Not too long ago, some people used to make big deal about the differences between the wineries on the Eastside and Westside of Paso Robles, which was confusing to many of our guests who came along with The Wine Wrangler on one of our wine tasting tours.
We’d like to tell you that there aren’t any differences at all between the wineries on the Eastside or Westside of Paso Robles, but that just isn’t true—wine is an agricultural product and which grapes grow best in an area is dependent on many things, including landscape, soil and the ecosystem of a particular area.
The Paso Robles wine region is divided into an Eastside and Westside by the Salinas River Valley which runs parallel to Highway 101. Not surprisingly, these two areas have very different geographical features and growing environments.
The Eastside of Paso Robles: Inland and further away from the Pacific Ocean, vineyards on the Eastside aren’t affected by the maritime influence. In general, the area is hotter, more arid and receives less overall moisture than the Westside. The soil is different too—mostly clay with sand and silt.
The Westside of Paso Robles: Cooler, wetter and directly influenced by the marine layer, vineyards on the Westside of Paso Robles have completely different growing conditions than their counterparts to the East. The calcareous soil is high in calcium carbonate, chalk, limestone and fossilized sea shells.
Aside from temperature, moisture and soil, there are other influences to take into consideration. Hillsides, air circulation and even the situation of the vines are all components that must be considered when planting and growing grapes. Some grapes thrive in the more arid conditions and soils of the Eastside, while others need the cooler temperatures and more calcareous soils of the Westside.
When you go on a Wine Wrangler wine tasting tour, you’ll be able to visit wineries on both the Eastside and Westside of the Paso Robles Wine Region. Tasting wines from vineyards on both sides of Highway 101 will give you a first-hand perspective of how landscape, soil and the ecosystem of an area can influence a wine.