"It's worth the drive," we were told.
"The road's a little narrow. Try not to end up in a ditch."
"It's a beautiful drive, if you get back OK, of course."
"I don't remember if your go right or left at the fork. If you take the wrong way you can't turn around."
And so began our journey to Dunning Vineyards near Paso Robles, California. I felt good about the trip because I had a rented car. Can't turn around, no problem, just leave the car and walk home.
Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!
It was a nice drive and a combination of good directions and small, handmade signs got us to the property. Up the hill to the left was a rambling, Central Coast farmhouse and ahead of us up the hill were rows of grapevines. To the right was a huge barn with a small sign on the door that said "Enter."
We went in and were surrounded by rows and rows of giant barrels. The place smelled like wine and oak and sawdust and maybe just a hint of nutmeg.
In short order we met the owner and vintner who set us up with a row or four of glasses to sample the wares. Later that evening I was told that the sampling went great, the wine was great and we ordered a great quantity to be shipped to us in November.
To be honest, I had mostly forgotten we ordered the stuff when the doorbell rang and a straining UPS guy plonked down a box of plonk; "Sign here."
Tonight we uncorked the dream that is Dunning.
Take Highway 46 West from Highway 101 just over three miles to Oakdale Road. Head right onto Oakdale and drive one-half mile.Turn right onto Las Tablas Willow Creek Road and drive about 1.2 miles. Bear right onto Niderer Road and continue about one mile. Turn left up the path to the winery.