Fun Loving Couples received one of the rare few media invites to cover the 35th annual Paso Robles Wine festival (May 18-21st, 2017). It all set sail in the open scenery and sunny environment unique to downtown Paso Robles. Made specifically for those seeking good food, good company, and good wine, this event is a melting pot for all of the above.
This four day wine-loving extravaganza kicked off with a Winemaker Dinner (which sold out quickly) sponsored by Thomas Hill Organics. Four courses of decadent meals featuring duck confit and Moroccan braised lamb hit the tables. Not to mention four courses of masterly matched wine to mingle with and enhance the different food flavors and textures and help wash things down. At the same time, the Big Bottle Dinner at The Hatch (this sold out too) featured a family style dinner and big bottles of wine for all to share. The dim lit environment and friendly ambiance at the Hatch set up the right environment for friends to chow down and grub together. Rack of lamb, duck meatballs, rotisserie chicken and white chocolate pudding are just a few of the delicious courses to tantalize the palate.
Following a good night’s rest and proper digestion, another awesome event called the RESERVE took place in downtown Paso Roble’s city park the next day (Friday night). Here, a plethora of contributing wineries (76!!) showed up to feature at least two of their best wines within the categories of Reserve, Library, White/Rosé or Futures. Not only that, but 15 restaurants also set up their tents to introduce their unique dishes to the 507 participating guests of the event. Crowds of devoted wine fans made their way through the gathering of tents to taste the next best wine. There was almost too much wine to go around, but who doesn’t want to be treated like a wine connoisseur, am I right?
Speaking of wine connoisseurship, the Winemaker Seminar facilitated by event organizer, Chris Taranto at the Paso Robles Inn Ballroom answered questions about Paso Robles wines and even offered tastings. This seminar (also sold out quickly – do you see the recurring theme here) is ideal for anyone looking to get a closer look into the ins and outs of Paso Robles wines.
Shortly after, the main event, the famous Grand Tasting stole the show as the largest and most extravagant portion of this four-day experience. 76 participating wineries, 15 restaurants/ caterers, and 6 artisan vendors set up camp on the large grassy expanse of the city park. Jewelry vendors, woodworkers, and stationary and handbag vendors made their appearance and created a lively, perhaps farmer’s market type vibe. In addition, dozens of tents hosting wine tastings peppered the field. For extra ambiance, Rocky Montijo & the Mojitos jammed out to soulful Rock, Soul, Latin and Funk music out on the main stage. The gazebo also showcased classic rock covers and originals from a crazy named band – Truth About Seafood, creating the laid back feel that complements outdoor events like this so well.
As far as they eye could see, there was wine for every body’s liking- including Bordeaux-style, Rhône-style, Zinfandel, Burgundian-style, Italian varieties and Other Wild Wines. In our experience, we’ve never experienced getting our hands on such a great wine-tasting deal. We were surprised by the events endless wine and food tastings for just $20 – $145 depending on the level or package you desire. Most wineries we visit charge $20 for six 1 oz tastings without food. With 76 wineries to choose from, we were amazed at the amount of options we had. The variety and amount of wine that you get for the price might just blow your mind. Just make sure you pace yourself (but seriously) and stay hydrated with water.
So here we are at the park in downtown Paso Robles tasting wines and food, enjoying light warm spring breezes when it dawns on us everyone is smiling and having a good time. No drama no nonsense just happy people harmonizing with each other end enjoying the fruits of the region. Every day should be like this!
All in all, if your looking for a park-side getaway and a GREAT deal, make sure you show up next year, bright and early, for the Paso Robles 36th Annual Wine Festival for all the wine you can get your hands on, live music, an informative seminar, and hearty family-style dinners. If you have a palette for wine, this is the place to be. And bring your 21 and over friends and family to help share the meals and the big bottles of wine that are freely shared. As an extra incentive, staying at a Paso Robles vacation rental or at a choice hotel for two consecutive nights will afford a big discount for you and your friends. So enjoy, and be the wine expert that you’ve always wanted to be at the Paso Robles Annual Wine Festival. Just don’t wait, sign up early as this event continues to gain popularity ensuring it will sell out even faster in 2018.
And because Fun Loving Couples is all about Traveling, Eating Well, Working out and Having Fun we hope to see you there next year and the years to come!
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