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Understanding the Paso Robles AVA and Microclimates
Understanding Paso Robles AVA and Microclimates

Understanding the Paso Robles AVA and Microclimates

 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)

View Tom’s Foodie Blog Top 10 Paso Robles Wineries

PasoRobles AVA

PasoRobles AVA

What is an AVA? An American Viticultural Area (AVA) is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features, with boundaries defined by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB), United States Department of the Treasury.

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. 


Paso Robles Grapes

There are over 40 types of grapes grown in 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 

Paso Robles AVA East Side and West Side

Paso Robles AVA East Side and West Side are separated by Highway 101

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

Paso Robles proposed new AVA

Paso Robles proposed new AVA

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.  

Paso Robles AVA Templeton Gap Air Flow

Paso Robles AVA Templeton Gap Air Flow. The areas in blue benefit from the cool airflow. The non-shaded areas get some benefit and the areas in red are hot from lack of airflow. The different temperatures have an impact on grape varieties.

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. 

Paso Robles AdelaidaRegion Geography is Rugged and and in the foothills alongside the mountains, in the Northern Part of the West Side

The proposed Adelaida region is rugged as it resides in foothills alongside the Santa Lucia mountains.

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. 

Paso Robles West Side Along Route 46

Paso Robles West Side Along Route 46 is on the west side of highway 101 and benefits from 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. 

Paso Robles Estrella District on the East Side

Paso Robles Estrella District on the East Side

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.

About Tom Holmberg

Tom grew up in a cultural diverse neighborhood and a culturally diverse family, so he has learned to appreciate all types of food. "I am not a Chef, nor do I play one on T.V., but I have learned to appreciate food from years of eating and cooking." Tom also spent 10 years in the restaurant industry in various roles, from Prep Cook to server.


  1. Even though I do not drink I find this really interesting!

  2. This is really interesting – I had no idea the vastness of this area and the different climates.

  3. What an interesting read. Thank you for sharing all this information.

  4. I had no idea so much went into wineries.

  5. I need one of these vineyards next door to me. Pretty interesting

  6. This is a great article about the Paso region! I had no idea there were 40 different grapes harvested there and that there were so many different climates. I look forward to going back to visit Paso Robles again sometime soon.:)

  7. This is such great information about wineries. Thanks for the share.

  8. I have been wanting to go to a really nice vineyard for a while now! Thank you so much for sharing this, I might have to check it out :)

  9. What a great nature, I always wanted to stay a place just like those.

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