"Paso Robles--There is much to enjoy in Central California wine country

By Vern Langrasse, The Hollywood Chef

We do live in paradise when you can on long or short weekends enjoy a few days to drive to the sun filled beaches, the wine country, or in winter to the mountains for winter sports.

The Brotherhood of the Knights of the Vine had their yearly Commanderís meeting in Paso Robles. We drove up Interstate 5 so we could have a great country breakfast. We stopped at the Country Pride Restaurant in the Truck Travel Center at Buttonwillow Exit.

There is a store next to the restaurant that has specials every week. I often have bought personal items as the price and quality are amazing.

About ten miles further on Interstate 5 you arrive at junction 46 to Paso Robles and as you travel on you will pass the James Dean Memorial. The tree he hit has been turned into a National Memorial. As you pass the Memorial you are now in the wine country.

Today, Paso Robles is home to more 170 wineries and 26,000 vineyard acres focusing on premium wine production in Paso Robles Wine Country. A day of wine tasting and touring begins with a scenic drive along the country roads. The rolling hills and rural setting make for a truly authentic wine country. Pack a picnic lunch to enjoy on the winery grounds. Chat with the winemakers and the locals. Everyone loves to talk shop and to tell you about the wonderful local restaurants.

Our business meetings were held at Eberly winery located 5 miles out of town on highway 46. At 1 pm we went on the patio and Gary Eberly and staff were bar-B-queing ribs and sausages for appetizers before we went into the caves for a sit down luncheon prepared by a local chef. When our KOV business had been completed, we visited as many wineries as we could fit in with such a limited schedule. The one I really enjoyed was the Anglinís Winery, located in the unique atmosphere of Paso Robles 120 year-old train depot. Anglinís focus is on Rhone Varietals and blends plus limited-family small lot production of Pinot Noir and Cabernet. Stop by for a tasting. We loved it!

There are so many good wineries you feel as though you are a kid in a candy store. Try not to leave the Paso Robles area until you visit Justin Winery & Vineyards. In the 160 acres of oak-studded rolling hills and vineyards you will find a small family-owned winery producing world class wines.

Paso Robles is filled with some of the best restaurants in California. Currently the most popular is: Artisan, downtown, Cowgirl Cafť, is good for breakfast, Paso Robles Steak House, Bistro Laurent, very fine French food, Robinís, and Villa Creek are all good food and service.

The drive is only three hours from LA to Paso Robles and the wild flowers were gorgeous. I highly look forward to another trip to the Central Coast!

Last Update:6/1/08

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