Last month, we drove up to Paso Robles for a long overdue visit – this time with our brand new wine tasting companion, Booker.
Our new travel companion, Booker, at Chumeia Vineyards
As a newbie to the world of dog ownership, I did some research before we left Los Angeles to see which wineries are dog friendly. As excited as I was to taste some new wines, I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving the little guy cooped up in a crate.
One winery I found online that seemed very dog friendly was Chumeia Vineyards. My dad and I had first experienced Chumeia wines about 5 years ago when I was living in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. A little wine bar in town had it on their list and – while I hadn’t had it since then – I remembered it being very good. I was excited to check it out again with our new little pup.
Little did I know, but Chumeia Vineyards ended up being one of the most pleasantly surprising and enjoyable wine experiences I’ve had in a long time. Chumeia is located on the east side of Paso Robles – an area that is dominated by larger, high production wineries. We didn’t know too much about the east side, so we made a list of a few other wineries in the area and decided to leave Chumeia as our last stop.
After a day of visiting crowded wineries with limos and tour buses lined up in their parking lots, I was so happy when we pulled into Chumeia Vineyards. Strange as it sounds, I was thrilled to see the driveway to Chumeia was an unpaved gravel road that crossed over into a protected wilderness area. The parking lot was pretty empty with not a bus or limo in sight.
Entry to Chumeia Vineyards' Tasting Room
Chumeia is very dog friendly. Just be sure to bring a leash...
We parked and were immediately greeted by a large golden retriever, who we soon learned was Cristo – one of Chumeia’s winery dogs. Booker followed Cristo into the tasting room where they became fast friends. The dogs played fetch on the big, beautiful lawn the entire time we were there.
Booker and his new friend, Cristo
While the dogs played, I went into the tasting room to check out the wine. The tasting room was great – just a casual counter in the winery with stainless steel tanks in the background and a several award ribbons displayed on the wall. Nothing fancy… just comfortable and welcoming.
Chumeia Vineyards Tasting Room
A section dedicated to furry friends in the Chumeia Vineyards tasting room
Well-deserved awards displayed at Chumeia Vineyards
We started our tasting and were fortunate to have Lee Nesbitt – the winemaker at Chumeia – personally pouring for us. We took our time with the tasting and enjoyed great conversation with Lee indoors, as well as time outside with the dogs on Chumeia’s beautiful grounds.
Winemaker Lee Nesbitt chatting with tasters at Chumeia
The wines we tasted at Chumeia were delicious, each one having its own unique and complex flavor profile. In fact, there wasn’t one that I didn’t like. I ended up taking home a few bottles of the ’08 Odyssean – a fantastic blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. I also bought a couple of bottles of the ’09 Estate Petite Sirah, Iron Man Vineyard which was unique and so tasty. Only 100 cases of Petite Sirah were produced.
I also love that Chumeia Vineyards was so pet friendly. In fact, Chumeia hosts an annual “Cause for the Paws” event and has a wine club called “Whiskers & Paws” that proudly supports Woods Humane Society.
After spending a wonderful evening at Chumeia, we loaded up our car with the wine we purchased and took a few more photos to remember our experience. Unfortunately we locked our keys in the car in the process.
Even though they were trying to close up for the day, Lee and his father were gracious enough to let us hang out and wait for AAA to open the car. In fact, they had to leave before AAA arrived and entrusted us to lock up the vineyard.
Leaving Chumeia Vineyards...
Even with our car lock out, Chumeia Vineyards was an amazing experience and a “must see” for anyone visiting the east side of Paso Robles. A beautiful winery, great wine, and incredibly warm and friendly people. It has a small winery feel and meticulously crafted wines in an area known for large production. We can’t wait to head back…
Click here to visit the Chumeia Vineyards website.
8331 Highway 46 East
Paso Robles, CA 93446
Phone: (805) 226-0102
Fax: (805) 226-0104
Tasting room hours: 12PM – 5PM Monday through Thursday.
11AM – 5PM Friday through Sunday (excluding select holidays). Call ahead during the holiday season.