Tag Archives: San Luis Obispo

Central Coast Wine Country Is More Than Paso

It’s easy to be lulled into thinking the world rises and sets in wine country on the California Central Coast with Paso Robles. Considering Paso was the worlds number one wine region, it’s no wonder why I or anyone else would regard the North County of San Luis Obispo with such high praise and even reverence. Ah, but that would reduce the significant contributions from the rest of San Luis Obispo County.

San Luis Obispo

More pointedly, the city of San Luis Obispo and surrounding area have more than their fair share of wine producing vineyards and tasting rooms. Just a handful of miles from the Pacific Ocean, vineyards in places like Edna Valley on the southeastern part of town to more south into the Arroyo Grande Valley are unique and produce fine wines. Other than Avila Valley to the west, tasting rooms mostly are in or around the city itself.

Varietals such as Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, Syrah, Pinot Noir along with Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon are what the region produces the most of. Cool ocean air makes growing grapes like Pinot Noir ideal. It appears wine has been produced in the area for 150 years or more.

All of these areas including Paso Robles and Santa Barbara County to Santa Cruz County in the north, are part of the larger Central Coast AVA. The Monterey Bay region has wonderful wine districts and of course Santa Barbara is now well known in part because of the movie ‘Sideways‘. When folks visit the Santa Ynez Valley of Santa Barbara, they often will then head up an hour and a half away to Paso Robles, often skipping places, driving right by cities like San Luis Obispo … but it’s worth the time to stop and take in the southern part of the county.

Edna Valley

Edna Valley is only a half-a-dozen miles from the Pacific Ocean, but is just far enough that it allows for a very long growing season.

The growing season is one of the longest in California and offers an array of wines that should be checked out by anyone interested in finding the newest upstarts in the viticultural business. So as you can see, the county of San Luis Obispo is more than just the North County and Paso Robles – check here to find out more.

And don’t forget, starting in Morro Bay, there’s no coastline as beautiful as the Central Coast with one of the greatest driving tours in the world. Oh, and did we mention weddings?


Daryle W. Hier





Cal Poly Producing

There is a giant and spacious campus on the California Central Coast that is home to one of the top state universities in the United States. Roughly halfway between the metropolis’ of San Francisco and Los Angeles, the school sprawls next to hillsides in the northern part of the city of San Luis Obispo as California Polytechnic State University or Cal Poly for short.

Less than 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, Cal Poly was established 113 years ago as a vocational or trade school. In the early years of the Great Depression, the state changed the precepts to a technical school. Not long after WW II, Cal Poly began offering Masters degrees.

Big school, big coast, big boasts

The expansive school, nicknamed the Mustangs, is in fact the second largest university or college in California with 9,678 acres. It’s always ranked as one of the Top 10 universities in the West and this past year was rated #1 architecture program in the country. Overall, the prestigious and renown U.S. News and World Report’s America’s Best Colleges guidebook ranks Cal Poly as Best in the West with the #1 engineering program in the country. It goes on-and-on. It is quite a school.

Whether it’s the mild climate, the attraction of nearby beaches, beautiful crystal clear air, the laid-back small town atmosphere or the majestic morros (hilltops) called the ‘Nine Sisters’, the spectacular landscape of the Central Coast seems to serve and add to the quality of learning.

Though not a powerhouse by anyone’s imagination, Cal Poly’s sports produce quality athletic squads.

Sports are all quality level but if you’re expecting a school like USC or UCLA, this isn’t it. Their football team is a decent Division 1AA team that makes the playoffs more so than not and their basketball team, which was always so-so, made the NCAA’s this past year for the first time. Their baseball team has been to the playoffs recently.

Wines where it’s at

However, to those who are in the industry, Cal Poly is now becoming a leader in producing high quality graduates in the wine industry. Their viticultural department has created longstanding and steady flow of vintners, managers and vineyard careers. To be more precise, the College of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences gets students ready to succeed in the ever-growing wine industry.

Although the California Central Coast as a whole, is well-known and produced a plethora of wine, the North County of San Luis Obispo – Paso Robles – is the world’s number one wine region. This has created a demand, which has given students an advantage of being wanted and needed when they earn their degrees.

Cal Poly makes their own commercially produced wines.

Cal Poly teaches their students all facets of a multidimensional industry, including growing the product, making the product and of course marketing the product. Whether the student wants to farm grapes, make wine or manage and market, all aspects are covered.

Producing ready-to-go graduates 

President of Cal Poly, Jeffrey D. Armstrong, may have said it best:

“In today’s work, college graduates must be able to work creatively and think critically across multiple disciplines. Cal Poly’s graduates can – and do. Employers love our graduates, because they have two hands on the problem and two feet on the ground. They’re ready to contribute on Day One.”

On a personal note, I knew little about the school before I moved here from Los Angeles several years ago. By following sports, that was about the only thing I did know. Now having been around the region for a little while, I can appreciate the quality of schooling and why students want to be here on the Central Coast. When I’m at wineries, it’s a common site to see Cal Poly Mustang clothing being worn, as the influence is palpable.

With about 20,000 students, the school has formed a backbone of high standards that will help assist and shape today and tomorrow’s society in oh so many ways. Those same students are likely drawn by the beauty of the area along with so many activities like biking, surfing or an abundance of hiking to keep the mind fresh – all combined with a topnotch university gives Cal Poly a special place in the hierarchy of higher learning.


NOTE: In the fall of 2014, Payscale.com listed amongst public universities, Cal Poly in the Top 15 for earnings made after they graduate. As the number one rated state school in California, Cal Poly graduates were averaging $56,200 early in their careers and $100,100 average during the middle of their careers.


Daryle W. Hier