Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo County: Ranches and missions, coastline and vineyards and wineries and Hearst Castle. Unlike the wine industry in Northern
California, which dates back to the Gold Rush, the wine industry in Southern California was started by the Franciscan fathers at the
California missions. Grapes were first planted in this region somewhere around 1772 at Mission San Luis Obispo. These grapes
were used for sacramental wine, and for brandy to be sold commercially. These vineyards (and those at other missions) were not cared for
after Mexico secularized the missions, and the vineyards fell into disrepair. The vineyards were resurrected in the 1860s after being
purchased by a French immigrant. Still, not much happened in the area, wine-wise, for the next 100 years.
Then in the 1970s more vineyards were planted. More thought went into what grapes would grow well in which areas. And now? There are great
Cabernets from San Luis Obispo and some of the best and most unique Zinfandels from Paso Robles. And pockets of mouth-watering Rhone varietals,
done as both varietal wines and as blends, have made their mark on the region.
Still there are the ranches, looking very much like California of the haciendas 200 years ago. And the missions to go with them,
keeping a key piece of California history alive. Go on a tour of Hearst Castle, one of the great monuments to what money can buy, and stay in
Cambria right on the ocean. Take an ATV out on Pismo Beach and ride the dunes. And taste the wines, which deserve your attention.
Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo maps:
San Luis Obispo
Paso Robles/San Luis Obispo events:
San Luis Obsipo