The only free tasting room I knew of in Paso Robles was Tobin James, however, when I sat down to research and write this article (NOTE: This article was written in 2014, it would be best to check with the wienries you plan to visit to find out current fees.) I found may more. In “Part One: Free Wine Tastings” I will give you a list of the wineries I could find in Paso Robles, Napa and Sonoma that offer free wine tastings. In “Part Two: Your Thoughts on Free Wine Tastings”, I will share the Facebook Roundup I collected when I asked friends “If you visit a winery that offers free tastings do you tend to buy a bottle? Or just indulge away?” next week on this blog.
So, how did it come down to this? I had heard, from more than one winery employee, that people that take advantage of free wine tasting don’t buy wine. It’s not very motivating for them to share their wines, talk about their winemaking practices and answer questions when the person sampling appears to be similar to that Costco customer, that dropped in to do their shopping just before lunch time, or just after picking up their young children, and stand by every aisle’s table waiting for the employee to finish baking, frying or cutting up something for free – that they had no intention of buying but…maybe the sample will be good enough and prompt them to spend?
The winery staff believe that if you sample for free, and you like the wine, you should purchase it – and come to the tasting room prepared to spend as well as taste! I couldn’t agree more. For myself, I’ve found that the greater the experience is, coupled with the wine, I want to buy the wine and join a wine club that promises more great experiences!
Come back for “Part Two: Your Thoughts on Free Tasting” to find out what wine drinkers say they really do. For this week I will leave you with these wineries that offer free sampling, please note that they were garnered from different websites. If I was planning a trip I would confirm policies have not changed.
According to Yelp:
http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Free+Wine+Tasting&find_loc=Paso+Robles%2C+CA and include Ecluse Wines, Eberle Winery, EOS Estate Winery (free and reserve wines can be tasted for $5), J Lohr, Castoro Cellars (first 3 are free, $first five is $3), Sculpterra Winery and Vineyards, Niner Wine Estates (free with a check in on Yelp), Tobin James, San Marcos Creek Vineyard, Alta Colina (two free tastings with a Yelp check in), Parrish Family Vineyard (waved if you purchase a bottle), Zenaida Cellars, Mondo Cellars, Eagle Castle Winery, Minassian-Young Vineyards, Dunning Vineyards (free for non-reserve wine tasting), Broken Earth Winery, Le Vigne Winery, Peachy Canyon Winery (free with bottle purchase), Clavo Cellars, and Veris Cellars.
According to Yelp http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Free+Wine+Tasting&find_loc=Napa%2C+CA
There aren’t too many: Naked Wines, Trahan Winery, Mason Cellars Oxbow, Laird Family, Truchard, White Rock Vineyards…maybe this is why all my pals seem to be hitting Sonoma more these days!
According to http://www.sonomacounty.com/articles/free-wine-tasting-sonoma-county wineries include, Rafanelli, Adrian Fog, Alexander Valley Vineyards, Annapolis, Benziger Family, BogDog Wines at Sky Pine Vineyards, Bodega Ranch Cellar Door, Calstar Cellas, Carol Shelton Wines, Cline Cellars, Collier Falls Vineyards – Family Wineries Tasting Room, Coturri, D.H. Gustafson, Dehlinger, Draxton, Eric K James, Francis Ford Coppola, Frick, Frostwatch, Grey Stack, Gundlach Bundschu, Hafner, Hans Fahden, Hauck, Highway 12, Holdredge, Hook and Ladder, J. Rickards, Jacuzzi, Johnson’s Alexander, Karah, Ketcham, Kobler, Lauterbach, Locals Tasting Room, Loxton, Manzanita Creek, Martin Ray, Mercury Geyersville, Merry Edwards, Mojon’s Bench, Munselle, Novy Family, Optima, Partake by Kendall-Jackson, Pellegrini Family, Pendleton, Peter Cellars, Peterson, Porter Bass, Raymond Burr, Ridge Vineyards, Rielle, River Road Family, Ross Road Custom Crush, Route 128, Saini, Sausal, Selby, Siduri, Simoneau, Sonoma Valley Portworks, Starlite, Stuhlmuller, Suacci Carciere, Sunce, Tara Bella, Toad Hollow, Trecini and Williamson.