This week I’m back home in the San Francisco Bay Area, which has allowed me to recoup from my Indonesia return flight (3 flights + 20 layover hours = GROSS). As luck would have it, Tristen also had a few days off from work so, rather than just sitting around the house, we decided to head out of town. Neither of us had spent much time in or around the San Luis Obispo area, but we had heard great things about the local vineyards. So off we went, with the promise of a long winerific weekend.
Rather than stay directly in the main town of Paso Robles, we opted to book a cost effective hotel in Morro Bay, about 45 minutes away. Morro really ended up being a true sleepy fishing town with not all that much going on, but it was still nice to just hang out around the Embarcadero area and enjoy some local salt water taffy.
Why did we end up choosing to stay here when what we really wanted was 45 minutes away? Temperature, as in the outside temperature. California has been getting hit with a series of heat waves over the last month or so and, as luck would have it, we ended up visiting on one of the hottest weekends thus far.
Actually, hot is quite the understatement. Boiling, unbearable, disgusting, or maybe even insufferable would be more fitting adjectives. So staying along the breezy California coast was certainly preferable to the absolutely roasting inland valley area.
When the time came to head out into the fiery climate of Paso Robles, we were already starting to feel the heat creeping into the salty sea air. When we made it to our 1st winery in early afternoon, the temperature had already hit blistering levels. We pushed on and just prayed that everywhere on our list would have good AC systems running on full blast.
Now, due to the Bay Area’s close proximity to the Napa Valley, we’ve checked out a fair amount of wineries in our neck of the woods over the years.
What we really loved about every place we visited in Paso Robles, and also found surprising given that this was still late summer, was how authentic, calm, and rural everything felt. No large crowds of tourists being bussed around, gimmicky concepts, or frazzled tasting room managers here. Just plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beautiful vineyards and generous pours that seemed to follow us everywhere.
One of our favorite Vineyards that we visited ended up being one of the furthest into the Salinas River Valley, right off a windy dusty road.
In addition to being an award winning winery, Sculpterra also acts as a full sculpture gallery, with striking pieces spread throughout the main grounds.
It would have been amazing to walk around and check out all of these while sipping on something, but it was just wayyyyy too hot. We instead just huddled up inside the chilly tasting room while sampling vino and munching on freshly roasted pistachios, also grown onsite.
Having had our fill of plenty of wine and late summer heat, we left Paso Robles happily surprised with what we had found. All in all, there are well over 200 small boutique and family owned wineries in the area, so we barely scratched the surface. Though, with plenty of friendly locals, a mellow atmosphere, and delicious wine, it’s safe to say that we’ll be back one day to pick up right where we left off.