For this fabulous Paso Robles wine country tour, Vineyard Drive Wineries, leave downtown Paso Robles, go South on Highway 101, and take the Highway 46 exit west towards Hearst Castle. Turn right onto Vineyard Drive. Here you will enter some beautiful backroads of this beautiful Paso Robles wine region. There are many wineries along the route, but these we believe will give you the most enjoyment, the right mix, and a feel for Paso Robles wineries. Have an incredible journey on the Vineyard Drive and the “Far Out” Wineries wine route. Please note that because of COVID, most wineries require a reservation for visiting and tasting. Check the winery’s Website for visiting options.
Our selection of the top Vineyard Drive Wineries
• Opolo Vineyards – Beautiful setting, great reds
• Brecon Estates – Small production of wines, the old Norman winery
• Tablas Creek Vineyards – California’s Châteauneuf-du-Pape
• Whalebone Vineyards – Nice Zins and Syrah
• Thacher Winery- Excellent Rhones, Viognier is lush
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Dining and Lodging Recommendations
Winery Descriptions, Driving Directions, Tasting Room Hours
Take Vineyard Drive to the right off Highway 46 West, and drive 4.5 miles to Opolo Vineyards. Observe for the entrance to Opolo. Take the short drive on the gravel road to the tasting room and winery buildings. It’s a gorgeous drive alongside oak trees and the vineyards. Once in the tasting room, you will be treated to the tasting of six wines. The Viognier is delicious, but the emphasis is on the reds. Be sure to try the Pinot Noir, a fruity and heavy-bodied Pinot grown on cool northern slopes of the hillside vineyards. The two Zinfandels are both excellent and worth comparing. Opolo also produces a Sangiovese, which is medium-bodied and refreshing.
In 2012 Brecon purchased the Norman Winery and remodeled the tasting room and the wine selections. Where monster Zinfandels were the style at Norman, Brecon Estate has a more restrained style of wines. The wines are wonderfully crafted and include two whites, an Albariño and the Conviction, a blend of Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne. The reds are elegant and full of character. Brecon has a lovely picnic area.
From top brewmaster to a top winemaker, that’s Sherman Thacher. A country boy at heart, Sherman decided that the Paso Robles area was the best place to set up shop for his family and to hone his winemaking skills. Thacher is a small winery, but several different wines are made, including some exciting blends like the beautiful Controlled Chaos. The wines at Thacher are all excellent, and shall we say, brewed to perfection. Thacher is just about one and a half miles from Norman on Vineyard Drive.
From Thacher, continue on Vineyard Drive about three-quarters of a mile. High on the hill, the winery overlooks this beautiful area known as Adelaida. The winery name comes from the whale bones and fossils found in the calcareous soils in the area. It is all about reds at this winery, Cabernet, Zinfandel, and Syrah. The Syrah wine has attractive earthy characteristics, while the Cab and Zin are delicious fruit-forward.
Continue on Vineyard Drive after leaving Whalebone and turn left at Adelaida Road. The winery is a partnership between the Perrin Family of the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery Chateau de Beaucastel and Robert Haas, an American wine merchant. The site of the Tablas Creek Winery is similar to the climate and soil of the Chateau de Beaucastel in France. They also wanted to use the same Rhone varietal type grapes, so the winery imported cuttings from France and grafted them on to rootstock. The result is some excellent Rhone type wines that you won’t taste at any other California winery. We recommend the tour, which is not your ordinary winery tour. Much of the tour takes you through their nursery, where you will learn how they graft their vines from the original cuttings from France. One other interesting note, the grapes are all organically grown here.