San Luis Obispo Wine Tasting

San Luis Obispo Wine Tasting
San Luis Obispo County holds a number of overlapping appellations, or designated areas where growers farm grapes; wine tasting here is a wonderful experience. It’s best to focus a single day on either the northern or southern sections of the county; choosing no more than three vineyards allows you the time to lounge and enjoy. I’ve noted my favorite stops below, but you can’t go wrong by picking up a map and choosing places at random if that’s your preference.

To the south of San Luis Obispo, the Edna Valley enjoys mild weather with temperate ocean breezes. As a result, this area will appeal to those interested in drier white wines, such as Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. If you’re in the mood for sparkling wine, you’ll also want to make the trip south – Laetitia Winery is known for its methode champenoise blends and varietals, while Talley Vineyards consistently earns high marks. You might combine these visits with a walk through downtown Arroyo Grande or Pismo Beach.

Northeastern Paso Robles is far warmer; consequently, it is becoming known for the quality of its red wines. From the 101, go east on Highway 46 to visit Tobin James, perhaps the most best known in the area. A big yellow building offers Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Bourdeaux, and other choices in a large carousel-style tasting room. Close by, Eberle Winery is known for both its wine caves, and its standard poodles, in addition to fine wines. Book a tour, or plan to wander around the premises at either place!

Highway 46 West is a blend in terms of temperature; wineries here are closer to the ocean and often located in small protected valleys. Although this section still focuses on red wines, you’ll note a difference in the taste due to the micro-climates. Peachy Canyon in Templeton offers Malbec, a red varietal, and Viognier, a white one, in addition to the standard offerings. Nearby Castoro Cellars has received recognition for its sustainable farming and organic wines. From here, continue west on Highway 46 to Cambria, where several beautiful beaches beg to be walked.

An offbeat northern option that shouldn’t be missed is Harmony Cellars, located right south of the Paso Robles/Cambria turnoff on Highway 1. Harmony is a tiny town with a population of 22; the hamlet houses glassblowing facilities, a potter’s workshop, and of course the winery, which sits at the top of a hill. Allow time to browse for gifts after taking in the sweeping views; it's possible to spend an entire afternoon here, tasting and shopping.

An important note: due to the pandemic, all wine tasting in San Luis Obispo is by appointment only. Be sure to call a day ahead to ensure a space. Also, do I have to remind you to pace yourselves, or optimally designate a sober driver? Never drive drunk, buzzed, tipsy, or anywhere in between.

Plan on spending fifteen or so dollars for each tasting. You'll save some money by purchasing bottles at the wineries, but these are not budget choices - you'll easily spend over a hundred dollars in a single day if you choose to buy.

Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of these wineries, and have tasted and purchased with my own funds.

Laetitia Vineyard and Winery, 453 Laetitia Vineyard Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA, 93420. (805) 716-6481.

Talley Vineyards, 3031 Lopez Drive, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420. (805) 489-0446.

Tobin James Cellars, 8950 Union Road, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 239-2204.

Eberle Winery, 3810 Highway 46 East, Paso Robles, CA 93446. (805) 238-9607.

Peachy Canyon Winery, 1480 W. Bethel Road, Templeton, CA 93465. (805) 239-1918.

Castoro Cellars, 1315 N. Bethel Road, Templeton, CA 93465. (805) Make an online reservation at

Harmony Cellars, 3255 Harmony Valley Road, Harmony, CA 93435. (805) 927-1625.

You Should Also Read:
Point San Luis Lighthouse
Laetitia Vineyards and Winery

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Content copyright © 2023 by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . All rights reserved.
This content was written by Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. . If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Korie Beth Brown, Ph.D. for details.