The story of the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area (AVA) is one of a winegrowing region that is really coming into its own. Located midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles on California’s central coast, the area covers roughly 24 square miles and a multitude of microclimates. While wine grapes were introduced into the region in 1797 by missionaries, in 1990 there were fewer than 20 wineries in Paso Robles. Today there are more than 200—and the area is now the fastest-growing AVA in California.
The Paso Robles region sees the greatest daily temperature swings of any California wine region. Frequently, summer daytime highs reach well into the upper 90s, with breezy, cool evenings that dip close to 40 degrees. Due to the cool nights, warm days and late rains—the first rainfall of the season is typically about two weeks later than Napa or Sonoma, and a month later than Mendocino—Paso Robles vines tend to enjoy a longer growing season with grapes seeing an extended “hang time.” This allows winemakers the luxury of waiting for fruit that has reached optimal ripeness levels before it is picked.