You’ve decided to take a trip to beautiful California wine country and you can’t decide which region to visit, Napa or Paso Robles. I visit both regions often and love them both for different reasons. Let’s start with some basic information on each region.
- 45,000 acres of grapes
- 33 soil types
- 34 wine varietals
- Over 400 wineries
- Known for Bordeaux and Burgundian wines
- 40,000 acres of grapes
- 30 soil types
- 69 wine varietals
- Over 200 wineries
- Known for Rhone wines and blends
Paso Robles is a small, welcoming agricultural town of just over 30,000. It is a beautiful town with rolling hills that are unbelievably green in the Spring. The downtown square centers around a park where many wine events and Thursday night Concerts in the Park are held in the summer. Many of the wineries have live music on the weekends. There are many tasting rooms downtown as well, so you can go on a wine stroll in addition to driving out to the vineyards to taste wine. The people are very friendly and down-to-earth. Most of the wineries do not require an appointment to visit, and the tastings are generally around $15 per person. Oftentimes you will meet the winemaker in the tasting room! Wine brings good restaurants to town and Paso has many. They also have the best VRBO’s (Vacation Rental by Owner) we’ve stayed at. It is such a relaxing and affordable wine region to visit.
The Napa Valley is my Happy Place! As you travel up and down the main drag, 29, there are gorgeous mountains ranges on either side. It is simply breathtaking. Like Paso, they host many wine events and even have the annual Napa Valley Film Festival. However, Napa is very spendy. You must have an appointment to taste wine at most places, and the tastings range in price from $25 – $80 or more per person. For that price you are often required to take a tour as well. You learn a lot on the tours, but once you’ve been to a few you feel like you could give them. I’ve never seen a winemaker in a tasting room in Napa. Some of the wineries are owned by huge beverage companies. There are still family owned wineries there though. It seems like a lot of people that made their money in things like tech and race car driving own wineries in Napa. The tasting rooms are incredibly beautiful. Like Paso there are many amazing restaurants to dine at in Napa. With a few exceptions the restaurants and lodging are expensive. And did I mention traffic! In the summer months it is difficult to pull onto the 29. It’s like Disneyland for adults. Don’t go in the summer. It’s crazy! Go off-season for a more relaxing visit.
My husband would be fine if we never went to Napa again, but I LOVE Cab and Napa makes the best ones I’ve ever had. That plus the beauty of the area keeps me coming back. But for budget reasons we go to Paso Robles a lot more often. I love both. I’d love to hear your thoughts on both of these wonderful wine regions. Cheers! 🍷