knowledgeable tasting room staff, meet the occasional winemaker tending bar, and enjoy a friendly country atmosphere both in town and on the wine roads.
For the best tasting experience, visit the Paso wineries over the weekend—many of the smaller winery tasting rooms are open only Thursday–Monday or even only Friday–Sunday.
The closest thing to a visitors center is the Paso Robles Chamber of Commerce (1225 Park St., 805/238-0506, www.pasorobleschamber.com, Mon.–Fri. 8 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 10 a.m.–2 p.m.). Pick up a guide to Paso Robles, or specific dining, lodging, and winery information.
The two best ways to get to Paso Robles are by car and by train. Drivers can take Highway 101 from the north or the south to directly to town. Once in Paso Robles, take Highway 46 east for the main wine road.
On the rails, the Amtrak Coast Starlight (www.amtrak.com) stops right in Paso. Avoid driving altogether by taking the train into town, then renting a limo or getting on with a wine tour.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition