Paso Robles wine tours have been a large part of the Central Coast culture for many years, and their popularity seemingly grows daily. Intimate couples tasting, group relaxation outings, and large party celebrations are just some of the myriad reasons you will hear as to why someone spent their weekend in one of these luxurious California vineyards. It has become such a part of local and tourist life that you are almost in the minority if you haven’t gone wine tasting before. However, most people have not actually set up one of these outings, and they require some knowledge of the wineries, the booking process, and what is expected. That’s where we come in to help you plan a flawless Paso Robles wine tour!
We’ll start by assuming you have a date and occasion in mind, as well as the size of your group—we have no recommendations there, as wine tasting is friendly for all group sizes and any reason!
- What’s your schedule? Once you’ve chosen a date, you need to account for how long you want to spend in the vineyards. A typical wine tasting at one location lasts about an hour from start to finish, and we recommend visiting three to four tasting rooms. Paso Robles wine country is pretty spread out, so you’ll also have to build in some drive time, which leads us to our next point!
- Hire a chauffeured car! Wine tasting is an activity of relaxation and fun, and also involves consuming alcohol. There is no reason to have to stress about parking, a sober driver, or how to navigate the wine country roads —leave that to a professional. Booking a sedan, Mercedes Sprinter, or party bus is the way to go depending on your group size and style!
- Choose your wineries! This can either be a well-researched process, or you can allow the experts to help you—usually a booking staff at a winery or a transportation company has a great knowledge of the style of each tasting room, the type of grapes they make into wine, and how each venue suits your needs. Regardless of how you get your information, it’s important to choose the ones that sound best to you, as the experience should be wholly yours.
- Feed your belly! It doesn’t take a grand sommelier to tell you that wine pairs well with food (though they could probably help with the specifics)! Especially as your adventure goes on throughout the afternoon, it is likely that you and your friends will be in need of some nourishment to keep everyone from getting hangry or wine sleepy (this is definitely a thing). Many wineries have built-in food options, but if you want to pack your own picnic, that is also highly recommended. Another great option is getting some catering or take out from a local joint—we love Old San Luis BBQ to grab on the way up and enjoy at your leisure!
- Assemble your crew and enjoy! Once you’ve done all the legwork for this great day in the vineyards, all that’s left to do is have a blast! We recommend making a playlist, taking photos, and learning as much as possible about the winemaking process and the history of the vineyards themselves. As long as you’re being respectful of the staff and other patrons, there’s really no wrong way to go about enjoying a wine tasting tour. See our list of do’s and dont’s in our Wine Tasting Tour Etiquette post!
We hope this brief guide to planning a Paso Robles wine tour has been illuminating and helped anyone who wanted to plan a tour but didn’t know where to start. With the various regions of California vineyards throughout the state, we can say with full enthusiasm that Paso wine country is unlike any other. Wine tasting is such an accessible thing to do around San Luis Obispo county, and now you can be that cool friend who says “hey guys, who’s in for wine tasting this weekend?”