2012 Paso Robles Wine Festival: May 18-20, Paso Robles

Anyone who hasn’t yet discovered Paso Robles wines is missing some of California’s most robust and dynamic red wines. Whether you count yourself among that group looking to learn more, or you consider yourself a die hard fan, you’ll not want to miss the 30th annual Paso Robles Wine Festival. Once a sleepy undiscovered little wine town, Paso Robles has become the epicenter of a wine explosion in the last decade with wineries popping up like Spring crocuses every year. The limestone terroir of western Paso Robles in particular is producing some absolutely stunning Rhone-syle wines that every wine lover in California should know about.

The Wine Festival takes place over a (usually sunny) weekend in May. Starting off with events and dinners held at wineries around the area on Friday, including a reserve tasting of more expensive wines and older vintages, the event culminates in a Grand Tasting in the town park on Saturday, which is certainly the highlight of the weekend and should be the goal for anyone looking to learn more about the area’s wine.

At only a three hour drive from San Francisco, it makes for a very nice weekend trip should you feel inclined.

2012 Paso Robles Wine Festival Grand Tasting
Saturday May 19th, 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Paso Robles Downtown City Park
Paso Robles, CA 93447

Tickets start at $55 (residents get a $25 discount), with a package for the reserve and grand tastings coming in at $125. You should purchase tickets in advance online.

Remember to wear something you don’t mind spilling red wine on; drink lots of water; make sure you have a full stomach; and spit out the wine if you want to actually learn something and avoid a nasty headache the next day. And for this event, I also recommend sunscreen and a sun hat.