Best Paso Wineries for Large Groups
My 30th Birthday is Memorial weekend which will include wine tasting on Sunday. My group will be about 20-24 *gasp* people. I know how wineries and wine tasters alike are weary of large groups (who can blame them with limos full of Poly students looking to get drunk). So here is my dilema. I need wineries who don't mind accomodating large groups (I will be making phone calls this week) but I also want good wines - so no factories like Meridian. I'm from the 5 cities and taste often, so I am familiar with the area.
I have Clautier and Tobin in mind already - so if anyone can give me some more suggestions I'd really appreciate it! ps I have actually never been to Eberle and was wondering if the cave tour would be enjoyable. Thanks everyone!!
For a large group I would definitly go to Eberle. Meridian is ok, but you want the limited release wines, those are much superior to the regular stuff. I might also suggest (please don't jump on me) Castoro. Yeah I know their wines are not that complex, but they are not corporate, they are one of the pioneers up in Paso, they have something for everyone, and they really are nice
Actually, I was considering Castoro (I must admit I like their muscat). Many in the group like sweeter wines and since Castoro is budget friendly, it would be a nice place to go for those who don't wish to spend too much on a bottle. Thanks! I will definately add them to my list. I have not been there yet, but I have heard their grounds are beautiful.
I agree with littlestevie on both Eberle and Castoro. I take a large group to Paso every year, and both wineries have lovely grounds and something for everyone. Eberle would probably set you up outside, but Castoro has an extra tasting room where they put groups. You could even bring a picnic to Castoro, they have plenty of tables there - Eberle has tables too, but that large of a group would pretty much take over the picnic area.
Midnight Cellars can take groups as well, I am considering them for next year...
Have a great time.
If you're going on the eastside to Eberle or Tobin James I'd suggest Vina Robles and Robert Hall. They both have large tasting rooms.
Happy Birthday! <ah, to be 30 and flirty again>
The east side has more larger tasting rooms, and I agree with all the recs listed so far. I like Castoro, but the service can be iffy I have had several bad experiences there, and I would almost qualify it for a "factory" like you mentioned. As long as you and your group are setting out with the intention of buying wine (for you, for your birthday), and not for a free drunk (an activity not just limited to Cal Poly students, btw), then any winery will welcome you with open arms. I suggest calling ahead. If you are already planning on visiting Clautiere and TJ's you might stay on the eastside and visit Rio Seco and Penman (although that might be a tight squeeze). Someone already mentioned Vina Robles and highly recommend them. Firestone (again, a little factory-ish) was a lot of fun when you could walk and see Andrew every weekend (swoon). I joined their wine club for the simple fact that they have a loft that is available to members and their guests for $250 bucks a night. They are now owned by Foley (Santa Ynez), which makes great wines and might be worth checking out. They can definitely accomodate a large crowd.
Now, if you were planning on touring the westside, I would recommend calling John Munch at Le Cuvier. He will give you a private tour and you will taste some awesome wines. I don't care for barrel samples, but his wines are in the barrel so long that what you are sampling is bottle ready for others. Rich Hartenberger at Midnight Cellars will also give you a private tour if you call ahead and tasting is like $3. The view at Wild Coyote is the best around and they can take a large group. The tasting room at Denner is huge but I found the tasting fee to be a bit steep.
Another great eastside tasting room that can handle a large group is J. Lohr, a gorgeous view. They have a regular tasting which is $5 and a reserve (I recommend) for $10