Paso Robles AVA

Blog Post

American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) are defined as agricultural regions that have distinct climate or geographic features that impact the way grapes are grown. There are 267 AVAs in the United States, and more than half (147) are in California.

At Ridge Vineyards, our winemaking style is dedicated to highlighting specific patches of ground. An AVA’s climate, soil types, and topography impart unique attributes and directly contribute to a wine’s character. Here, we explore the ways that characteristics of the Paso Robles AVA are expressed in our wines.

Paso Robles Climate & Geography

The Paso Robles American Viticultural Area (AVA) was established in 1983. It is located in San Luis Obispo County in central California. Paso Robles is one of the largest AVAs in California. Because of its immense size, the AVA was split into 11 sub-AVAs, which form a rectangle roughly 35 miles wide by 25 miles long. The AVA’s western boundary is approximately six miles from the Pacific Ocean. There are approximately 33,000 vineyard acres planted with wine grapes.

Dusi Vineyard in Paso Robles

Characteristics of Paso Robles Wines

Paso Robles is known for fifty-degree diurnal shifts, which bring long, cool nights and coastal breezes, dropping temperatures to preserve a balanced acidity in the grapes. The long growing season of the AVA allows for slow, even ripening, bringing beautiful balance to the fruit and concentrated flavors.

The soils are well-drained, gravelly, and sometimes chalky limestone. These ideal growing conditions produce high-quality wine grapes that have a unique minerality and full-textured body.

Heritage varietal Zinfandel, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhone-style whites have become the hallmark varieties that are grown in Paso Robles.

Our Paso Robles Wines

At Ridge Vineyards, we source old vine Zinfandel from the Dusi Ranch, which was planted in 1923. Ridge has made wine from the ranch consecutively since 1967. One thing that’s unique about the Dusi Ranch vineyard is that it’s planted to 100% zinfandel. When you have old vine zinfandel like this, it’s very rare to find 100% zinfandel. Many of the old vine zinfandel plantings in California – Sonoma County, Napa County, Contra Costa County, Lodi, etc – are mostly comprised of multiple varietals, so they’re field blends. A true 100% old vine zinfandel from Paso Robles is a treat and a fun wine to make.

Pair the warm climate with the unique soil profile and you get concentrated, exotic aromas from this wine: plum, black cherry, strawberry compote – deep, dark red & black fruits. On the palate, you get more weight than our other zinfandels because of the climate and soils.

Ridge also makes Grenache Blanc, Picpoul, and Roussanne from three other vineyards in Paso Robles: Adelaida Vineyard, Halter Ranch, and Fossil Creek Vineyard. Each of these unique sites lends a certain character to the wine, but the theme of the AVA is always apparent. The chalky limestone of the area comes across on the palate with gritty pear flavors, Fuji apples, green melons, and a creamy texture.  Barrel aging gives it texture with subtle baked notes and surprisingly salty acidity.


In order to qualify for user related discounts, you must log in before proceeding with checkout. Click the button below to log in and receive these benefits, or close the window to continue.

Log In