In spite of a couple of trivial complaints, our experience at the Paso Robles Wine Festival was, to quote Guy Fieri, off the hook! We had a wonderful time, and it was well worth the trip.

Before we stood in the frighteningly long line, we visited Frolicking Frog, now located at 739 12th Street in the old digs of Arroyo Robles, which has moved to 1317 Park Street. There we met Stu and Maria, the winemakers, and made plans to visit their winery on Sunday.

Scheduled just a month after the Boston Marathon bombing, I certainly wasn’t going to gripe about the extra security; what I did gripe about was the timing of the process. We had VIP tickets and were to be allowed in an hour before those with regular tickets. Well, when the noon bell was sounded, they began to process people in the line. That means that we actually didn’t get in until about 12:25, which was, in my opinion, bad form. They could have begun the processing before noon and then allowed people in after the bell sounded. The ticket said noon, not “patted down about noonish and then let in.”

I figure that with enough feedback, they may make the system a little more efficient during the next event. It was their first time being so stringent about security and what the heck. I had a great time anyway!

With that being said, once we were through the labyrinthine line, it was a pretty easy task to grab our glasses and start looking for wine to taste. Except we didn’t.

Instead of going straight to the wine tasting, we stopped at the food stations. Of course! We’d already sampled some tasty Frolicking Frog wines, and weren’t in an immediate hurry to get more. So we stopped at Be A Gourmet (Olive Oils, Balsamic Vinegars, Dressings), Olivas de Oro (Olive Oils – Yum!), Vivant Cheese, Central Coast Creamery, and House of Bread.

The weather, by the way, couldn’t have been more perfect. In the mid-high 80s, I felt for the first time since I’ve been attending the Wine Festival that I didn’t bring Vegas with me. When I arrive at the festival, Vegas’ triple-digit temps usually follow me, resulting in a lot of scowling from people who blame me for the suddenly scorching weather. Hey! It’s not my fault!

There’s one funny thing I have to point out, and you can enter that in my ever-expanding list of “best laid plans.”  We had decided to spend a couple of hours at the festival and then hit the road to go the wineries who weren’t participating in order to take advantage of the Wine Festival activities and specials that many of them advertised.  Well, not so much.  We were having such a good time – and The Wineaux Guy™ was such a magnet with his huge hat – that the next thing we knew, we were being escorted out at the end of the event. What!? How did that happen!? We weren’t even remotely tipsy! Just goes to show that the event was, for us, an amazing success.

Enjoy the slideshow – I had to go through hundreds of photos and tried to pare it down to a smallish size. While I could have had it go for at least a half an hour, I felt that about five minutes would be enough. Especially since I have about half-dozen more slideshows almost ready to load and a series of videoclips already loaded.

Beautiful scenery, beautiful architecture, and most importantly, beautiful wines.

Enjoy the show and stay tuned for more!

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