The 17 Best Downtown Paso Robles Tasting Rooms
June 17, 2021
There are more than 200 tasting rooms in Paso Robles, many of those can be found within walking distance of one another and centrally located in the heart of downtown. From highly acclaimed brands opening second locations to family-owned and operated micro-wineries to edgy renegades whose style fits best tucked away in an industrial locale. The downtown wine landscape has been growing by not only the number of tasting rooms but also by the type of wine experiences offered.
In the heart of downtown in the historic Odd Fellows Building is Serial Wines. Sourcing from meticulously-farmed estates, Serial showcases interesting varietal-specific wines, nuanced blends, AVA designates, and single-vineyard releases. The brooding Tasting Lounge features stunning art that adorns many of their bottles, it is a space to relax, be curious about wine, and discover the expressive, world-class terroir of Paso Robles. Just up the street is the contemporary tasting lounge of Bushong Vintage Company. Eclectic varietals showcase the depth of talent and creativity that is offered at Bushong. Savor the small-lot wines, play some pinball, or choose a favorite record from the collection of over 1,000 vinyl records to play. Cruise over to Hoyt Family Vineyards for a cool beach shack vibe and outstanding wines. With vineyards in Malibu and west Paso, the estate wines offer big flavors. Do not miss the Tempranillo or Petit Verdot! Directly across Park Street from Hoyt you’ll find anything but boring with outside-of-the-box thinking at Wine Boss. If there was one word to describe Wine Boss it would have to be… FUN! They feature nearly 20 wines on the menu, each one made by winemaker/proprietor Thomas Booth and privately labeled for very special clients including reggae rock bands Pepper, Fortunate Youth, Iya Terra, and KBong. Wine Boss also has the only 4-wine Petit Verdot vertical in Paso as well as a rosé of each. Doesn’t hurt to mention they are growing grapes and making wine for actor/comedian Kevin Hart as well. Wine Boss is all about good vibes and good people.
The spacious outdoor/indoor setting of CaliPaso Winery offers an open-air feel with warm hospitality and outstanding value. You can often find fun events like Sip & Paints happening at CaliPaso along with live music, plus they are the go-to spot for after-dinner wine (they stay open late)! Red-only lovers listen up! Next door at Pianetta Winery you’ll find all reds all the time with a vibrant vibe. This father/daughter winemaking team carefully craft wines that showcase the vineyard and quality farming practices. When you visit be sure to order the cheese and wine pairing flight….and ask about the jug wine. Just across the street, you’ll find the tasting rooms of Copia and Sea Shell Cellars. The 20-acre estate, Copia Vineyards & Winery, is nestled in the Willow Creek District of Paso Robles but showcases its highly acclaimed Rhône inspired blends in an elegantly warm space on Thirteenth Street. Adjacent to Copia, discover the first-class wines of Sea Shell Cellars. The bright-tasting space is adorned with a beach mural for an Instagram-worthy selfie or group photo. Taste through the estate wines that showcase balance, vivid fruit, and personality, just like Sea Shell Cellars. As their motto reads, just as every seashell on the beach has a story of its creation so does every bottle of Sea Shell wine.
Mix wine and history at Cloak & Dagger and Derby. Overlooking the park located in the Historic Municipal Bath House is the new kid on the block Cloak & Dagger Wines. The bathhouse was built in 1888 over sulfur springs, including a plunge, and 37 bathrooms! The limited-production wines are extraordinary, and all have a conspiracy theory theme with unique labels and names Freemasons, Illuminati, Skull, and Bones Society, the Trilateral Commission, the Deep State, and even Area 51. Around the corner is one of the newer brands to the Paso wine scene, Stilson Cellars. This boutique family winery was established in 2019 when the Stilson family purchased the small vineyard and olive orchard in the Geneseo District. The tasting room opened in 2021 and it’s been creating quite the buzz! The wines are full of personality, finesse, structure, and bold Paso fruit. And the Stilson Family are a pure joy that will welcome you with open arms and hospitality. Nearby in the Paso Robles Almond Growers Building is home to Derby Wine Estates. This spectacular 11,000 square feet building was once a warehouse and processing plant Paso’s biggest crop, almonds. Taste the diverse wines in the art deco tasting room, tour the historic facility and spend some time in their outdoor lounge.
Tucked away in some really unique spaces are three brands that’ve made a big splash in the Paso wine region: Hayseed and Housdon, Indigené, and Ranchero Cellars. On Railroad Street, you’ll find the super hip collective tasting room, Paso Under Ground, and maverick winemaker Amy Butler. Amy who is a consulting winemaker for a few elite boutique Paso brands has her own solo project, Ranchero Cellars. Using uncommon and tried-and-true Paso rhônes varietals, she crafts small-production wines that will blow you away. Across the way is the tasting garage of Hayseed and Housdon. Their philanthropic business model will make you feel good about drinking wine! Not only are the Hayseed wines created with sustainably sourced grapes, but most importantly they split the profits 50/50 with several local non-profits like Wine4Paws, CASA, and Operation Surf to name a few. Located in the alley between Park and Pine Street and next to local hot spot Jeffery’s Wine Country BBQ is Indigené Cellars. Rock star winemaker Raymond Smith is dedicated to winemaking in its highest form creating noteworthy blends with big flavors. Indigenè is a true hidden gem not to be missed.
Two rebel winemakers that are full of personality and are always pushing the limits of creativity are Herman Story and Iron Oaks. Nestled in an industrial block is the cellar and tasting room of Herman Story Wines. This boisterous brand colors outside the lines with no-nonsense opulent wines sourcing grapes from the best vineyards on the Central Coast. You’ll find the labels are as rambunctious as the renegade winemaker and his crew, don’t miss these highly acclaimed wines. Rebel cowboy brand Iron Oaks was built and created to bring easily approachable and delicious wines to everyone. From the first-time taster to the seasoned wine connoisseur. Based on the principle that wine can be an easy-going libation to enjoy just as much as an ice-cold beer or a perfectly made cocktail. The Americana labels are as boisterous proprietor/winemaker is, as Iron Oaks was born for the fun of it.
Perfectly situated across from the downtown park on Thirteenth Street is the second location of the world-renowned JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery, JUSTIN Downtown. Enjoy wines by the glass or bottle in the modern space and enjoy lunch in the cozy dining area that features indulgent cuisine from their onsite chef. Be sure to ‘look down’ when you are visiting to see the underground wine cellar. JUSTIN helped put Paso wines on the map back in the 80s and you’ll see why in their downtown location.
Bonus! Add these two hot spots to your list of must-visits in downtown Paso Robles: The Backyard and Paso Wine Merchant. The family-friendly outdoor beer garden, The Backyard on Thirteenth, offers 28 rotating taps showcasing local craft beer, cider, and wine. This cool spot was built out of shipping containers and is the perfect place to relax after a day of wine tasting. The Paso Robles Wine Merchant is located inside the Paso Market Walk on Spring Street. This hip wine bar is also the go-to place to taste and buy wine from boutique wineries that do not yet have tasting rooms. The perfect place to find the newest up-and-coming winemakers.
On your next trip to Paso, explore downtown, and you’ll be sure to discover hidden gems and new favorites.