Guided tours through authentic Paso Robles Wine Country delight and inspire
Agri Tourism is growing exponentially. Any devoted seekers of the freshest sustainably-farmed fruits and vegetables, meats, oils, cheeses, and even wines would be hard-pressed to find a more abundant region than Paso Robles Wine Country. With its golden hills, live oak trees and the Salinas River, Paso Robles has been known as a fertile land since the time of the Chumash Indians. In modern times many farms welcome visitors to explore their property, learn what goes into cultivating their products, and taste the riches of their bounty.
We are very familiar with Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery which is owned and operated by the Merrill Family, whose roots on California’s Central Coast go back nine generations. Located on the outskirts of the Paso Robles American Viticulture Area, the Merrill Family sustainably farms nearly 100 acres of estate vineyards and olive trees, which the public is welcome to explore.
On tours, owner Dana Merrill hops into the driver’s seat of his tractor and pulls a gondola that can hold several guests on an excursion through the property, where he highlights the wildlife that make their home in the vineyard, the wide range of soil types beneath the surface, and the nuances of climate, all of which influence Pomar Junction’s wines. The winery also invites members of their Parlour Wine Club to bring their horses, saddle up and ride across the property, optimally in the late afternoon when the landscape is at its most golden. After an afternoon of touring the vineyards, the perfect way to finish the day is a to sip a glass of Pomar Junction wine on their patio, beneath an ancient oak tree. For more information about Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery, call 805.238.9944, or visit www.PomarJunction.com.
Also offering tours that highlight its dedication to organic principles, Mt. Olive Organic Farm is a sustainably-operated farm that strives to offer foods which benefit both customers and the environment from which they originate. Mt. Olive is free from all chemical pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and synthetic fertilizers, which make for deliciously natural olives, oils, eggs, grains, and produce. Tours are free and cover the fruit garden, sprout house, open garden, greenhouse, herb garden, and earthworm beds, and presentations on the uses and benefits of efficient microbes are also available. Agricultural facilities like these will likely make use of greenhouse heating and other technologies to improve their growing techniques. Before or after the tour, guests can visit the Mt. Olive Organic Market, where they can purchase fruits, vegetables, fresh bread and eggs, taste olives and olive oils, peruse all-natural supplements and body care products, and even order sandwiches and boxed lunches from the on-site café. For more information or to schedule a tour, please call 805.237.0147 or visit www.MtOliveCo.com.
And yet another lovely place to visit with over 200 goats and four different breeds, Happy Acres Family Farm is an established goat dairy that prides itself on producing all-natural, hormone-free goat milk, and invites the public to gain hands-on experience on the farm. On each tour, owner Stephanie Simonin and family teach guests how to milk the goats (while highlighting the milk’s unique uses and nutritional benefits) and then how to make cheese from it, which each guest is able to take home with them. Guides describe what goes into making the farm’s handmade, all-natural cheese, ice cream, lotion, soap and other skincare products, all of which are available for sample. Happy Acres is an ideal destination for the whole family, as children can bottle-feed newborn goats, join in the milking contest, and mingle with miniature horses and other friendly farm animals. Tours last 90 minutes to two hours, and are available by appointment only by calling 805.434.7580. www.HappyAcresFamilyFarm.net.
The Paso Robles AVA has long been known for its wines and well worth a visit. With these new Agri-Tours , the Paso Robles AVA offers yet another reason to visit this very special area.