The Best Paso Robles Zinfandel in a Weekend

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Experience the ultimate Paso Robles Zinfandel weekend with our 2-day tasting guide to the best Zinfandel producers with tasting rooms in the area. These wineries are small, casual, and full of some of the most delicious and inventive wine being made in California right now. Grab a map (cell service is spotty) and this guide, and start tasting!

Day 1

Famed Winemaker’s Playground

Lone Madrone
Image Source: TripAdvisor and Yelp

Lone Madrone
5800 Adelaida Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 238-0845
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 14 reviews
Reservations: Not required
Directions: From Paso Robles, get onto Paso Robles Road heading west, drive 1.5 miles, then take a left onto Adelaida Road. Drive 5 miles, then look for Lone Madrone on the right.

Founder and winemaker Neil Collins, who is also the famed winemaker of Tablas Creek Vineyards down the road, plays to his heart’s content at his own winery, and the results are delicious. The Zinfandel is fresh, lively, and a fantastic food wine. The quaint tasting room right off Adelaida Road is a great place to swing by, and the outdoor bar seats looking into the tasting room are a fun play on the traditional tasting bar. Insider tip: Be sure to ask for a splash of the Lone Madrone Martinelli Dry Farmed Zinfandel, which comes from one of the most renowned names in California grape growing.

Zinfandel and BBQ

Adelaida Cellars
Image Source: Yelp and Facebook

Adelaida Cellars
5805 Adelaida Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 239-8980
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 130 reviews
Reservations: Not required
Directions: Turn right onto Adelaida Road, drive 0.2 miles and the winery is on your right.

Zinfandel grown only 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean makes for characterful wines that embody the grape’s buoyant charm. Adelaida Cellars focuses on dry farming their Zinfandel, creating energetic wines with juicy cores of fruit that are perfect for BBQ ribs. Keep your tasting casual at their tasting bar, or take it up a notch with a hilltop tasting or reserve tasting with local food pairings. Insider tip: Park yourself at the tasting bar for an all-access view of winemaking activities in the cellar, and visit during harvest (August through October) to see the real magic happen.

Undiscovered Zinfandel

HammerSky-Vineyard-&-Winery
Image Source: Yelp

HammerSky Vineyards & Inn
7725 Vineyard Dr
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 239-0930
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 29 reviews
Reservations: Not required (Closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
Directions: Turn right to get back onto Adelaida Drive, then drive 4 miles and take a left onto Vineyard Drive. Drive 3.5 miles and the winery is on your right.

HammerSky Vineyards & Inn focuses on Bordeaux blends and they are known for their acclaimed Merlot, but they make a mean Zinfandel that’s just being discovered. Its bright fruit is coupled with bright acidity, making for a humdinger of a Zin that’s on the rise. The tasting room has a great outdoor patio with umbrellas to protect against the intense sun that the grapes love so much but your nose may not. Insider tip: If you’re visiting Paso Robles with a group, consider renting the beautiful 107 year-old farmhouse on the property for your stay.

Grandaddy of Zinfandel

Peachy Canyon Winery
Image Source: Yelp and Facebook

Peachy Canyon Winery
1480 N Bethel Rd
Templeton, CA 93465
(805) 239-1918
Yelp: 4 stars, 95 reviews
Reservations: Not required
Directions: Turn right onto Vineyard Drive, continue for less than a mile, then take a left onto Peachy Canyon Road. Bear left to get onto Willow Canyon Road, drive for 3 miles and take a left onto Las Tablas Willow Creek Road. In 1.5 miles, turn left onto Oakdale Road, drive for half a mile and turn left onto CA-46 East. Drive 2 miles and take a right onto Bethel Road, where you can’t miss the winery.

The Beckett family began making wine in Paso Robles in 1988 and quickly became one of the leading producers and ambassadors for the burgeoning area. The wines are classic Zinfandel, with ripe dark fruit and a spicy kick. Sample wines you can’t find anywhere else in the historic school house, and bring a picnic to enjoy afterwards at their picnic tables. Insider tip: Ask for a taste of the Peachy Canyon Mustard Creek Zinfandel, a delicious limited production Zinfandel that’s hard to find outside of the winery.

