Paso Robles AVA
|Type||American Viticultural Area|
|Year established||1983, amended in 1996|
|Part of||California, Paso Robles AVA|
|Total area||666,618 acres (269,771 ha)|
|Size of planted vineyards||26,000 acres (10,522 ha)|
|Grapes produced||There are more than 40 wine grape varieties such as Albarino, Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Counoise, Grenache, Grenache blanc, Malbec, Marsanne, Merlot, Mourvedre, Nebbiolo, Orange Muscat, Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Picpoul, Pinot gris, Pinot noir, Riesling, Roussanne, Sangiovese, Sauvignon blanc, Syrah, Tannat, Tempranillo, Tinta Cao, Viognier, and Zinfandel|
Paso Robles Wine Country is an American Viticultural Area located in the San Luis Obispo County, California. It has approximately 26,000 vineyard acres planted with wine grapes, and is well known for its heritage varietal Zinfandel, Rhône-style wines, and "Crazy Blends," blends and styles that are unique to Paso Robles Wine Country.
Grapes were first introduced into the Paso Robles area in 1797 by missionaries at Mission San Miguel Arcangel, where more than one thousand vines were planted. Commercial wine growing, however, wasn't started until the 1880s with the establishment of Ascension Winery, today known as York Mountain Winery, the longest continuously operating winery in the County. Among the winery’s early producers following prohibition was Polish pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
Since 1990, when there were fewer than 20 wineries in Paso Robles, a large expansion of activity has seen the number rise to more than 200 wineries today. Wine critic Robert M. Parker, Jr. commented on the region's promise of quality of wine, emphasizing the wineries Alban Vineyards, L'Aventure, Linne Calodo, Saxum Vineyards, Villa Creek Cellars and Tablas Creek Vineyard as the "leading Paso pioneers".
In 2007, a proposal to split the area at the Salinas River and form a new "Paso Robles Westside AVA" was made. The proposal was withdrawn in 2009, and a new proposal was made to break up the AVA into 11 smaller viticultural areas.
The Paso Robles AVA is still acknowledged for its heritage grape, Zinfandel, but has gained recognition from a wider range of grape varietals as well. In the 1950s and 1960s, growers began to plant Bordeaux varieties, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, in the area. Starting in the 1980s, there have been increased plantings of many Rhône varieties, including the first Syrah planted in California, as well as Viognier and Roussanne to name a few. The emerging popularity of the region's wines has led it to become the site of the annual "Hospice du Rhône" conference on Rhône style wine. Today, Paso Robles Wine Country is receiving attention for its unique Paso Blends, also known as "Crazy Blends." These wines are more unique to the area, and with varietal make-ups that do not follow traditional rules and expecatations of winemaking, as characteristic in other regions of the wine world.
The Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival is a festival focused on the Paso Robles area's heritage grape, Zinfandel. Participants can enjoy Zin tastings as well as a wine country auction and dinner, which offers a variety of unique lifestyle and wine auction lots, including winemaker dinners, VIP tours, verticals, special blends, spa packages, and more from Paso Robles This event is held by the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance, a non-profit cooperative marketing alliance looking to not only educate the community and surrounding communities of the excellence and heritage of Paso Robles wine, but to also give back to the community. In 2011, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance donated a large sum of money to a variety of Paso Robles health and education organizations.
Paso Robles Wine Festival
The Paso Robles Wine Festival is a festival focused on the wide variety of wines the area produces, held in Paso Robles' downtown city park. Attendees have the opportunity to talk with the Paso Robles vintners and taste their wines.
Harvest Wine Weekend
The Harvest Wine Weekend is a celebration of the harvest season with three days of hands-on Paso Robles Wine Country activities. Visitors can experience winemaker dinners, special barrel tastings, the ceremonial grape stomp, and much more in a toast to each year's unique vintage.
- Code of Federal Regulations. "§ 9.84 Paso Robles." Title 27: Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; Part 9 — American Viticultural Areas; Subpart C — Approved American Viticultural Areas. Retrieved Jan. 24, 2008.
- Wine Institute (2008). "American Viticultural Areas by State". Retrieved Jan. 24, 2008.
- Appellation America (2007). "Paso Robles (AVA): Appellation Description". Retrieved Jan. 24, 2008.
- "Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance".
- Parker, Robert M. Jr. Food & Wine (October, 2007). "The Promise of Paso Robles".