1800s to Prohibition

Mission grapes planted by Franciscan monks at Santa Margarita de Cortona Asistencia, site of the present-day Santa Margarita Ranch AVA.

Mission San Miguel Arcàngal established on a site of mineral hot springs, less than 16 km (10 miles) north of what was to become the El Paso de Robles settlement.

First known usage of the name El Paso de Robles for the area, today shortened to "Paso Robles."

The Rancho Paso de Robles Mexican land grant (10,519 ha/25,993 acres) purchased by cattle ranchers James and Daniel Blackburn.

Ascension Winery (later known as York Mountain Winery) established by rancher Andrew York on the site of one of the region's first significant plantings of Zinfandel.

Tonesi Brothers plants Zinfandel on the site now known as Ueberroth Vineyard.

A Southern Pacific Railroad train depot established in the present-day city of Paso Robles.

Paso Robles, with a population of about 800 (population as of 2021 is over 32,100), is incorporated as a city.

Lorenzo Nerelli plants a vineyard at the foot of York Mountain. In the mid-1930s, following the end of Prohibition, his Templeton Winery became one of the first to be bonded in the area.

Prohibition, 1920s to early 1930s

Famed Polish concert pianist and composer Ignacy Paderewski, who also advocated for Polish independence and served as Poland’s president in 1919, plants Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Mission grapes on a 200-acre plot within his much larger  Rancho San Ignacio, an area which now falls within the Paso Robles Willow Creek District. He first came to Paso Robles in 1914 to partake in the healing waters of the local hot springs.

Frank Pesenti plants Zinfandel in what is today known as the Paso Robles Willow Creek District, and establishes the Pesenti Winery in 1934 (owned and operated by Turley Wine Cellars since 2000).

Sylvester and Caterina Dusi plant Zinfandel in a landmark vineyard now known as Benito Dusi Ranch, still owned and farmed by the Dusi family (and best known today for vineyard-designated wines produced by Ridge Vineyards).

Post-Prohibition, 1930s to 1970s

Guido, Dante and Benito Dusi (children of Sylvester and Caterina Dusi) establish a 40.5-ha (100-acre) vineyard estate, planted mostly to Zinfandel, at their Templeton Gap District property, now known as Dante Benito Vineyard, and bottled by the Dusi family under the J. Dusi Wines label.

Dr. Stanley Hoffman establishes the 48- ha (1,200-acre) Hoffman Mountain Ranch on a high-elevation slope in the Adelaida District, including 4 ha (10 acres) of groundbreaking Pinot Noir, planted on the advice of San Luis Obispo Agricultural Advisor Jack Foote on account of the site's calcareous-limestone slopes. Renowned consulting winemaker André Tchelistcheff would later describe the site as "a jewel of ecological elements." Original vines, still productive today, are now owned, farmed and produced by Adelaida Vineyards.

Hoffman Mountain Ranch Winery opens its doors to visitors, becoming the region's first modern- day winemaking and visitor facility. The winery’s production of Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir contributed to Paso Robles’ reputation as a source of more than just excellent Zinfandel. (Ten years later, the Hoffman Mountain Ranch was sold and in 1989 it closed for good.)

Cliff Giacobine and Gary Eberle established the 283-ha (700-acre) Estrella River Winery estate on Paso Robles’ "east side.” It became the region’s largest winery, responsible for a line-up of major varietal wines. These include a groundbreaking Syrah (the first California winery/grower to make a full-fledged commitment to this cultivar) and a trend-setting Cabernet Sauvignon that would eventually lead to the variety becoming Paso Robles’ most widely planted grape. (The Estrella River Winery label disappeared following the winery's purchase in 1988 by Wine World Inc., a subsidiary of Nestlé.)

1980s to 1990s

The Paso Robles AVA is approved.

J. Lohr Wine Vineyards & Wines makes a full-scale commitment to the region with 769 ha (1,900 acres) of Bordeaux-centric grapes (Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec), as well as Syrah and Petite Sirah for blending, and Sauvignon Blanc as a white varietal in the Paso Robles Estrella District and El Pomar District.

Meridian, then owned by Beringer Blass, established with 1,416 ha (3,500 acres) and annual production in excess of 1.1 million cases, signaling an aggressive focus of corporate interest and investment in the region.

On the advice of“Rhône Ranger” pioneer John Alban, who pointed out the suitability of Paso Robles terroirs for growing Rhône grape varieties, James Berry Smith, who formerly focused on Chardonnay, plants Mourvèdre, Grenache and Syrah on his 22-ha (55-acre) property (now called James Berry Vineyard).

The international spotlight turns to the potential of Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon after JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery’s “Isosceles” Bordeaux-style blend is named one of Wine Spectator magazine's top 10 wines in the world. (Note: The winery’s branding calls for its name to be in all caps.)


Land planted to Rhône grape varieties exceeds 890 ha (2,200 acres), compared to less than 40 ha (100 acres) in 1994.

The TTB approves an amendment to the Paso Robles AVA, adding another 1,066 ha (2,635 acres) to its southern portion, appending Santa Margarita Valley.

Saxum Vineyards’ 2007 James Berry Vineyard blend (Grenache/Mourvèdre/Syrah) named "Wine of the Year" by Wine Spectator magazine. The same wine is also awarded 100 points (another first for Paso Robles) by Robert Parker in Wine Advocate.

Wine Enthusiast magazine names Paso Robles its 2013 "Wine Region of the Year" (out of the entire world).

11 AVAs nested within the Paso Robles AVA are approved by the TTB in what was described as the "largest and most complex single request" ever considered by this federal agency.

The number of bonded wineries in Paso Robles surpasses 200 – compared to just 17 wineries when the Paso Robles AVA was established in 1983.

Paso Robles named "Best Wine Region In the West" by Sunset Magazine.