This is a very different winery than the others that I visited in Paso Robles. I honestly don’t think that you will ever experience the craziness of Tobin James anywhere else. The ambiance and the other patrons visiting at the same time we did were very distracting so it is difficult to even talk about the wines objectively.
There is no tasting fee, and the list of wines available to taste was very long. I asked the pourer what the best wines were and he recommended we try the zins. We tried six of them and they were great. I really liked the James Gang Reserve Zin ($28) as well as the Fatboy Zin ($55).
I took a break during the tasting to visit the restroom and when I was leaving, about 15 young teenage girls in soccer uniforms came in. I could not understand why a large group of kids were hanging out at a tasting room. But there were a lot of things I did not understand about the people visiting that day. Like, why would you wear an orange wig wine tasting?
I had heard this place was really fun in the afternoons but I was not prepared for this place at all. I hear they have wild parties throughout the year where the focus is quantity of wine over quality of wine. I do recommend stopping by for the people watching alone. The wines that I tried were really quite nice, but I think I need to try them again in a calmer setting to really understand what they were all about.
Downsides? This place can be wild and crazy. if you want to learn about the wines, go early in the day. If you want a fun and party-like atmosphere, make this the last stop of the day and consider getting a driver to take you home.
Rating: 2 out of 4 – neutral