My girlfriend and I have always enjoyed wine tasting in Paso Robles, however, we decided this past weekend to make the shorter trip to the Santa Ynez valley. Although any wine tasting time is fun, we found ourselves feeling slightly disappointed when comparing this weekend to our usual time in Paso.
On the way home, we tried to figure out why. The tasting fees came up as the first concern. I know this is a recession, but every place we went charged a hefty $10 charge up front. In Paso, we have found that the charge is done at the end of the tasting, is typically $5, and is waived if you buy wine. Even though the fee included a glass (free advertising for them), they did not give the option of forgoing the glass for a reduced fee.
The second issue was the overall caliber of the wines. We did run across a few lovelies (Zaca Mesa’s Eight Barrel Syrah and Roussane and Gainey’s Chardonnay), but not much else left us weak in the knees! In January, we were in Napa, which is definitely more expensive, but you cannot beat the quality of wines you are tasting.
So for me, if I include the beautiful rolling hills, the people, the fees and the wines, I will pick Paso Robles anytime!!
What is your favorite?
I am a fan of Napa and Santa Ynez…I can’t remember the last time I was at Paso. (Though I’m editing notes from someone else’s trip there now.)
I agree with you about tasting prices, should be minimal, maybe per taste or flight, and applied to the price of a bottle. That said, I also feel for these guys in the recession that have a backload of older vintages that aren’t selling fast enough before new vintages are released. It might just be desperation to make some buckeroos.
If you would agree to let me post your message on my blog we can see what readers think. It’s up to you!
I was at Chef Dawn’s last week (for many meals!) and looked up the street to see if you were around, you weren’t. How’s your mom? That’s still one of my favorite photos on my blog!
Yours, inwine and out,