Day 2

Old Vines, New Wines

Proulx Wines
Image Source: Yelp and Facebook

Proulx Wines
5424 Vineyard Dr
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 706-0425
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 24 reviews
Reservations: Not required (closed Tuesday and Wednesday)
Directions: Get onto US 101 South from Paso Robles and drive for 1.5 miles. Exit onto CA-46 West toward Cambria, drive for 4.5 miles then take a right onto Vineyard Drive. Travel for less than 3 miles and the winery is on your right.

Although one of the newer wineries—their first vintage was 2004—the vines are 55 years old and deeply rooted, producing concentrated wines. Proulx (pronounced “pru”) aims to make approachable wines that are ready to drink upon release, and are great with a variety of dishes, from eggplant parmesan to ribeye. If you’re looking for the personal tasting experience of yesteryear where the tasting fee is reasonable ($7) and you’ll most likely chat with the owners, Genoa and Kevin Riley, then this is the place for you. Insider tip: While the Zinfandels are popular, don’t overlook the Rosé Tasting Flight—a surprise favorite among past guests.

The One to Know

Turley Wine Cellars
Image Source: Yelp

Turley Wine Cellars
2900 Vineyard Dr
Templeton, CA 93465
(805) 434-1030
Yelp: 3.5 stars, 133 reviews
Reservations: Required
Directions: Turn right onto Vineyard Drive and drive for 3.3 miles, passing under CA-46, then the winery will be on your left.

One of the most respected names in California Zinfandel and a champion of old vine Zin, Turley is one you should know. Their wines from Amador County have received the lion’s share of attention recently, but their Paso Robles offerings are certainly worthy of your attention. Make an appointment for a tasting and enjoy wines that are nearly impossible to find elsewhere, then take your glass home to remind you of the good times. Insider tip: If available, try their Tecolote Red. This red blend is only available in their Paso Robles tasting room!

Friendly Family Winery

Midnight Cellars Winery
Image Source: Yelp and Midnight Cellars Winery

Midnight Cellars Winery
2925 Anderson Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 239-8904
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 49 reviews
Reservations: Not required
Directions: Turn right onto Vineyard Drive, turn right onto CA-46 East and drive for 2 miles, then turn left onto Anderson Drive and look for the winery on your left.

The Hartenberger family founded this small winery in 1995 and both the parents and children run the winery on a daily basis, with the third generation in the wings. Their vineyards are located in the Templeton Gap, where cool ocean breezes chill the grapes at night, allowing the Zinfandel to develop rich flavors. Visit the tasting room any day of the week for an excellent experience—their reputation for knowledgeable and friendly hosts is well known. Insider tip: Look for Jessica, who can explain the winery’s history, vineyard practices and wine profiles in great depth, all while keeping your glass full and a smile on your face.

Neighborhood Vibe

Caliza Winery
Image Source: Yelp and TripAdvisor

Caliza Winery
2570 Anderson Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446
(805) 237-1480
Yelp: 4.5 stars, 26 reviews
Reservations: Not required (closed Monday through Wednesday in the summer, closed on Thursdays too in the winter)
Directions: Take a left onto Anderson Road, drive 0.5 miles and look for signs for Caliza Winery.

Caliza is named for the limestone soils that give character to their wines, which is fitting since this small winery is all about terroir. Their Zinfandels are juicy and well balanced. The picturesque tasting room and outdoor patio is a great for starting your day of tasting or relaxing at the end of it. Insider tip: They’re big fans of dogs at Caliza, so if you’re looking for a spot to bring your furry friend, add this winery to your itinerary.

Paso Robles’ reputation for Zinfandel is well-deserved, as you’ll soon find out with this itinerary. Pack a picnic lunch but leave room in the cooler for the bottles you pick up—you’ll need it!

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