The PasoRobles AVA
The Paso Robles AVA is the largest American Viticultural area in California, with 26,000 vineyard acres and 200+ wineries. The Paso Robles appellation lies on the inland side of the Santa Lucia mountains and located in San Luis Obispo County. (http://www.pasowine.com/pasorobles/geography.php)
Paso Robles is a diverse growing region
Paso Robles grows over 40 different types of wine grapes as a result of its diverse micro-climates and geographies. This variety of grapes also results in a diverse style of wines. Paso Robles is known for Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne. The region produces excellent Bordeaux-, Rhone, and Italian blends. The region has also started to create its own unique blends based on the variety of grapes present in the Paso Robles AVA.
East Side versus and West Side, it is all wine love to me
Most folks often refer to the Paso Robles AVA as East side and West Side. The Paso Robles AVA has rolling hills east of the Salinas River and steeper hillsides, cut by small canyons, west of the Salinas River. Although the Salinas River marks a true geographical change, most folks characterize the East / West divide by highway 101. See my interactive Map
New Paso Robles AVA ?
Paso Robles AVA may soon be split into several sub AVA’s to truly reflect the unique growing regions and their climates. See the proposed AVA map that is currently up for public comment by the Tax and Trade Bureau. The change would create 11 viticulural areas that reflect their climate, geography and unique conditions. Stay tuned for updates. http://www.pasowine.com/media-center/the-avas-of-paso-robles.php
The Templeton Gap Airflow
Paso Robles AVA runs parallel with the coastline and is blocked by Santa Lucia coastal mountains. The region is cooled by ocean air that flows through Templeton Gap. Most areas on the west side, and some on the east, receive the cooling benefit of the ocean air. Wineries far to the east get very little benefit.
The northern section of the west side is mountainous and full of valleys. This area does not get the full benefit of the Templeton gap breeze, although it receives good rainfall. Under the proposed AVA, this area could be known as the Adelaida Region. It is home to Justin, Halter Ranch and Tablas Creek.
The southern parts of the West Region tend to have low slopes and river terraces. This region benefits from the cooling effects of the Templeton Gap.
The east side of the of the Paso Robles AVA, is warm but the grapes do not receive the cool night ocean air like the west. The topography is uneven and steep rolling hills, which create beautiful sweeping views.
Top 10 Paso Wineries
Now that you understand the Paso Robles AVA and micro-climates, lets take a look at my Top 10 Paso Robles Wineries.