Paso Robles Festivals

Paso Robles Festivals

1. Zinfandel Festival - March

The Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival is a weekend of events celebrating the old and the new Zinfandel vines that have contributed to making the fabulous wines and blends that are so important to Paso’s development. The second largest Zin festival in California, over fifty wineries come together to showcase their best Zin and Zin-blends. Zin-friendly foods are paired with the wine during the festival. In addition to the wine and food samplings, there is a Wine Country Auction, the highlight of the festival.

European Zinfandel vines arrived during the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth centuries. A few old vines survived on some estates despite the destruction of many vineyards during Prohibition. Those old vines are still producing spectacular Zinfandel vintages into the twenty first century.
(805) 239-8463

2. Paso Robles Wine Festival - May

The Chicago Sun-Times labeled the Paso Robles Wine Festival as “Best Festival.” The local wine festival has been held for nearly thirty years and activities always start in the Paso Robles downtown city park and spread out to more than 140 local participating wineries. And it’s not just about the wine, anymore. More and more emphasis is being put on pairing food and wine. Wine country cuisine has been pushed to the forefront with winemaker dinners, an auction and the Friday evening RESERVE Tasting at fine local restaurants, olive oil, nut and cheese tasting, and even five bread, cheese and water stations throughout the park. Tickets start at $15 for designated drivers and go up to $325 for the Wine Country Auction and Dinner with a weekend pass to all events.
(800) 549-WINE

3. Mid State Fair - July

Advertised as the “Biggest Little Fair Anywhere,” the California Mid State Fair lives up to its reputation. For two weeks in July/August, gooey, sugary, salty fair chow is consumed with little thought to health or longevity. There are the usual home arts exhibits, crafts made by school kids, photography and fine art contest entries, and fruit, vegetable and flower ribbon winners.

But this little fair also attracts big name talent. Huge entertainment names have played the diminutive county fair including Alan Jackson, Black Eyed Peas, Kiss, Aerosmith, Bob Dylan, Carrie Underwood, and Rod Stewart. Free entertainment is included in the price of admission at two stages on the fairgrounds.

4. Harvest Wine Festival - October

The third weekend in October, the Harvest Wine Weekend celebrates the beginning of the creation of the new year’s vintage. Late summer and into the fall is when the wine making process begins. Grapes are picked, delivered, crushed, and fermented. The vineyards go through this progression, year after year and only if the ever unpredictable Mother Nature has been kind enough to bless the vines with enough sun and rain and growing time, does the incredibly precarious process create a memorable bottle of wine.

During the Harvest Wine Weekend, the doors of 140 vineyards are thrown open and for three days the public is invited to watch the harvested grapes being pressed on the crush pads, attend winemaker dinners and seminars, evening wine and food receptions, vineyard barbeques, listen to live music, tour wineries and vineyards, and attend lots of other activities. Check the website for a schedule of events, by activity and/or by winery.
(800) 549-WINE

5. CRAVE, a Paso Robles Wine Experience - October

CRAVE is held in San Luis Obispo at the end of October. Paso Robles wines from forty wineries are sampled and paired with fine food during an evening which includes live music in lounge-like surroundings. The event is held at the San Luis Obispo Vets Hall, from 7:30 to 10:00 p.m. Tickets are $55 at the door, and $10 less presale. Tickets for this very popular event sell out every year. Unlimited tasting, great food and music on a Friday night in the fall. What’s not to like?
(800) 549-WINE

6. Paderewski Festival - November

Although he was from Poland, the famous virtuoso pianist and composer, Ignancy Jan Paderewski, is considered the city’s favorite son. He interrupted his world tour in 1914 to “take the cure” for three months in the healing waters of the local mineral springs to soothe his arthritis. He later returned to live in the Paso Robles Inn and is credited with planting California’s first Zinfandel grape vines on the property he bought near Adelaide.

Mid-November weekend events include an opening concert, student piano competitions and recitals, Polish Jazz Concert, tours of the former Paderewski ranch and vineyard, lectures on the life and work of the renowned Polish statesman and musician. Paso Robles’ sister city of Tarnow, Poland, Paderewski’s home, hosted Central Coast students who won the 2008 and 2009 Paderewski Young Pianist Competition for workshops and concerts.

Limited Friends of Paderewski VIP Passes are available for $150, which includes preferred concert seating, lunch and wine tasting, and admission to all scheduled weekend events.
(805) 239-4437