You’re visiting the picturesque wine country on California’s Central Coast. Let me set the scene for you:
Clear blue skies give a stunning backdrop to rolling hills dotted with twisty oaks and row after row of vineyard grapes.
You have your sunhat on and your fall outfit is on point. It’s a good day. You can’t wait to clink to the future with the hubby and do some much-needed wine tasting.
You have your kids with you. Who get bored. Easily.
What do you do?
Enter the magic of the kid-friendly winery.
This article was first published on SLOCAL.com as part of my SLO County Tourism Ambassador role as a SLOCAL Storyteller. I was one of five chosen writers selected to share local attractions for our regional tourism board. Check out the cool places everyone went here.
The Central Coast has a bunch of kid-friendly wineries. One of our longtime faves is the beautiful Castoro Cellars located just south of Paso Robles, off Highway 46 East, in the rural town of Templeton, California.
Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
1315 North Bethel Road, Templeton
Founded in 1983, Castoro Cellars is one of the oldest wineries in the area. It’s exclusively owned and operated by The Udsens, who founded the winery and extend their family-friendly and good-natured spirit throughout their estate.
Not only will you be treated to some lovely varietals, the kids will also enjoy thoughtful accommodations.
THINGS TO DO THERE
- Cornhole boards with bean bag baskets on the lawn
- A wooden stage perfect for your child’s next big hit for America’s Got Talent
- An expansive disc-golf course on its Whale Rock Vineyard
- Homemade grape juice kids can sip from plastic cups
- Open space to run
- A quirky collection of hide-and-seek-loving farm cats
On a recent afternoon, Bowen and I were treated to all of that plus one ah-mazing cheese platter. Which, I totally recommend getting. Because, since I’m basically a wine tasting extraordinaire now, I know the first rule of Wine Club is you don’t talk about Wine Club.
Wait. Or … is to make sure to eat in between tastings?
Let’s go with the eating one.
TIP: My secret go-to advice is to ask your tasting attendant if outdoor patio wine tasting is available. I can’t say enough good things about how truly wonderful it is to taste among the vines as opposed to sipping in the tasting room.
Don’t get me wrong, tasting rooms have their charms and are great for chit-chat. But, if you’re like me, and almost always have kids with you, the act of wine tasting indoors is a whole other ballgame. Like, a crazy alternate-universe ballgame where you are constantly hoping the kids don’t break things.
But outdoor wine tasting offers a nice mix of conversion with your attendant, glorious breathing space, and outside distractions galore for the smallest winery-goers.
For us, on this particular weekend, our outside oasis provided a chilled steel bucket of Castoro’s finest grape juice for the kids, two wine glasses, a delectable collection of cheeses and deli meats, and one totally addictive bag of the sweet/salty brittle popcorn from the San Luis Obispo-based company Paso Almonds.
For the wine tasting, guests are treated to seven tastes for $10, and usually the chance to revisit your faves. I tend to stick to whites, which makes me somewhat of a wine country outlier in Paso’s full-bodied red wine-loving crowd. But hubby enjoys the reds, so we got to try a little bit of everything. To top off our experience, the kiddos felt quite special having their own grown-up-looking beverage on hand as well. They wrapped their pudgy toddler hands around plastic cups to take some sips but before we knew it, they were off to enjoy a wild childhood run on the grass. Simply perfection.
Then, 4.7 miles west on Highway 46, you’ll find your next stop on our Kid-Friendly Wine Country Tour: Playing at the picturesque Jack Creek Farms in Templeton.