Region History

The Paso Robles American Viticultural Appellation (AVA) is home to more than 200 wineries and 32,000 vineyard acres focusing on premium wine production. The distinct microclimates and diverse soils, combined with warm days and cool nights, make growing conditions ideal for producing more than 40 wine varietals from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, to Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne, to Zinfandel, the area’s heritage wine variety.

Early years
1790

Winemaking and wine grape growing introduced by the Franciscan Friars at the Asistencia located on the Santa Margarita Ranch

1828

Name recorded as El Paso de Robles, “The Pass of the Oaks”, but is commonly shortened today to Paso Robles

1850

California receives statehood

1886

City was founded

1882

Indiana rancher Andrew York established Ascension Winery, known today as York Mountain Winery, planting some of the region’s earliest Zinfandel vines

1920s - 1930s
Zinfandel
Early 1920s

Famous Polish concert pianist Ignace Paderewski planted Petite Sirah and Zinfandel on his Rancho San Ignacio vineyard in the Adelaida area

1923

Frank Pesenti planted Zinfandel on his property; winery not bonded until 1934

1924

The Dusi family purchased a vineyard; these old head-pruned Zinfandel vines are now owned and cultivated by their son, Benito

1960s - 1980s
Cabernet Sauvignon, Large Plantings
Late 1960s/Early 1970s

Dr. Stanley Hoffman, under the guidance of U.C. Davis and legendary enologist André Tchelistcheff, planted some of the region’s first Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on his 1,200-acre ranch

1970s

Hoffman Mountain Ranch Winery was the first large-scale modern facility in the area

1973 - 1977

Gary Eberle and Cliff Giacobine planted 700 acres, including the first modern commercial acreage of Syrah in the state and established Estrella River Winery, the largest winery in the area (purchased in 1988 by Nestle/Beringer)

1983

The 556,765-acre Paso Robles AVA was established

1990s - Present
International Investment, Rhônes and Bordeaux
1994

Few than 100 acres planted under Rhône varieties

1996

Paso Robles AVA expanded by 52,600 acres to include many plantings in the western hills of the region

1997

JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery’s Bordeaux-style ISOSCELES named one of the top 10 wines in the world by the Wine Spectator

2006

More than 2,200 acres planted under Rhône varieties

2007

AB 87 law passes, requiring wines of Paso Robles AVA origin to list Paso Robles first (prominently) on label

2007

Members of an independent AVA Committee submit the single largest AVA petition to TTB proposing to add 11 districts within the Paso Robles AVA

2008

The Paso Robles AVA expanded by 2,635 to extend its southern border

2010

Saxum Vineyard’s James Berry Vineyard 2010 wine designated number one in the world by Wine Spectator

2013

Paso Robles Wine Country named Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s 2013 Wine Region of the Year

2015

More than 40,000 vineyard acres and more than 200 wineries in Paso Robles AVA

2016

Paso Robles named Best Wine Region in the West by Sunset Magazine