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Paso Robles vs Santa Barbara for wine

Old Mar 1st, 2016, 06:22 AM
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Paso Robles vs Santa Barbara for wine

My husband and I are driving PCH in May from SFO to LA. We want to do some wine tasting. Should we stay in Paso Robles or Santa Barbara or 1 night in each? We are staying in SFO for 2 nights and LA for 3 and 3 other nights to spend along the PCH. I would appreciate any suggestions for hotels and restaurants and vineyards, too!
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 09:27 AM
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You'll be rather uncomfortable if you stay in SFO (an airport) instead of the city of San Francisco.
What is your hotel budget and what do you want to see other than a couple of vineyards with the leaves and grapes just developing?
Yesterday afternoon I walked into the Bend WalMart and right inside the door was a display of wines in small bottles (probably California). They were selling for about $3/bottle.
Coming south from San Francisco be sure to spend a night near Monterey or Big Sur.
My advice if you want to go to a vineyard is to sample at home and then go to the one you enjoyed the most.
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 09:39 AM
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I think the decision depends in part on what kind of wine you like. SB County has mostly pinot noir and chardonnay, but Bordeaux varietals as well; Paso is zinfandel country.
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 12:16 PM
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Paso is not just Zinfandel country. It has become so much more than that. You will find amazing Rhone blends, Syrahs, Petit Syrah, etc.

Personally, I like the wines in Paso Robles more than those further south. These would be my suggestions for great wines and beautiful vineyards:

Halter Ranch
Tablas Creek (Jason Haas just won winemaker of the year)
Niner
Calcareous

And please, ignore tomfuller's "advice" above. The vineyards are gorgeous any time of year and will certainly be so in May.
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Old Mar 1st, 2016, 12:35 PM
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I love the style of Paso Robles wines more but that is purely personal taste. However I love the look of the countryside in the Santa Ynez Valley much more with the green rolling hills and live oak trees.
With three nights stay one in Monterey or Carmel, one in Cambria (Paso Robles is just a short drive on Hwy 46) and one in Santa Barbara or Santa Ynez Valley. May is a great time to travel as long as you are not doing so over Memorial Day weekend.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 03:18 AM
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Thank you for the suggestions. We are staying in San Francisco not at SFO. Jamie99, I was thinking the same, one night in each as you suggested. Do you have any suggestions for hotels in those areas?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 05:12 AM
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>>Do you have any suggestions for hotels in those areas?
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Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 10:48 AM
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If you go to Paso Robles, Tobin James winery is onderful.
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Old Mar 2nd, 2016, 12:26 PM
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What janisj said, budget per night in USD for recos.
In Santa Barbara last trip we stayed at Harbor View Inn, would love to stay at Fess Parker but a bit more than I want to pay. Last stay in wine country we stayed at the Marriott Rancho Santa Barbara in Buellton but it was getting really dated and needed a remodel att.
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 04:43 PM
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The experience of driving through the Santa Maria or Santa Ynez Valley seeing the vineyards and winetasting/sightseeing is very different from staying in Santa Barbara proper and walking into the many tasting rooms downtown.

If you haven't been to the area before,and don't have a strong preference for which wineries you visit, then you could choose either experience.

Carmel Hotels:
Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley
La Playa in downtown Carmel

Paso Robles Wineries:
Tobin James
Tablas Creek

Santa Ynez Valley Hotels:
Best Friends Inn
Santa Ynez Inn

Santa Barbara Hotels:
Bacara
Fess Parkers Doubletree

Santa mAria Wine Trail:
Foxen
Presq'uile
Rancho Sisquoc
Cambria
Riverbench

Santa Barbara Tasting Rooms:

Au Bon Climat

The town most populated with wineries the Los Olivos. If you go there, dont miss the delightful J. Woste nursery and gift shop!
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Old Mar 5th, 2016, 06:21 PM
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You could definitely stay one night in Paso Robles (or Cambria as suggested above)and one in Santa Barbara. A "wine road trip."

Try to stop in Los Alamos on your way south. This tiny town is currently the foodie hot spot in north Santa Barbara county. You could even stay there and hit some tasting rooms, followed by dinner. Or just stop there and continue on to Santa Barbara.
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