, 2022-11-10 18:00:15,
When I think of Paso Robles, California, I visualize rolling hills with giant oak trees scattered throughout the countryside. The nearby Pacific Ocean provides an accommodating breeze, and variations in elevation offer the perfect atmosphere for entrepreneurial families to create new wineries and distilleries. The explosion of new wineries and distilleries has surprised even locals. A recent count revealed 300-plus wineries are now dotting the area.
During a recent sponsored visit, a phenomenon revealed itself repeatedly. Instead of wineries competing, they help each other in every way, believing they will thrive together. Frankly, from my visit, it appears to be working well, for nary a negative word was uttered about others. It was amazing how often I was referred to another winery to taste a newly released wine or directed to see the spectacular grounds I may have missed had I been exploring on my own.
Here are the experiences that made my time in Paso Robles wine country so delightful.
1. A Great Reservation System
We have all been there, standing at a long bar in a tasting room, vying for the server’s attention to refill our glass and regale us with the information about what she was about to pour. Often the longer the bar, the longer the wait to get attention.
Now Paso Robles wineries use a reservation system. You go to the winery’s site to make a reservation for the day and time you plan to arrive. Thus, they know the number of staff members they will need. As a result, you are often called by name when you walk in the door and are escorted to a seating area.
2. Bountiful Private Seating
With noon rapidly approaching and the sun shining brightly, I pulled into the Hope Family Winery parking lot and noticed a nondescript building. Alongside it were barista tables with umbrellas dotting the entire building length.
Since I had a reservation, I was greeted by the wine steward and escorted down a path around a hedge and into a lovely seating area. Think outdoor lounge sofas with comfy gray cushions and red umbrellas.
Sitting down, I noted a wineglass and bottle waiting for me. Even more impressive was a table sign: “Welcome, Kathy Condon.” The wine steward shared the history of this 23-year-old winery that produces high-end hand-crafted wines. Once again, it came up that they work with their neighbors by renting/loaning their land and sharing varieties of grapes to enable wineries…
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