Paso Robles is located along the central coast of California, essentially mid-way between Los Angeles and San Francisco. Conveniently, Highway 101 splits Paso Robles wine country into the East Side and the West Side. So, let's focus on visiting wineries on the East Side.
Whether you are traveling to Paso Robles on Highway 101 or entering from I-5, Highway 46E presents several good options for wine tasting. Along the road, you'll find several larger wineries including Eberle, Vina Robles, and Tobin James. And just off Highway 46E is J. Lohr. You may have heard of most of these wineries and probably seen their wines in stores. But, don't let that keep you away from these wineries. Most of the wines they produce and that are available for tasting are not available in stores. These are lower production wines that are just available at the winery or through their wine clubs.
Eberle winery was founded by Gary Eberle who is one of the original wine makers of Paso Robles in the 1970's. Gary released his first Eberle wine, the 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon debuting the iconic boar logo, depicting the German origin of the name Eberle, meaning “small boar.” Eberle winery is one of the few wineries where tasting is free and includes a tour of the underground cave, storage facilities and VIP tasting room. And, you'll often find Gary sitting out in front of the tasting room in the afternoon enjoying a glass of wine.
Across the street from Eberle is Vina Robles. This winery was founded by Hans Nef from Switzerland in the mid-1990s. It is a beautiful California Mission-style facility with a large and modern tasting room. And, just across the parking lot is the Vina Robles Amphitheater that hosts a summer concert series.
Just off of Highway 46E near Eberle and Vina Robles is J. Lohr winery. While J. Lohr is likely the biggest name winery in Paso Robles due to its wine distribution, you'd never know it when you pull up to their facility. There are no big signs, no huge fancy facility or other attraction. In fact, from the parking lot, you are not even sure you've made it to the winery. But once you walk up the steps of this farm-style home facility and open the beautiful carved wood door, you'll enter their simple, yet elegant, tasting room. Jerry Lohr opened the winery in the 1980s and to this day, as an 80-year-old, still remains actively involved in ensuring that his winery is producing great wines.
Heading out further east on Highway 46E is Tobin James Cellars. Built by Tobin James in 1993 on the site of an old stagecoach stop, you feel like you are in an old fashion western saloon. But a broad range of wines are the focus and are poured from behind the grand, antique 1860's Brunswick mahogany bar.
So, that's a quick overview of some of the biggest and well-known names on the East side of Paso Robles wine country. But, there's so much more. Next time well explore the west side. Until then, Cheers!
Download a Paso Robles winery map from https://pasowine.com