Cindy Lambert has utilized research found in Paso Robles AVA historical information created initially in the petition written on July 26, 1982 submitted to the Department of the Treasury Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in Washington, D.C. along with some information from a blog written from March  2020 to October 2021 by Christopher (Chris) Taranto, the Communications Director of the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance since 2007. And to continue, future information will make use of the additional research done by Larry Roberts and Carol Manning for the California Central Coast Wine Growers Association (CCWGA) along with WHP interviews with Gary Eberle, Noreen Martin, Victor Hugo Roberts and July Ackerman.

These major records, along with a variety of information from local winemakers, internet resources, and historical data from books and various newspaper and magazine articles throughout the years have been used as my starting point.
Much work and research will need to be done to obtain a fruitful and complete provenance on this topic. We will continue to update you on our progress of this information. 

Much work and research will need to be done to obtain a fruitful and complete provenance on this topic. We will continue to update you on our progress with this information. 

An example of what information is started for the spreadsheet on the Paso Robles AVA.

Date the Area Originally Established in SLO County

The city of Paso Robles was founded in 1889. It has an important agricultural history.

Date the AVA Established

A letter was sent to the Director of the Department of the Treasury Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms on July 26, 1982, on letterhead from the Martin Brothers Winery. 

The letter states, “This petition is a joint and collaborative effort of the wineries and winegrowers in the proposed area.” It continues, “The unanimity (sic) of fourteen wineries and the grape growers of over 3,800 acres in the proposed area express the favorable opinion of nearly 100% of all those affected by the appellation”. 

Included are documents, known as exhibits, to substantiate the criteria to seek approval of the appellation. The AVA was approved in 1983; which was large to accommodate all the existing vineyards and wineries at the time. 

These documents now reside in the Paso Robles “file” of our WHP electronic archives.


An early label from their famous Nebbiolo prior to the AVA designation

 Vineyard Acres Planted With Wine Grapes as of  2022

According to an article dated July 15, 2022, by the Wine Industry Advisor  ) Paso Robles Wine Country is California’s third-largest wine region and encompasses more than 40,000 vineyard acres and 200 wineries.

Notable History of Area

In 1981 the California Central Coast Wine Growers Association published the following list of 13 wineries in what became the Paso Robles Appellation.

Caparone Winery, Estrella River Winery, HMR, Las Tablas Winery, Mastantuono Winery, Pesenti Winery, Ranchita Oaks Winery, York Mountain, El Paso De Robles, Fairview Farm Vineyard, Martin & MacFarlane Winery, Old Casteel Vineyard, and Tobias Vineyard. 

In 2022, more than 200 wineries in Paso Robles AVA exist. The Paso Robles AVA is part of the California Central Coast AVA.  The area is situated on the inland side of the Santa Lucia Coastal Mountains in San Luis Obispo County. It is a rectangular-shaped area approximately 35 miles wide by 25 miles long in northern San Luis Obispo County.

Primary Grape Varieties

Today there are over 50 grape varieties planted. The heritage grape is Zinfandel, first planted in the second half of the 19th century. After Prohibition, other grape varieties were slowly re-introduced in North County.

The agricultural advisor, Jack Foott, planted experimental vineyards with Pinot Noir, Pinot Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Riesling throughout the county in the 1960s. He assisted growers in selecting the varieties most likely to thrive in each vineyard.

In the late 1960s, large commercial growers planted vineyards with irrigation, selling grapes to winemakers throughout California. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay were in demand as the California Wine Revolution took hold. Italian varieties were researched and planted in the 1980s. Rhone varieties were widely planted in the 1990s. 

Terroir Description

In this giant AVA, there are over 45 different soil series, including – granite, sedimentary, volcanic, sandstone, and the largest Calcareous-based soil formation in all of California. Some soils are clay-based with high lime content, which produces higher pH levels. Other soils are primarily bedrock, composed of weathered granite, volcanic and marine sedimentary rocks overlayed with sandstone, mudstone or calcareous shales.


Paso Robles AVA has warm weather. Paso Robles is known for its heat during the daytime and cool weather at night. The average daytime temperature in the growing season can reach 105 degrees/Fahrenheit. Night temperatures drop by 40-50 degrees/Fahrenheit. The area is close to the Pacific Ocean which accounts for the fog, breezes, and temperatures. Rainfall levels vary from desert-like 10 inches/year up to 40 inches in the higher elevation regions. Elevation starts around 700 feet in the east and reaches up to 2400 feet on the west side of the Paso Robles AVA.

Additional Miscellaneous Information

By 1996 many more vineyards, grape varieties, and wineries were established.

There was a great focus on marketing and making Paso Robles a tourist destination. Hotels and restaurants were established. Many wineries established tasting rooms and wine clubs to sell their wines.    

In 2007 a conjunctive labeling law (AB87) was passed, which preserved brand awareness of the Paso Robles AVA. This meant that the Paso Robles AVA and the designated districts(s) would appear together on any wine label. In 2009, this proposal was withdrawn. 

In 2014, the U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau issued a final rule in the Federal Register which established 11 new District AVAs within the existing Paso Robles American Viticultural Area.

Each of the sub-appellations or districts of the Paso Robles AVA has differing information, which will be detailed and shared within their own spreadsheets at a later writing. These sub-appellations include:

Adelaida District AVA was established in 2014
Creston District AVA was established in 2014
El Pomar District AVA was established 2014
Paso Robles Estrella District AVA was established in 2014
Paso Robles Geneseo District AVA was established in 2014
Paso Robles Highlands District AVA was established in 2014
San Juan Creek District AVA was established in 2014
San Miguel District AVA was established in 2014
Santa Margarita District AVA was established in 2014
Templeton Gap District AVA was established in 2014
Paso Robles Willow Creek District AVA was established in 2014


Currently, there are over 200 in the Paso Robles area.