Region History

Wine grape growing in California began with the Spanish Missions. In 1787, Mission San Miguel Archangel was established, bringing wine grapes to what will eventually be the Paso Robles wine region. Years later, after the Gold Rush did not pan out, many immigrants moved south to pursue agricultural endeavors bringing along their cultural traditions, which included wine. Over generations these families would become the first commercial wine grape growers in the region. Further into the future, the Paso Robles American Viticultural Appellation (AVA) was created and today is home to more than 200 wineries and 40,000 vineyard acres focusing on premium wine production. See below for a more complete timeline of the region.

Early years

California receives statehood


The Rancho Paso de Robles Mexican land grant was purchased by James and Daniel Blackburn and their partner Drury James, thus naming the town El Paso de Robles


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


City was Incorporated

1920s - 1930s
early 1920s

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


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


The Dusi family purchased land to plant a vineyard; now known as the Benito Dusi Vineyard, these old head-pruned Zinfandel vines are still in production

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 and celebrated vineyard consultant Jack Foote, planted some of the region’s first Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay on his 1,200-acre ranch


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)


The 556,765-acre Paso Robles AVA was established

1990s - Present
International Investment, Rhônes and Bordeaux

Few than 100 acres planted under Rhône varieties


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


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


More than 2,200 acres planted under Rhône varieties


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


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


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


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


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


TTB approved 11 districts within the Paso Robles AVA


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