Wine Country Itinerary: Paso Robles South

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By Courtney Cochran

There has never been a better time to visit Paso Robles.  As little as ten years ago, the coastal town and its environs - though home to some of the most promising wineries in California - were still relatively undeveloped, with little to offer tourists in the way of entertainment, lodging and dining options.  Not so any more:  today, "Paso" - as the locals call it - is teeming with new restaurants, inns and well-appointed winery tasting rooms catering to the growing number of visitors who choose to make the Central Coast their California wine country destination of choice.
And thanks its relatively remote location - Paso Robles is more than 200 miles south of the Bay Area and roughly the same distance north of Los Angeles - there's little chance Paso will ever strain from the amusement park-like crowds or headache-inducing traffic seen in Napa.  Instead, visitors can look forward to small-town ambiance and little or no traffic on the wine roads - factors that invite the relaxed sort of touring that's increasingly rare in California.  All this, and Paso boasts world-class wine to boot, making us wonder: What more could you want from your next wine country adventure?  Note: this itinerary explores wineries south of downtown Paso Robles along Route 46W.

Winery 1 - Peachy Canyon Winery
Housed at the site of the historic Old Bethel School House (built in 1886), Peachy Canyon's tasting room is know as one of the most welcoming in the Paso area. Visitors will delight in the property's signature Central Coast feel, epitomized in impressive vistas of the surrounding hills dotted with chaparral and live oaks. Whatever you do, don't miss Peachy Canyon's Zin - it's some of the most sought-after on the Central Coast.
Tasting Room: 1480 N. Bethel Rd., Templeton, CA 93465; Open daily 11am-5pm
Tasting Fee: $5 for 6 wines; fee waived with purchase

Winery 2 - Castoro Cellars
Just a few minutes' drive will take you to nearby Castoro Cellars, producer of a wide variety of cuvées including some of the best white wines you'll find on the coast. Be sure to try Castoro's award-winning Viognier before heading outside the Mediterranean-style tasting room for a picnic. Guests are invited to enjoy their own food along with Castoro wines on the lush grounds surrounded by meandering grape arbors, cork trees and - what else? - Zinfandel vines.
Tasting Room: 1315 North Bethel Rd., Templeton, CA 93465; Open daily 10:30am-5:30pm
Tasting Fee: 3 tastes complimentary or 7 tastes for $3; fee waived with purchase

Winery 3 - Eagle Castle Winery
Given its tagline - "a royal experience" - you know you're in for a treat when visiting Eagle Castle. Not just a castle in name, the winery boasts a real moat out front as well as turrets atop its impressive façade, though its wines - thankfully - are far more real than the stuff of fairy tales. We like the refreshing Rosé of Syrah, a wine that's just playful enough to harmonize with the fantastical atmosphere while delivering plenty of the lush fruit flavors we love in wines from Paso. Haven't got enough? The truly enchanted can opt to join the Nights & Maidens Cellar Club before leaving the castle.
Tasting Room:  3090 Anderson Rd., Paso Robles, CA 93446; Open daily 10:30am-5:30pm
Tasting Fee: 5 tastes complimentary

Winery 5 - Midnight Cellars
A visit to family-run Midnight Cellars is the perfect way to wrap up the day. Run by Chicago transplants who were so enchanted by California wine country they picked up and moved west (can we blame them?), Midnight Cellars offers guests a lush garden setting in which to sample the likes of full-bodied winners like Gemini, the winery's signature blend of Syrah and Zinfandel. We think you'll agree: With its beautiful yard and attentive staff, Midnight makes the perfect spot to slow down, take a seat and sip in the beauty of Paso at sundown.
Tasting Room: 2925 Anderson Rd,. Paso Robles, CA 93446; Open daily 10am-5:30pm
Tasting Fee: $5 for 6 or $10 for 6 with a glass8:26 AM 9/9/2008

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can you tell me where "cupcake winery" is, or who makes it and where they are located?

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