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Paso Robles 101

Free Lesson

Section: History
Lesson: Introduction


Originally known for its healing hot springs, Paso Robles is now best known for its world class wines. From the original Native American stewards of the land to the young vibrant community today, let’s discover the 200 years of winemaking history in Paso Robles.

Paso Robles

From Hot Springs to World-Class Wines

Paso Robles' journey started with its relaxing hot springs, attracting many seeking its therapeutic waters, and the Salinan Tribe, the "People of the Oaks". They enjoyed the land long before vineyards dotted the landscape. When the 1790s rolled in, Franciscan Missionaries planted the region's first vines.

However, it was Andrew York in the 1880s who truly accelerated the region's winemaking potential. With his pioneering Zinfandel plantations on what is now York Mountain, he demonstrated the area's aptitude for viticulture.

Inspired by York's success, many others followed suit, leading to a remarkable growth in vineyards. By the early 20th century, Paso Robles had cemented its reputation as a wine-producing region and the vineyards, many of which still stand today, flourished and expanded.

However, the roaring 1920s brought the sobering reality of Prohibition, which forced many wineries to shut their doors. But Paso's spirit was unyielding. Ignace Paderewski, a visionary of his time, set the stage for the region's comeback, planting vineyards that would later secure international acclaim.

The 1960s and 70s were pivotal for Paso Robles. Legendary enologist André Tchelistcheff, championed Cabernet Sauvignon's potential in the region, while Gary Eberle's love for Syrah in the 1970s further diversified Paso's wine offerings.

Cabernet Sauvignon then became the star player in the region and, by the 1980s, Paso Robles had firmly stamped its name on the wine world map by becoming an official AVA in 1983.

The 1990s introduced the "Rhône Rangers", a group of winemakers whose love for Rhône varieties further diversified the grapes in the region.

Today, Paso Robles continues to evolve, embracing sustainability and innovation. Its compelling tale of history, community, and passion shows that Paso Robles isn't just about wine, it's a legacy. Cheers to the future!

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