The race to Paso Robles Wine Country

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011

CavendishAMGENIn May of 2011, a lucky happenstance occurs. The Amgen Tour of California, the largest cycling race in the United States, meets the Paso Robles Wine Festival, the largest outdoor wine tasting of its kind in California. Occurring just one day apart, these two events offer up the perfect opportunity to come to Paso Robles for a lively, action-packed, thoroughly unique visit.

The largest cycling event in America, the 2011 Amgen Tour of California is a Tour de France-style cycling road race that challenges the world’s top professional cycling teams to compete along a demanding 800+-mile course from May 15 – 22, 2011. The race regularly attracts high caliber cyclists like Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Mark Cavendish.

On Thursday, May 19, Stage 5 of the race crosses the finish line in Paso Robles, where thousands of spectators come out to see over 100 professional cyclists from all over the globe fly through Paso Robles wine country for the glory of winning the longest stage of this year’s Amgen Tour of California in Paso Robles.

The day offers a free Kids Race, an adult “Fantasy Ride” for competitive cycling fans, the free and exciting Lifestyle Festival, large screen televisions throughout the downtown city park to watch the race live on its approach to Paso Robles, live entertainment, a Kids Zone and more.

To help celebrate the 2011 Amgen Tour of California and kick-off the 29th Annual Paso Robles Wine Festival, many wineries along the route will host Watch Parties, so cycling fans have numerous options for viewing the race while enjoying a taste of local wines.

The excitement of the Amgen Tour of California leads perfectly into a party that celebrates the distinct and different wines of Paso Robles. Friday evening kicks off the Wine Festival with the unique RESERVE event in the downtown city park, which gives an insider’s view into Paso Robles wines that cannot be found on the open market.

RESERVE is a unique tasting like none other with over fifty of the area’s top wineries showcasing only one wine to the public. The wine chosen must be designated either a reserve wine (wine of a higher caliber as designated by the winery), a library wine (no longer available for sale and now resides only in the winery’s personal “library”) or a Power White / Rosé (white and pink wines that rival their red counterparts in structure, tannin and mouth feel). New to RESERVE is a Future’s category where wineries can provide a barrel sample (wine has not been bottled which was pulled directly from the barrel) as a preview to a new corresponding auction category – the Futures Auction – at the Wine Country Auction and Dinner.

Saturday is the Grand Tasting, showcasing more than 90 Paso Robles wineries and over 400 wines, the event also features local musical talent, gourmet food items, cooking demonstrations, wine tasting seminars, and more. It is the largest outdoor wine tasting event focused on a single appellation in California where you will often find the winemaker or winery owner pouring their wines for you.

The extended weekend concludes on Sunday with a big breakfast then some sightseeing, shopping or case collecting before heading home. Many of the wineries from the Wine Festival hold their own independent events throughout the day with live music, brunch or barbecues, special tastings, and other unique opportunities only had by visiting the over 170 wineries in the area. Fun like this can lead to another night stay, and Paso Robles has plenty for you to do: museums, art studios, agricultural adventures, natural hot springs, golf and more.

For more information about Stage 5 of the Amgen Tour of California, go to www.prcity.com/amgentourofca. For more information about the Wine Festival go to www.pasowine.com

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