A new tasting layout will be set up at the 31st annual Paso Robles Wine Festival this weekend.
The events kicked off Friday and continue Saturday with the festival’s main tasting event in Downtown City Park. More than 3,000 people are expected to attend.
As of Friday, about 2,500 tickets had been sold, according to event organizer, the Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. The group expects to sell 500 to 700 additional tickets Saturday, organizers said.
The Travel Paso Robles Alliance, a local tourism group, said its 20 hoteliers are filling up, but at a more leisurely pace than previous years.
“We’re trending a little bit slower — some have sold out, but some hotels still have rooms,” destination manager Amanda Collins said. Much of that may be because of last-minute visitors who haven’t attended the wine festival before, she added.
“People are checking in and saying, ‘Oh, this is my first wine festival, and my family is coming to meet me,’ and things like that,” Collins said.
For eateries and shops, the wine festival traditionally brings a surge of business to the downtown area, Collins said, which results in added reservations booked at restaurants and more general foot traffic.
General Store Paso Robles, a new business offering foods and gifts, opened for the first time Friday in a storefront facing the tasting event. The timing is great for the expected crowds, Collins said.
New this year at Saturday’s tasting will be a fresh layout that clusters five regions for tasting: Bordeaux, Rhône, Burgundian, Zinfandel and other, according to the Wine Country Alliance. There will also be a new fence around the park and a bigger emphasis on food. Eighteen restaurants, caterers and artisans have signed up.
More than 130 wineries are also hosting special activities throughout the region this weekend, including vineyard tours, art shows and barbeques. Find out what each winery has planned at www.pasowine.com/events/wine-festival-winery-activities.php.
If you go ...
A limited number of tickets for the main tasting are available Saturday for $55 at thePaso Robles Chamber of Commerce
,1225 Park St.
, starting at 10 a.m. Parking is available at the Paso Robles Event Center,2198 Riverside Ave.
, and Paso Robles High School,801 Niblick Road
, with a complimentary shuttle providing rides to theDowntown City Park
from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.