San Luis Obispo - California's Hidden Wine Country
For some, Paso Robles is the center of wine country here on the central coast. This could be because it boasts over 200 different wineries, with new tasting rooms and winery operations popping up all the time. However, San Luis Obispo is home to nearly 30 bustling wineries and has been dubbed "California's Hidden Wine Country" by Paste Magazine due to its location between Santa Barbara and Paso Robles wine countries. On average, SLO wineries are about five miles away from the Pacific Ocean allowing cool growing conditions (thus resulting in a longer growing season), temperature consistency, and complex soils commonly riddled with ancient sea fossils.
"Bucolic and small scale, SLO is both interesting in its long winemaking history (the Spanish Franciscans who built the California Missions started it!) and highly forward-thinking and modern. The 30 or so wineries in the region are turning out a lot of excellent beverages. Some tasting rooms are sleek and elegant. Some are rustic. Some are a weather-beaten picnic table under a fig tree. The dominant grapes of this region are the tried and true coastline-lovers Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but many varietals thrive here, from Albariño to Zinfandel. The spirit of this place is a complex mosaic of interconnection – it’s collaborative rather than competitive, and extremely welcoming. Most wineries in SLO are artisanal, family-driven, and very sustainability-forward. SIP certification is the norm, and biodynamic practices, water catchment and recycling systems, and dry farming are widespread. If your inner wine snob is also a climate-concerned treehugger you can feel good about wine that comes from this region."