Over 100 wineries participated in the COVID-friendly event, welcoming visitors back safely

Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance (PRWCA) celebrated their Vintage Paso: Zinfandel weekend on Mar. 19 through the 21. 

More than 100 wineries participated in the newly designed and COVID-friendly event. 

J Dusi Wines team celebrated a fully booked Vintage Paso Weekend with food and live music. Photo Courtesy of J Dusi Wines

In previous years, PRWCA hosted a single marquee event featuring Paso Robles Zinfandel wines with indoor wine tasting, food, and music. Due to COVID restrictions on large indoor gatherings, PRWCA had to change things up a bit.

Vintage Paso: Zinfandel has been taking place since 2014 and was previously known as the Paso Robles Zinfandel Festival.

However, the PRWCA has been hosting a Zinfandel-themed festival on the third weekend of March since 1992.

Instead of hosting one single event, Vintage Paso was spread across three days, with wineries hosting their own outdoor events while still adhering to county and state health guidelines. 

Still Waters Vineyard celebrated Zin Fest weekend in Paso Robles, welcoming folks back and feeling Spring in the air. Photo Courtesy of Still Waters Vineyard

“By hosting individual, smaller scale and more intimate events, they were able to welcome visitors safely back into wine country. The weekend weather was spectacular and allowed for visitors to be outdoors and socially separated. Wineries provided some entertainment and food options through the weekend to visitors who were mostly welcomed by reservation only,” said Chris Taranto, the Communications Director at PRWCA.

Wineries like Sarzotti Family Vineyards and Winery provided a tri-tip lunch and musical entertainment with their tasting. Ranchita Canyon poured three different Zinfandel wines paired with small specialty bites. Many wineries throughout the county had music and specialty food for their weekend tasters. 

All the participating wineries were by reservation only, and many of them were completely booked up for the weekend, meaning a successful three days for the wineries overall.

Each year, the PRWCA hosts three large events, which come with themed weekends that wineries in the area participate in by hosting their own smaller events. 

Vintage Paso is the event to kick off the year. Next, PRWCA will be hosting their May event, the Paso Robles Wine Festival.

The wine festival will take place from May 10 through the 16 and will be run similarly to the Vintage Paso event, with some added events hosted by the PRWCA.

On May 10, PRWCA will launch their first Paso Robles Wine Country Virtual Auction. 

“This auction will raise funds for the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance Foundation that gives back to the local community primarily through scholarships,” says Taranto.

From the PRWCA press release, 

Bella Luna kicked off ZinFest Weekend by raffling off a 20L keg of our Fighter Pilot Red Zinfandel, and the winner was @baileyytesterman. Photo courtesy of Bella Luna

“This online auction features over 25 lots from more than 50 Paso Robles wine country businesses, including wineries, hotels, restaurants, tour companies, and recreation outfitters. The specially curated auction lots are exclusive packages that are not available as retail experiences where wineries not only offer wine but luxury overnight stays in wine country, winemaker dinners at Paso’s best restaurants, high-touch educational vineyard tours, as well as rare and allocated wines.”

PRWCA will also be hosting small ticketed exertion experiences, all adhering to COVID protocols.

Taranto says, “These excursions are ticketed experiences that have small groups out experiencing Paso Robles Wine Country is unique and curated ways that create memorable experiences, like vineyard tours, painting in the vineyard, hikes, and outdoor seminars that educate about viticulture and farming.”

Later this year, wine lovers can participate in the annual Harvest Wine Weekend in October. This event has always been a themed weekend where wineries plan their own individual events with no ticketed event by the PRWCA.

For more information on the PRWCA and Paso Robles wine country, visit pasowine.com

Getting through this together, Atascadero