Grape Expectations


Spring/Summer 2012

Grape Expectations: From elegant vineyards to rustic ranches...

Grape Expectations: From elegant vineyards to rustic ranches...

Grape Expectations: From elegant vineyards to rustic ranches...

charm meets sophistication in Paso Robles, the up-and-coming wedding
destination for oenophiles, foodies and romantics alike. Tucked into the
Centra lCoast, it serves as a beautifully functional midway point
between San Francisco and Los Angeles, 200 miles equidistant from both
cities .El Pasode Robles, or “Pass of the Oaks,” is 30 miles inland from
the ocean and the coastal towns of San Simeon (home of Hearst Castle),
Morro Bay and Cambria, boasting a pleasant Mediterranean climate that
keeps nighttime temperatures cool after hot summer days. Graceful oak
trees are sprinkled among the undulating hills and lush valleys, which
are bedecked in grapevines, evidence of the area’s most popular industry
and pastime, with more than 200 vineyards in operation.

thrives in this terroir, from the unparalleled landscapes to a rich
history of Spanish missions, local fiestas and the Wild West. “There is
just a lot to do,” gushes Kasey Helt, manager of Still Waters Vineyards.
“Between wine tasting, or being so close to the ocean, or visiting
Hearst Castle—there is so much for your guests to be a part of and to
enjoy in the area—and the weather.” As a result, Paso Robles’ wide range
of venues attracts brides of all sorts, from those with cowgirl boots
on under their gowns to those in Manolo Blahniks frolicking down an
aisle of estate vines.

Still Waters Vineyards

enchanting boutique vineyard is nestled upon a hillside with
immaculately cultivated, terraced grounds bursting with russet hues in
the autumn and bright pops of color in the spring, when thousands of
planted bulbs bloom. As many as 150 guests can watch your ceremony in
the shade of a century-old grove of olive trees overlooking a serene
valley vista of open sky and slopes of grapevines. If an intimate affair
for 80 is more to your taste, then retreat indoors to the Barrel Room. A
vegetable garden is at your caterer’s fingertips, as well as the
estate’s blend of olive oil—petite bottles of which make tasteful
wedding favors.

Silver Horse Winery

Built in
2005, this family-owned, hilltop winery is the epitome of country chic,
with a breathtaking, panoramic view of surrounding vineyards that The
New York Times deemed the best on the Central Coast. Effortless elegance
can be found at every turn, from the dramatic vaulted ceilings of the
Spanish-style architecture to the outlying reception building with room
for 400 attendees, which also features canvas walls that roll up on
sultry summer evenings. Thoughtful entertainment details, such as bocce
ball, horseshoes and outdoor firepits, allow guests to meander about as
they sip wine or nibble s’mores.

Santa Margarita Ranch

south from Paso Robles to get hitched at this historic ranch on 13,900
acres. It boasts a mid-19th-century farmhouse and a steam engine train
to transport guests from the ceremony to the reception via a scenic
route around the property. For the reception, a massive, rough-hewn barn
encloses the asistencia—a stone building, with a capacity of 275, that
was built in the 1770s as part of the California missions along the El
Camino Real. For larger groups, make it a garden affair on the expansive
grounds with space for as many as 1,000 guests.

Peachy Canyon Winery

and intimate, this winery can accommodate weddings for as many as 200,
but still lends the atmosphere of a cozy family fête. Tie the knot under
an old-fashioned gazebo, with guests looking out upon hills of vines.
The tasting room is an 1886 schoolhouse—clad in prim white
clapboard—which serves as both a classic and endearing backdrop.

Paso Robles Inn

A jewel
on the village square, this California Mission–style hotel was
originally built in 1891 on a spot long coveted for its naturalhot
springs. Those same thermal waters now flow into mineral tubs set within
deluxe guest rooms for a splash of relaxation perfect for prewedding
jitters. The well-appointed rooms look out upon lush gardens beribboned
with winding brick pathways that lead to a brookside ceremony site,
which accommodates 250 guests. Receptions take place on the outdoor
patio or inside the historic grand ballroom, which features fully
restored hardwood floors and towering ceilings. Brides adore the
one-stop-shop appeal of the inn for its proximity to downtown’s many
boutiques, tasting rooms and delectable restaurants—making rehearsal
dinners, bachelor parties and sightseeing a snap.

Eagle Castle Winery

Ideal for
those with visions of a fairytale wedding, this unique venue was built
to replicate European castles of yore. The winery specializes
inBordeauxand Rhône varietals, and together with the romantic rolling
hills and grand architecture—complete with surrounding moat—it is the
perfect setting for a royal affair. Extravagant offerings include a
rooftop location with unparalleled views, a grand hall resplendent with
tapestries and chandeliers, and an outdoor terrace with space for 250
guests to dance under the stars amid flickering torchlight.

Cass Winery

and a dash offbeat, Cass welcomes guests with a dose of hospitality.
Don’t let its top-notch wines belie its unpretentious modus operandi—a
surfboard hangs over the barbecue and it is not unusual for locals to
arrive on horseback for evening tastings. A remote hilltop meadow
encircled by fields of grapevines sets the scene for a dreamy ceremony
beneath the canopy of a 200-year-old heritage oak tree, with seating for
100. For the reception, estate chef Jacob Lovejoy creates delicious
fare from the onsite garden, with options that run from haute cuisine to
updated comfort food such as apple pie in Mason jars, beer floats or—a
groom favorite—a whole roasted pig. The veranda comfortably shelters 100
guests, but the hacienda-style winery, with its two large barn doors,
can be opened to make use of the tasting room or the cozy barrel room
with its capacity for 70 guests. 



San Luis Obispo County San Luis Obispo County Visitors Bureau 

Travel Paso Robles 


more resources including wedding planners,  florists, photographers,
caterers and more, pick up the Spring Summer issue  of California
Wedding Day magazine on stands now. 


Additional image credits: Santa Margarita Ranch, Cameron Ingalls Photography; Silver Horse Winery, Cameron Ingalls Photography; Cass Winery, Jana Williams Photography