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Must-visit independent wineries in Paso Robles

Kristin Larson is a nationally published writer on fashion, beauty, travel and entertainment. She has written for MSN, Real Simple, Women's Wear Daily, PeopleStyleWatch.com, LifetimeTV.cm and Glam.com. Besides writing, her other passions...

Off the beaten wine trails

California is a wine-lover's paradise and some of the most interesting wineries are not in Napa or Sonoma, but in Paso Robles.
Wineries sign

Often compared to Napa 25 years ago, the innovative wines coming out of Paso Robles are not unlike the Wild West spirit that imbues the Central Coast farming region.

Paso Robles, located midway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, is most famous for zinfandel, but thanks to the diverse soil and ideal growing conditions, there are more than 40 grape varieties harvested, ranging from cabernet sauvignon and merlot to syrah, viognier and roussanne. Perfect for a girlfriends' or couple's getaway (the idyllic mountainous area boasts natural hot springs!) here's a look at four must-visit independent wineries in Paso Robles. Whether you're a wine expert or just discovering wine, this is the perfect place to experience, enjoy and take in all that's new and exciting in this growing wine region.

Daou Vineyards

Daou Vineyards

Take it all in at this breathtaking tasting room, sitting atop a mountain with panoramic views of the vineyards and pouring equally impressive wines. Owner Daniel Daou respects French winemaking techniques while creating world-class Bordeaux-style wines. You can taste memorable wines such as Chemin de Fleurs, a fragrant grenache blanc blend, zinfandel and more. Visit daouvineyards.com

Thacher Winery

Thacher Winery

You may just want to move to Paso Robles, get married and become a vintner after visiting Thacher Winery. That's exactly what husband-and-wife team Sherman and Michelle Thacher did and now they run their namesake winery, set amid sprawling hay fields, tall oak trees and a 90-year-old barn. The small-production winery is known for its delicious Rhone blends and zinfandels and even has played wedding host at the aforementioned rustic barn. Visit thacherwinery.com

Cypher Winery

Cypher Winery

Cypher owner Christian Tietje pushes the envelope and blends the unexpected in his wines. Visit the tasting room and discover exciting wines such as Anarchy, an unconventional Rhone blend with zinfandel instead of grenache. A tasting here will also explore all of Cypher wines including syrah, petite sirah, Rhone, tempranillo, zinfandel, grenache, barbera, chardonnay, grenache blanc and rose. You'll leave feeling more educated and delighted at the creativity of these wines. Visit cypherwinery.com

Shale Oak Winery

Shale Oak Winery

Get ready to swirl, sniff, sip and spit (or swallow, if you're not driving!) at this sparkling winery boasting state-of-the-art interior and exterior design. Located on the west side of Paso Robles, Shale Oak is focused on sustainability and its limited-production wines have received gold and silver medals. Visit shaleoakwinery.com

To eat

Farmstand 46

Tasting rooms don't serve food, but that doesn't mean you should forgo a meal. Located near it all, Farmstand 46 serves delicious sandwiches, salads and pizzas with a focus on healthy, organic fare. Visit farmstand46.com

Artisan

This seasonal bistro-inspired restaurant is earning rave reviews from across the country for its exceptional farm-to-table cuisine. Visit artisanpasorobles.com

To stay

Paso Robles Inn

The historic inn is centrally located for everything in town, and some rooms have natural hot springs jacuzzis. Visit pasoroblesinn.com

More tips for wine lovers

A wine lover's guide to visiting Paso Robles
Wine country uncorked
Wine & cheese party tips

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