SLO CAL tasting rooms offer up fab views, family fun, live music, food and so much more

SLO CAL resides way beyond the status quo, and our wine is no exception. Whatever you’ve come to expect from a standard winery experience, we say throw that idea right out the window! In SLO CAL, wineries aren’t just for tasting award-winning vintages or deciphering tasting notes. They’re exciting places to gather, savor, and celebrate with the ones you love most. Booty shakers, family vacationers and passionate foodies alike: This guide’s for you. Here are 4 good reasons why you should embark on your own surprising SLO CAL wine adventure:

1. You haven’t Rocked Out in a While

Winery MusicWhen’s the last time you lost control and shook your body to the beat? If it’s longer than you’d care to admit, don’t fret. SLO CAL is home to some of the coolest music venues around: wineries!

Biddle Ranch Winery in Edna Valley hosts its Summer Concert Series May 10, June 14, July 12, August 9, and Sept. 13. Shake your groove thing while taking in sweeping vineyard views, enjoy a glass or bottle of wine, and dine on feel-good food (bring a comfy lawn chair and you may never want to leave).

Fellow Edna Valley hot spot Claiborne and Churchill hosts its anticipated annual Sips & Songs concert series each Friday in spring and summer.

Pear Valley Vineyard in Paso Robles is known for dynamic Friday Music nights (June 1, July 6, and August 3). You can also expect food from locally loved vendors like Micro BBQ Co. and the Pairing Knife. Don’t forget to Pop in for Pops at Pear Valley this June 16 with live music by the Bob Santa Cruz Duo. I think I hear your song!

2. Two Words. Nom nom!

Wine Country picnic

Seeking a foodie-approved lunch? You don’t have to leave the wine trail for that. Cass Winery in Paso Robles offers up beefy burgers sourced from homegrown cattle, bacon sizzled over spent syrah vines, and killer salads, sandwiches, and cheese and meat plates, too. The best part? The ambiance is totally casual! Pull up a chair inside or on the patio and bring your buds along for a satisfying afternoon. Did we mention that the wine tasting staff bring the tasting list to you?

If you think winery food is all about popping a few olives and munching on stale crackers, think again. Croad in Paso Robles throws an epic Sausage Sizzle every second and fourth Saturday through spring and summer. Nosh on a grilled banger with onions on a toasted white roll and experience wine country grub at its most flavorful (sizzles are slated for April 28, May 12 and 26, June 9 and 23, July 14 and 25 and September 8 and 22).

Justin Winery in Paso Robles is home to an award-winning restaurant known for plating farm fresh ingredients (plus herbs are often pulled from an onsite chef’s garden). Reserve a quiet and romantic dinner for two and watch the sparks fly.

Tolosa Winery in SLO wants you to leave full and happy—not to mention, educated. Swing by their elegant tasting room this summer, where the winery’s boutique pinot noir is always paired to expert perfection. Mark your calendar for Pinot and Pizza June 17, Pinot and Pork August 26, Pinot and Paella on September 23 and Wine and Cheese October 14. We’re stuffed! A nap is in order.

3. The Whole Fam’s Invited

wine country bikesEven if you’re on vacation with the kids, you can still experience fantastic wines and top-notch wine country hospitality. SLO CAL is all about family-friendly inclusiveness and a relaxing rural vibe that encourages everyone to stretch their legs and hit the reset button.

Talley Vineyards is the place to be this Cinco de Mayo with kiddos in tow. The sprawling Arroyo Grande vineyard and farm will play host to live music, lawn games, and munchies provided Fire and Wine Food Truck this May 6. The tasting room is casual with a nearby picnic ground area perfect for hanging with the whole clan (fur babies welcome).

J Lohr Wines in Paso Robles has been making great wine since the 70s, but they don’t have a big head about it. Swing by this unpretentious tasting room, where you’ll truly feel the warmth the area’s wine country-meets cowboy country charm (as always, no reservations needed to break out a few tri-tip sandos at the J. Lohr picnic area).

Baileyana in Edna Valley is like something out of a storybook dream. Your kids will love to pose for pics outside the historic Independence Schoolhouse, built in 1909. Taste a selection of wines chosen from 30 different white and red offerings across all five brands, including Tangent and True Myth wines. Browse an enticing shop stocked with gourmet foods and charming gifts everyone will want to claim as their own. Ample outdoor seating with views across vine, valley and mountains will enchant all ages. Bring your own picnic or pick up some gourmet cheese, salami and crackers right there at the tasting room. With two bocce ball courts onsite, the kids are welcome to busy themselves with a bit of friendly competition. That means all you have to do is sip and enjoy the old-timey ambiance.

4. Expect the Unexpected

avilaJust when you think you’ve got SLO CAL figured out, you realize there’s so much more to explore. Like: the beach? Oh yes! The SLO CAL coast is home to a slew of great wineries, including Croma Vera Wines, nestled just steps from the sand in scenic Avila Beach. Spend the morning surfing, the afternoon strolling the pier, then get your hands on a luscious lineup of coastal wines.

Paso Robles wine is all about breaking the rules (bold blends are common around these parts). It makes sense that Paso Robles tasting rooms show their true colors too. Like at Hope Family Wine’s tasting room/lounge, a modern hangout filled with natural light. Here, you’re invited to linger a little longer and even take a dive into your creative side. Try your hand at a Paint Your Pet event kicking off at the tasting room this May 1 (If you prefer to go a bit moodier, come on July 11 and learn how to paint a skull). All materials are provided for you and instructors are here to help you find your inner artist. We promise—he/she is in there!

Tablas Creek Vineyard in Paso Robles knows how to slow things down and elevate your average wine education experience to new levels. Enjoy the winery’s new seated flight tastings, where you’ll enjoy Rhône style wines, one-on-one guidance, and even a selection of books to thumb through at your leisure.

Want to hang out just a little later in SLO CAL and catch one of those special sunsets everyone’s always raving about? Stake your spot at a Sunset it the Vineyard event at Wolff Vineyards in Edna Valley, which offers extended hours every Friday through the summer. Kick up your feet, sip a glass of Wolff Vineyards wine in the garden, enjoy some live music, and nosh on food truck flavors while watching the sun sink from 5 p.m. till sunset. Sounds like a day well spent!  

Surprise and Delight: Discover More SLO CAL’s Wine Experiences

Don’t stop here! Go forth and taste all the unique wine experiences for yourself. The Paso Robles Wine Festival is coming up May 17-20 featuring hundreds of wineries in one convenient stop. Additionally, many local wineries are offering special winemaker dinners, concerts tours, barrel tastings, and events during the festival weekend as well as throughout the spring and summer. Learn more about the diverse array of SLO CAL wineries and upcoming offerings now.