Discovering the Rise of Spanish Grapes Along California’s Central Coast

Discovering the Rise of Spanish Grapes Along California’s Central Coast

The sun-drenched hills of San Luis Obispo County, nestled along California's central coast, have long been celebrated for their world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But recently, a new wave of grape varieties is gaining momentum: Spanish grapes. From the crisp Albariño to the bold Tempranillo, these Spanish varieties thrive in the region's similar climate and soils, creating exciting and unique wines for adventurous palates.

Why Are Spanish-Style Wines Gaining Popularity?

This surge in popularity can be attributed to several factors. The Mediterranean climate of San Luis Obispo County, with its warm days and cool nights, mirrors the growing conditions of Spain's renowned wine regions like Rioja and Ribera del Duero. Additionally, the limestone-rich soils of Paso Robles and calcareous soils of Edna Valley offer ideal drainage and minerality, much like those found in Spain. This shared terroir allows these Spanish grapes to express themselves authentically while also adding a touch of California sunshine and personality.

Wineries to Visit

Following is a handpicked selection of ten wineries in San Luis Obispo County, presented in no specific order, showcasing Spanish-style wines. Whether you're a fan of these varieties or looking to expand your wine horizons, these venues offer an intriguing mix. Some are dedicated to Spanish-style wines, while others, though not exclusively focused on this style, feature a notable selection of wines made from Spanish grape varieties.

Croma Vera Wines (San Luis Obispo)

Founded by Mindy Oliver in 2015, Croma Vera is a tiny (but mighty) winery making damn good Spanish-inspired wine from sustainable vineyards in the San Luis Obispo Coast and Paso Robles wine regions. Croma Vera offers an urban tasting room in the City of San Luis Obispo in the city’s newest beverage district, Duncan Alley. Spanish varieties include Albariño, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Spanish Blends.

Bodega de Edgar (Paso Robles)

Bodega is the Spanish term for a winery or cellar. As the name suggests, Bodega de Edgar reflects winemaker Edgar Torres' deep passion for Spanish wines. Bodega de Edgar also offers two additional brands, “Straight Out of Paso” and “Songs”. Spanish varieties include Albariño, Tempranillo, Carignan, Graciano, Mourvedre and Spanish blends.

Epoch Estate Wines (Paso Robles)

Nestled in the rolling hills of historic York Mountain, Epoch Estate Wines produces wines from Rhone, Zinfandel, and Tempranillo varieties grown on their three west Paso Robles estate vineyards: Paderewski, Catapult, and York Mountain. Spanish varieties include Tempranillo, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Spanish blends.

Tooth & Nail Winery (Paso Robles)

While not solely focused primarily on Spanish grapes, Tooth & Nail Winery offers a wide selection of wines across three different brands in a castle-like venue set in a scenic vineyard, including a tasting room with a stylish patio and live music. Spanish varieties include Albariño, Tempranillo, Carignan, and Grenache.

Bodegas Paso Robles (Paso Robles)

Bodegas Paso Robles is dedicated to producing wines using Spanish and Portuguese varietals. Winemaker Dorothy Schuler uses old-world vines and makes high-quality new-world wines with the least invasive winemaking practices. Spanish varieties include Tempranillo, Grenache, and Spanish blends.

Verdad Wine Cellars (Arroyo Grande)

Louisa Sawyer Lindquist started Verdad Wine Cellars in 2000 with a vision of making Spanish grape varietal wines grown on the Central Coast of California. Over half of Verdad’s wines are made with Demeter-certified biodynamic and organic grapes. Verdad has an urban tasting room in the village of Arroyo Grande.  Spanish varieties include Albariño, Tempranillo, Grenache, Graciano, and Spanish blends.

CaliPaso Winery (Paso Robles)

Winemaker Enrique Torres specializes in working with Albariño, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Tempranillo. While the winery and event villa are located on their Paso Robles vineyard estate, CaliPaso’s tasting room is located in downtown Paso Robles. Spanish varieties include Albariño, Garnacha Blanca, Tempranillo, Grenache, and Spanish blends.

Crush Vineyard (Paso Robles)

This family-owned winery specializes in artisanal hand-crafted red wines sustainably grown on the family vineyard specializing in Tannat and Tempranillo. Denise and Scott Schramm purchased a vineyard known for growing award-winning Tannat and Tempranillo, two varietals that follow their  “Road Less Traveled” philosophy in winemaking. Spanish varieties include Tempranillo and Spanish blends.

Caliza Winery / End of the Day Wines (Paso Robles)

End of the Day Wines is a collaboration between Caliza Winery and Carl and Pam Bowker and aims to showcase the best of Paso Robles through accessible and enjoyable wines. The End of the Day Wines tasting room is located in the "Tin City" area of Paso Robles while Caliza’s tasting room is located in Paso Robles on their estate.  Spanish varieties include Albariño, Tempranillo, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Spanish blends.

Law Estate Wines (Paso Robles)

Owners Don and Susie Law’s mantra was to find a vineyard site that could produce premium Rhone and Priorat-style wines that would be a true expression of the site. The Law Estate Vineyard above Peachy Canyon Road on the west side of Paso Robles is one of the highest in the area at 1,600 to 1,900 feet. The modern tasting room sits on a hill overlooking the estate-grown Law Estate Vineyard. Spanish varieties include Grenache, Mourvedre, and Spanish blends.

Map of these Wineries

Visit this Google Map to see the location of these wineries.

About These Spanish Varieties


Originating from Spain's Rías Baixas region, Albariño is celebrated for its high acidity, light body, and aromatic complexity, featuring fresh citrus, green apple, and stone fruit notes, often with a saline minerality.

White Grenache (Garnacha Blanca in Spain)

A white grape variety originating in Spain, Garnacha Blanca is known for its rich, full-bodied wines with high alcohol and vibrant acidity. The flavor profile often includes citrus, green apple, and pear notes, with nuances of herbs and white flowers. 


Spain's flagship variety, especially prominent in Rioja and Ribera del Duero, offers flavors of cherry, plum, tomato, and tobacco, with a structure suitable for aging, revealing leather and vanilla nuances when oaked.

Carignan (Mazuelo in Spain)

Known for adding depth and color to blends, Carignan presents high tannins and acidity with flavors of dark fruits and spice. It's a late ripener, often found in the Mediterranean climates.

Grenache (Garnacha in Spain)

This versatile grape yields lush, fruity wines with soft tannins, showcasing strawberry, raspberry, and black cherry notes, often with a hint of white pepper and spice.


Valued for its deep color, aromatic complexity, and aging potential, Graciano offers vibrant acidity with pronounced flavors of black fruits, herbs, and floral notes.

Mourvèdre (Monastrell in Spain)

Known for its meaty, full-bodied wines with high tannins and alcohol, it exhibits blackberry, plum, pepper, and spice flavors, thriving in warm climates.

Spanish Blends

These typically involve a mix of native Spanish grapes, creating balanced, complex wines that leverage the strengths of each variety, often leading to layered expressions of fruit, spice, and earthy undertones.


California's central coast, renowned for its Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, is embracing a new wave: Spanish grapes. Like the crisp Albariño and bold Tempranillo, these Mediterranean imports flourish under similar sunshine and soil, producing exciting and unique wines. Each of these wineries has a unique take on these old-world standards that will educate and delight.

Back to blog