It’s not as crowded as 46 West , but Highway 46 East has plenty of great wineries. You might even recognize one or two names out in the Eastside.
One of the biggest winemakers to maintain a tasting room in the Paso region is Meridian (7000 Hwy. 46 E., 805/226-7133, www.meridianvineyards.com , daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., tasting fee $5). You’ve no doubt seen Meridian on many menus and countless supermarket shelves. Meridian makes all the classic California varietal vintages, with bestsellers in Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. Check out the Limited Release list for, well, a bunch more of the same plus a few slightly less common wines like a Gewurztraminer and a Sangiovese. Meridian’s deli and store provide a perfect place to gather up everything you need for the perfect wine picnic.
It might not be the biggest, but Eberle Winery (3810 Hwy. 46 E., 3.5 miles east of U.S. 101, 805/238-9607, www.eberlewinery.com , daily 10 a.m.–5 p.m., until 6 p.m. in summer, free) is one of the pioneers of the Paso wine region. Gary Eberle has been making wine here for more than 25 years, and winning a passel of gold medals over that time. Be sure to get a spot on a cave tour while you’re visiting, then head to the light-wood tasting room. Despite the fun statuary and the great caves at Eberle, the star attraction here is the wine.
The medium-sized list features mostly hearty, bold red wines such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Barbera, Zinfandel, and a few fabulous blends. A few whites find their way to the bar, such as the Paso favorite Viognier and the lesser-known Roussanne. Taste as many as you possibly can—and you’ll be surprised at how many bottles you’ll want to walk away with. With most vintages selling for $15–25, you might be able to afford a few extras.