Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles

JILL WEINLEIN

After graduating from UCLA, JIll traveled the world looking for unique destinations. She’s been writing about her travels for almost 30 years in various publications.

She writes a weekly restaurant review for the Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News. It’s inserted into the Los Angeles Times every Thursday and delivered to subscribers from Hancock Park to Beverly Hills, Hollywood Hills to the Wilshire Corridor.

Allegretto Vineyard Resort in Paso Robles

BY JILL WEINLEIN

Driving up to the Allegretto Vineyard Resort transports guests to an Italian-inspired and crafted luxury hotel. Years ago, owner Doug Ayres of the Ayres Hotel chain, drove up to Paso Robles and discovered fertile land on rolling hills ideal for growing grapes. He learned that some of the grapes were planted by Franciscan monks as they made their way north along the El Camino Real in the late 1700s.

With more than 200 notable vineyards, Paso Robles wine region offers the ideal terroir (the complete natural environment in which a particular wine is produced, such as soil, topography, and climate) to grow flavorful varietals that resemble the Rhone Valley of France. Ayers purchased almost 30 acres in two different areas and starting planting grapes. He also built a home for his family and then the most luxurious hotels on 20 acres growing Malbec grapes and other varietals.

As we stepped inside the grand lobby with a double staircase to check-in, the General Manager Richard Verruni poured my husband and I a glass of red Primitivo wine.

Walking through the exquisite stone Romeo and Juliet tunnel, we admired a striking white obelisk. It’s similar to the one in Washington, D.C., Paris’s Place Concorde and St. Peter’s Square, but on a smaller scale.

This is a hotel richly filled with treasured collectibles and art that Doug and his wife have collected along their travels. Various sculptures represent the world’s major sacred faith traditions. There is a large Buddha, a Hindu goddess, and the Virgin of Guadalupe, which was crafted in San Miguel de Allende and blessed at the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City.

Stepping into our ground floor room with a semi-private terrazza, we remarked that the artfully designed room offers calm and soothing gold, jewel and green colors. Luxury features include 14′ ceilings, King size Ayres Celestial sleeper bed, plush bathrobes and slippers.

Since Doug loves dogs, he created a pet friendly resort. Water bowls are located all around the resort and at the on-site wine tasting room. There are plenty of pathways to explore with your favorite pooch. A $100 pet fee is charged for the length of your stay.

Other activities available for guests include soothing spa treatments, poolside cabanas at the heated pool and whirlpool, complimentary bicycles to ride around the area, and a one of a kind ‘Sonic Labyrinth’ offering guests tranquility with each step. As you walk the circular path, one hears a distinctive series of soft sounds created by wind instruments. Activated by motion sensors, the Sound Circle cultivates a sense of relaxation and focus.

Off the main lobby is the Allegretto Tasting Room, open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Knowledgeable wine hosts pour five highly selective small-lot vineyard wines. The grapes are grown in two regions of Paso Robles’ rich terroir.

Afterwards we visited Cello Ristorante for dinner. Sitting outside, we viewed guests sitting out by a blazing fire roasting s’mores. The chefs prepare creative rustic Northern Italian dishes that are regionally foraged and farmed. It’s open for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving salads, pastas, and proteins. There is also an extensive domestic and international wine list, garden-to-glass cocktails and craft beers.

The following day, we met Casey our wine host from the day before, for a small group-led wine walking tour. We started in the front vineyard and walked towards the back. Along the way she encouraged us to pick and sample the various grapes growing on the vines to taste their sweetness. In the early fall these grapes will be harvested and later become award-winning Allegretto Vineyard wines.

After our tour we stopped by the French-inspired Abbey to admire the stained glass windows, before walking to the Mediterranean-inspired olive orchard for a quick game of bocce ball.

Allegretto VIneyard Paso Robles will enchant you with its symphonic union of food, wine, rest and relaxation to realign one’s spirit.

Reservations can be made by going online https://www.allegrettovineyardresort.com or calling (805) 369-2500. 2700 Buena Vista Drive, Paso Robles, CA. 93446.

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