Paradise in Paso Robles at Niner Wine Estates

Published on May 16, 2022 3:11:50 PM PDT May 16, 2022 3:11:50 PM PDTth, May 16, 2022 3:11:50 PM PDT


Heading to the ‘other’ wine country from Sonoma takes some patience, but with the great company of Carolyn and Rosemary we were there in a snap, and did Paso wow! It helped having Remi’s sweet voice alert us of speeding, as Remi’s voice at four years old is on Carolyn’s GPS. It made us giggle every time she gave us directions with her little “Eastern European accent” as we affectionately referred to it.

The impatient Bay Area wine enthusiasts might need to convince Elon Musk to create jet packs to zip to Paso because of its two long lanes there and two long lanes back to the Bay Area. Well worth it though, Paso’s a beautiful wine world to explore with over 200 wineries. Our 24-hour visit barely brushes the Full Monty. In my two recent trips to Paso to wine taste and roam, two distinct words come to mind, warm and delicious. And perhaps not climate wise on a rainy November but maybe our Indian summer in October. I am, for sure, speaking about the people who are very warm and hospitable. The food and wine were delicious, especially at Niner Wine Estates.

We dropped our bags off at The Stables, a super cool renovated dive hotel. We then zipped to a quick intro at the downtown visitor center, then dashed to Niner Winery. An estate of heritage, family and known beautiful wines. Carolyn’s sister is friends with Rich and Robin Porter who were investors in the winery. The Niner family, as we learned, is truly a winery family of love. We tasted the wine a few years earlier on a girl’s trip, not knowing anything about the wine and the connection to Carolyn’s sister. We loved the Cab the most!

Richard and Pam Niner have quite a history of many passions. Born and raised in a large farming family in West Virginia, Richard moved to New York City and became a magazine editor. Their story unfolds as Richard and Pam met, fell in love, married and had two children Andy and Katy. Niner Estate is the culmination of years discovering their passion for wines that merged with his agricultural history.

Carolyn and Andy, owner of Niner Wine Estates.

Now, Andy manages the estate with family nearby. It was unassuming from the country road. In fact, every winery in Paso Robles was unassuming until we stepped out of the car, breathed the fresh eucalyptus floral air and believed we were smelling intoxicating wine seeping through the gravel paths. Andy shared a bit of its history with us as we stood in awe inside the most magnificent path of olive trees and breeze. It seemed surreal, each of us were in our own realm of being.

Andy invited us to journey to their Chef garden which was delectable. We imagined how each herb, fruit, vegetable and flower is gently weaved throughout their cuisine. The outdoor winery terrace was calm yet bustling, we graced the picnic table in the gardens perched steps above the terrace. Andy was so relaxed and personable, as we shared our first pours of the stunning 2018 estate Chardonnay and 2019 Pinot Noir, as we just smiled, surrounded by pure happiness. Our hearts fluttered like the butterflies surrounding us.

Niner Wines flagship blend is Fog Catcher, focused on estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. They craft many other varietals in small quantities of 200 - 400 cases that are available at the tasting room and through their Wine Club. They boast a two Winemaker team, Molly Bohlman oversees wines from Jespersen Ranch and Patrick Muran for Heart Hill Vineyard & Bootjack Ranch wines.

Photos taken from Niner Wine Estate's social media.

Our one-day Paso Robles bonanza brought on a delicious meal at Niner. We are pescatarians, so our menu choices were chickpea pancakes topped with eggplant puree, zucchini and tomatoes; salad of tomatoes, cucumber, fennel, sweet onion, melon, olive oil and vinegar; homemade sourdough focaccia (baked daily) with Coratina olive oil. The big surprise was an incredible charcuterie board loaded with deliciousness. We were so full of incredible bounty, created from love, as simple and grand as that.

Downtown Paso Robles is quite diverse, old town square charm merging locally made gems to Bohemian embroidered wool belts from Peru by Jenny Krauss. I had to have one, and Carolyn surprised me with the other I wanted as a birthday gift. Yes, it was my birthday week too! Carolyn found a cute chic slumber outfit for Remi. We treated ourselves to Amish lady finger popcorn, the most delicate crunchy popcorn, created in Indiana. We snooped for the town's secrets and scouted the Paso Underground, though it was closed that hour.

The Stables, in the small downtown strip, was my second overnight visit of choice - the first being last November. It was on that visit I saw the most beautiful rainbows of my life cascading over Paso. Rainbows and rainbows and rainbows were beckoning the sky and land over the hilly terrain of Paso. It was euphoric, unbelievable, I fell in love with Paso Robles.

If you love horses, stay at the ever so quaint and nicely priced Stables. Last November was the last girl trip with my ailing chocolate lab, Coco, and they were very pet friendly. I remembered that the double bed was a bit like sleeping in a hay bale, so on my second visit I politely asked to test the beds first. We girls grew up in rural Pennsylvania so we know a bit or two about barns and barn parties. I don’t think sleeping on a hay bale is in vogue yet, is it?! All jokes aside, we loved the quaint boutique hotel. The lobby was welcoming, and accompanied by a nook that opens up with wide barn doors, to coffee and water!

Carolyn enjoying the delicious couisine at Niner Wine Eastates.

You need lots of water traversing the wineries because when at the wineries, and I speak for us, we only wanted to enjoy sips of beautifully crafted Paso Robles wines. Need to stay hydrated! After browsing and shopping the town, we ventured back to The Stables to relax by the quaint circular fire pit and gorgeous lit tree, to sip more Paso Robles wine, heaven.

We ran out of time on our 24-hour Paso Robles blitz but really wanted to spend a few hours at Tin City, Paso’s industrial makers market known now as the hip cluster hub to imbibe. Next time Paso! For more info on Tin City:

If you love local art, visit A local artist collective - Studios on the Park:

Relaxing by the fire pit at The Stables, the boutique hotel we stayed at in Paso Robles.

The Landscape

Coupled with 700 - 2,000-foot elevations, 30 distinct soil series, and the diverse mesoclimate created by these factors, Paso Robles is blessed with a long season that allows growers to ripen 69 different varieties balanced with sugar and acidity ideal for producing world-class wine.

Comparing wine countries, Paso Robles boasts 200 wineries, half of Napa’s, offering wine tastings at half the price too! Sonoma has 425 wineries and many tastings are complimentary with purchase!

Travel Paso | Find Things to Do, Restaurants, Events & Hotels:

About the Author: Rosemary Olson, Personality-at-large, publisher, writer.