Last summer we decided to take a road trip. Since my wife and I consider ourselves somewhat of wine enthusiasts, our destination was going to be the rolling hills, grape vineyards, and wineries of California’s Central Coast. Within this sunny valley, there are literally hundreds of wineries to visit. Paso Robles which is a wine lovers dream, has over 200 wineries and 26,000 acres of vineyards. The drive up epic Highway One with the green picturesque rolling hills on one side and the soaring cliffs of the Pacific Ocean on the other was absolutely breathtaking.
Our first stop was Edna Valley nestled amongst the hills of San Luis Obispo County. We went to the Tolosa’s vineyard, Edna Ranch. The soil in which the grapes are grown consists of remnants of volcanic eruptions, ancient seabed, and calcium-rich sediments. This soil along with the valley’s warm days and cool nights, serve as the perfect combination to make exceptional wine. We decided to splurge and sign up for Evening at Ember which is a dinner at the Ember Restaurant. We were able to taste elegant Tolosa wines paired with an exquisite five-course cuisine. Definitely a dinner to remember.
Our next stop was the Filipponi Ranch. This is a unique little winery located in the oak-studded hills on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo. In the early 1900s, the land was first used as a dairy farm before becoming this winery. In fact, the label used on the wine today is the same brand that was used on the family’s beef cattle. It is the shape of a bell. So, there is a lot of history to this boutique winery. After tasting some of the wine, which is in the original ranch house, we enjoyed a game of horseshoes under the sycamore tree.
Our last stop on our trip was the 2015 American Winery of the Year, by Wine Enthusiast Magazine – Justin Vineyards & Winery. Justin is noted for being the first winery on the Central Coast to offer a tasting room, and award-winning restaurant and luxury overnight accommodations. Overlooking the stunning rolling hills of the Paso Robles landscape, the setting is perfect for enjoying an afternoon of relaxing and uncorking a bottle chardonnay. Many of the wines at Justin Vineyards are inspired by France’s Bordeaux as well as wines from Italy and Spain. The highlight of this winery was the behind-the-scenes tour of the facility. The Wine Guide taught us about the winemaking and grape-growing practices and we toured the underground caves, not to mention enjoying a selection of the newly released wines. From the vine to the glass, Justin Vineyard is a must see on any Central California wine tour.
At all of the wineries that we stopped at, we bought a few bottles to give to friends when we got home. With the new Penless Wine Tags we could not only give our friends a nice bottle of wine, but take a picture or video of us at the winery and upload it to the VideoDrop already on the wine tag. Our friends love getting the bottle of wine, but the personalized wine tag is an added bonus. What a fun, new way to give a bottle of wine!
I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food – W.C. Fields