Take a relaxing Paso Robles wine country tour
You’ve just arrived in San Luis Obispo County, a destination your wine connoisseur friend promised you is the new it wine country, with placid, pastoral vistas; down-to-earth wine makers; and elegant, world-class wines. Brimming with expectation and thirsty for proof, you begin to survey the scene, when the first real doubt enters your mind.
What you have before you is a wide swath of wine territory, twisting its way over the rugged hills and canyons of Paso Robles. Taking the shape of a roughly 35 mile by 25 mile rectangle, it contains more than 200 wineries and 26,000 vineyard acres, producing more than 40 varietals. The prospect of covering the territory suddenly seems overwhelming.
Panic sets in.
You strategize: You’ll simply limit yourself to the wineries making your favorite varietal, Syrah. A respectable tactic, but, according to PasoWine.com, that would mean choosing from 117 wineries in just the Paso area alone.
Fine. You’ll just jump in the car and see what you find. Your shoulders relax and you breathe easy at this thought—until you remember that the terrain is unfamiliar; some of the greatest wineries are undoubtedly tucked away off winding, bumpy roads through overgrown woods and on steep cliffs. A trickle of sweat forms on your brow as you compound those risks with the inevitable rise of blood alcohol levels at each stop.
Or are you? Luckily, San Luis Obispo’s wine country is also known for a unique band of friendly, helpful locals. These good-natured natives will arrive at your hotel, offering to transport you personally to their favorite hidden-away tasting rooms. They’ll crack open a bottle of champagne for you as they navigate the wild West Side, expounding upon the calcareous soil and the unique micro-climate of the Templeton Gap. After your private cellar tour, they’ll introduce you to the winemaker herself—they went to grade school together, after all. When you’ve tasted to your heart’s content, they’ll suggest you sit back, put your feet up on the smooth leather seats of their shiny limousine, and enjoy the view of the twisting vines and gnarled, mossy oak trees as they deliver you to the finest restaurant in town—don’t worry, they already made your reservations.
Call it small-town hospitality. Call it luck. But be sure to call for reservations. Helpful locals like this are in high demand.
These local wine country guides have the knowledge to make your tour memorable:
Paradise Limousine Co.
Paradise Limousine Co. offers great prices while delivering high-quality service and customer satisfaction. They offer a fleet of Cadillacs with a variety of options to choose from, individuals and groups are sure to have a professional, worry-free experience. Offering wine tours, weddings, special events, and airport transportation. paradiselimousineco.com For all of your Paso Robles limousine needs call (805) 610-2724.
For Isaiah Streamland, who has lived in Paso Robles since he was 10, a day of work used to entail the back-breaking pursuits of doing dry wall construction. But when the building industry went bust six or seven years ago, he did the next logical thing: he bought a limo. “I figured I had to do something, so I ended up driving a limo for a local limousine company, and of course I realized I didn’t want to go back to dry wall.” Go figure. He purchased a Super Stretch Limousine to start his own touring business and has since added a Chrysler 300 Sedan and a 14-passenger party bus to his quiver, in addition to personal driver services. “You meet so many nice people from all over the world,” he says of his work that now consists primarily of wine tasting tours. “And it definitely beats doing construction,” he laughs. He enjoys taking care of the details for his guests, and sharing his broad knowledge of the area. “I grew up with a lot of the people working for the wineries,” he says, and he is always happy to turn his connections into special deals and exclusive tours for his guests. (805) 423-6838, pasorobleslimotours.com
Roger & Melinda Whitney
Two years ago, Roger Whitney and his wife Melinda were just regular wine-lovers, trying to enjoy the fruits of their home town to the fullest. It was Melinda’s birthday, and she wanted to hire a tour company. “We had a heck of a time trying to find a wine tour company that could fit our needs and our budget,” she explains. “We didn’t want people to have to get in and out of a van.” Happily, she discovered the limo-bus option at Revel Rides. Even more happily, a year later, the company sold the business to her and Roger. Today, they offer an 8-passenger Lincoln Stretch Limousine, the unique 22-passenger limo party bus, a “green” natural gas-powered 14-passenger party shuttle, and a Chevy Tahoe. Roger, who grew up on the Central Coast, handles most of the business, claiming that he loves the customer service aspect. “He says, every time, the people on the tours make his day,” Melinda says. And Revel Rides does everything possible to provide the luxuries, leg room and service that will make your day, as well. (805) 591-9190.
Uncorked Wine Tours
Distinguished by her signature Captain’s hat, Katie Hayward is an Atascadero native, a certified sommelier and a born adventurer. When she is not busy acting as First Mate to her Captain husband on a 50-foot catamaran in the Virgin Islands, she is steering visitors in the right direction through the wild waters of local wine country. A sweet, bubbly “people-person,” she enjoys “traveling” vicariously through her customers’ tours, offering them a six-passenger luxury conversion van; a 10-passenger van; and, most recently, a 14-passenger turtle-top bus, to cater to private parties of up to 30 people. More than an average chauffeur, she says she enjoys helping to plan out the route, take fun photos of guests, and arrange special tastings or reservations, telling her passengers, “All they have to worry about is drinking wine that day.” (805) 459-4500; uncorkedwinetours.net