Saturday, May 19, 2012

Wine Festival: One winery at a time

Castoro Cellars
This weekend is our town's annual big wine festival; for one weekend a year, our town doubles in size. Every hotel room is booked, and every restaurant is packed for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Wine lovers descend like friendly locusts; we tend to avoid going downtown for the duration.

However, one of the advantages of living here is that we don't have to try to do everything in one weekend; we can build our own wine festival all year long, one winery at a time.

So, instead of joining 20,000 of our soon-to-be closest friends in the park for the grand tasting event this afternoon, we headed west and went to Castoro Cellars Vineyard to see what they were up to for Wine Festival Weekend. Many of the wineries have special festival events; we try to hit a few of them every year.

We discovered that Castoro had set up barrels for tasting in the courtyard; getting a sample direct from the barrel is a fun way to feel like a wine insider.Yeah, the wine is cloudy, and no, it's not exactly finished aging yet; but you can get a good idea of where it's going, and you know what to look forward to.

The Belmores
And, if you know about wine, you can comment knowledgeably with the vintner while you are tasting; I kept my mouth shut when I wasn't actually engaged in sipping.

While we enjoyed our wine samples, we were treated to music from the Belmores, a local band. Their music ranged from old standards to their own compositions; we sat in the shade of the old oak trees, sipping wine and enjoying the music.

Welcome to the Paso Robles Wine Festival, our way.

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