There’s not a lot to do in Avila, nor should there be.It’s a place for hand-holding walks on the beach, wine at the Old Custom House restaurant, with its 40-foot polished wood bar overlooking the Pacific, and early morning runs along the water.Wherever I am in California, I start with the beaches.Avila Beach, my home base on this trip, is small, just 1,600 residents and one stoplight. The main street, wide and pedestrian friendly, is blissfully devoid of chain stores and leads directly to the beach.“Most winemakers around here are farmers, not celebrities.We work the soil, the tractors, we’re from this land.” Napa and Sonoma draw about 10 million tourists a year, the SLO region about 1.2 million.Avila and the surrounding towns of Shell and Pismo Beach sit on some of the most beautiful coastline in all of California. The aesthetic feel of the area draws people such as Michael Laboon, a celebrated local tile artist who bought a house in Shell Beach 17 years ago. The coast here is pretty raw and relatively undeveloped. Just north of Avila is a beautiful strip of land overlooking the Pacific. Cattle hang out in the bright sun, munch on grass, gaze into the ocean. Details: California’s Central Coast “We have beautiful beaches here, but they’re more of a backdrop,” says Jason Haas, the owner of Tablas Creek Vineyard in nearby Paso Robles.
The entire Central Coast wine region — which extends from Monterey to Santa Barbara — is the third largest wine-producing region in California, behind Napa and Sonoma. “We have much more diversity here,” says Austin Hope, president of Hope Family Wines.
The entire beachfront is less than half a mile and contains a few restaurants and shops.
Early mornings, particularly in June, are shrouded with fog.
(Josh Kimball.com) Inspirational, artsy — that’s good for him. In fact, the wine industry here is why the Central Coast is no longer California’s best-kept secret.
But what about the rest of us, who can’t summon our inner Gauguin? The SLO wine region, which includes Paso Robles, is now considered one of the best in the country.