Bring your Hat - Monterey to Paso Robles to Santa Barbara Califorina

Fly into San Francisco and drive south to Monterey. We stayed at the Marriott and had dinner at Casanovas. For a quick bite 12 Turn is in walking distance from the hotel.

Day 1 Drive 30 minutes south on 101 to Folktale Winery for a big lunch and wine tasting. Beautiful property with an amazing garden for dining. The food was delicious and they sell the pepper oil from their famous pizza in the shop. 
Head south on 101 towards Paso. If time permits you will drive by several award winning wineries along the way to visit. We stopped at Hahn and Scheid. 
It took about 3 hours to get to Paso. We stayed at the SummerWood Inn and winery. We received a welcome bottle of wine and enjoyed their nightly happy hour of wine and cheese. The property is so beautiful and the wine was perfection after a long day. We closed out our night at a Paso must see, Sensorio.
This is a magical light show installation just outside town.

Day 2 We start with the SummerWood chef this morning. He made us eggs benedict, fresh yogurt and homemade granola. Yum. It was a crispy morning in Paso and we headed across town to meet up with Central Coast Trail Rides at the Cass Vineyard for a ride amongst the vines and dry creek bed. My big gentle horse kept me warm and the changing colors, falling leaves and clear sky were inspiring.  

After our ride we headed to the Cass winery for a tasting and lunch. Once again we were treated to amazing food and wine. They overdelivered on service and flavor. Our favorite was the big Ted. 
Our next stop is another Paso icon, Sculpterra winery and gardens. Greeted by larger than life sculptures of metal and stone, live music and another full tasting. It was overwhelming how much beauty we saw that day. Next we went back to the SummerWood for a rest and happy hour before heading into town for dinner at Fish Gaucho. The ceviche was the best.

Day 3 The chef prepared a country style breakfast and French toast. Both winners. It was downright cold this morning at 31 degrees, but I had decided on e-bikes today from Paso Robles Tour Co. The bikes were delivered to us on Friday and were ready to go. I bundled up in a ridiculous riding outfit with hand warmers stuffed into my gloves and still barely tolerated the ride to our first stop. We arrived at the Hope Family winery just in time to defrost me with wine, a blanket and heaters. I’ve had their wine before only it’s much different when you go to the source. They took such good care of us and our host truly loved every wine he poured.

Back on the bikes it had warmed up to a more tolerable temperature as we made our way to Niner. Highly recommended for their wine and food. Beautiful property dotted with massive stone structures for the tasting room, event hall and administrative. It was an impressive place with a warm heart. Our host made sure we we warmed by a heater and had the best view of the vines. The food rivaled the wine. It was hard to leave. Last on our bike tour that day was Booker. My gps took us on a secret route marked by an employee only sign through the vineyard. It dropped us right in front of Booker with one problem.. there was a fence that divided the properties. Luckily a lovely man in a truck saw our predicament and let us through the gate. Everyone we met in Paso had a genuine good heart. Booker built a new modern tasting room up the hill from their old one. We were the only ones on bikes everywhere we went that day bringing smiles to all. I included Booker for several reasons, but high on the list is their wine dog Ella. The professionalism and wine knowledge of the young staff was impressive. The wine wasn’t too shabby either. If time permitted we were set to ride to Tin City next, but it was getting cold again so we headed back to the SummerWood for happy hour to rest. We did drive to Tin City, but the wineries were already closed. Desparada, ONX, Jacob Toft and Wine shine were on my short list. We finished out our night at McPhees Grill for dinner. It was classic Paso just past Tin City.

Day 4 Our last morning with chef and it was a vegetable Frittata to get us going. We stopped at the SummerWood winery for our free tasting and headed to Daou Mountain for an adventure. It was cold, windy and raining. I almost lost my hat. The view from the Mountain that I had been waiting to see was too foggy to see much, but inside was warm and friendly. Greeted by the sleeping winery cat and a glass of rosé we were led to our table by the fireplace. I have had their wine before, but the ones they offered at the tasting room aren’t available at my local shop. We ordered a massive charcuterie board and relaxed there for almost 2 hours. Not a bad wine to be found on that mountain. Lastly we jumped back on the 101 and headed south to Santa Barbara. My friends own Samsara winery and it was worth the two hour drive. The tasting room fronts their production facility and thanks to the rain we had the place mostly to ourselves. We did a full tasting and joined their club. It was my husband’s favorite of the trip. Sadly we drove straight to the LAX airport after that tasting and flew back home to Florida wearing all three of my new hats on my head. 

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