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26th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival – May 16 – 18th 2008

2 p.m. – 5 p.m. for regular ticket holders and 1 p.m. admission for VIP tickets.

$125 Reserve / $75 Premium / $55 Festival / $15 Designated Driver/Child (2+)

The Paso Robles Wine Festival is always held on the third weekend in May. From what I overheard from our servers at one of the wineries we visited, the temperatures tend to soar during the festival weekend. And soar they did – 103 degrees! Even though there was an abundance of trees and shade, the heat was just about unbearable. Especially with a baby sleeping on the front of your body in a Baby Bjorn! But, nevertheless, there was a full house and just about every winery in Paso Robles was represented.

The festival is held in downtown Paso Robles in the park. To enter the event you have to obtain a wrist band and glass, and for those that are designated drivers you had a special wrist band that enabled you to drink non-alcoholic beverages such as sodas. There were white booths everywhere with numbers that refer to each winery in the brochure map so it was easy to navigate to your favorite winery or to those you had always wanted to try. There was an artisan tent that had mostly olive oils to taste & purchase and a variety of food booths. Thankfully, there were a few Fiji water booths as well supplying free cold bottles of water. Bands were playing music and many people brought chairs and picnic supplies to just hang out under a tree on the grass for the afternoon. Since we had the baby in tow, we stayed for about an hour and then headed across the street to the Downtown Brewery for some ice cold beer and air conditioning! It was a good, well organized event, but it was a pity that it was just too darn hot for lots of red wine, or any type of wine!

In conjunction with the festival over 100 Paso Robles wineries host events throughout the entire weekend at their proper location such as barbecues, live music, barrel tasting, dinners, and one even had a campout with all meals included for $300 per person! For those that have never been to Paso Robles, the scenery is incredible. The rolling hills and flowing fields of tall grass in shades of gold and green were absolutely beautiful. It was like stepping into a painting. It is a much more laid back environment than that of tourist trap Napa. It was most similar to Dry Creek with small sign posts showing where the next few wineries were and how many miles to get there. We also appreciated the laid back though courteous service by the pourers. All in all, it was a fun weekend, but I will only be visiting the wineries in future and not attend the festival. It is fun to drive the area, take in the scenery and visit and view the tasting rooms. If you don’t mind the heat while trying to taste over 70 wines then this is the festival for you! Otherwise, just go to Paso Robles, pick some wineries to try, and enjoy!

For more information and recap of the event from the site go to: http://www.pasowine.com/events/winefestival.php


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