The Westside Loop
As the name implies, Vineyard Drive is a back road adventure among undulating vineyards and tucked-away wineries. As you make your way down the sleepy two-lane road shaded by towering oak trees city life and stress fade away – and your palate awakens.
Paso’s vineyards are so expansive and diverse, the region is divided into 11 different geographic ‘sections’ called sub-AVAs (American Viticulture Areas). Vineyard Drive rolls through the Willow Creek and the Adelaida District sub-AVAs, two of the most famous districts in all of California. The must-knows include Saxum, Booker, Denner, Linne Calado, Jada and Villa Creek. Visit Booker to tour its new wine cave experience. For inspiring views and pretension-free service, a tasting on Denner’s Comus Vista can’t be beat.
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While Vineyard Drive boasts some of Paso’s most-famous wineries, it’s also home to some innovative mavericks quietly shaping the future of the region. The wineries to watch – and visit – include Clos Soléne, Paix Sur Terre, Dilecta and Thacher. Paix Sur Terre has gained prominence for making some California’s most lauded white wines. And down the road at Thacher, the winemaking team has emerged as a leader in the lower-alcohol wine movement.
Along Vineyard Drive – and nearby Peachy Canyon and Kiler Ridge Canyon roads – you’ll find two of Paso’s elite olive oil farms, Pasolivo and Kiler Ridge Olive Farm. At each, you can experience fun and educational tastings that will forever change how you view olive oil. And turn off at Opolo Vineyards, and you can taste classic Paso-style Zinfandels and arrange a spirits tasting at their Willow Creek Distillery. Willow Creek specializes in craft fruit and nut liqueurs and brandy (must-tries: the walnut liqueur and fig brandy).