Oaks and Vineyards Go Together
Some of the most beautiful and unique oak trees are sitting in vineyards. Since I often roam the vineyards of Paso Robles and Templeton, I am always seeing and photographing oak trees. I haven’t yet pinned down their species, but that doesn’t keep me from appreciating them. Some are short and wide, in comparison to their towering and slimmer cousins. Some are so tall my camera can’t take in their full height. Some are so wide I have to walk far away from them to encompass the entire picture. The one above is a deciduous variety. Many of our oaks are more striking in winter because they are in stark contrast to their relatives who are dressing in green all year.
North San Luis Obispo County is Full of Oak Trees
If you drive more than a mile on the on the streets or backroads of North San Luis Obispo County on the Central Coast of California, it’s almost impossible not to see a vineyard or an oak tree. Every day as I drive the four miles home from town on Highway 46 West, I must pass over a hundred oak trees and several vineyards. It’s hard to find a vineyard without at least one oak tree among the vines.
The oak trees were definitely here first. Some of them preceded the Spanish fathers who founded our California missions. California white oaks can live 400 years. Most of the trees you see here are probably California white oaks. They are deciduous, formidable skeletons once they lose their leaves, so they provide stark contrast to the winter skies.
Most of the trees pictured here live on Arbor Road. It begins from Highway 46 West by the Summerwood Tasting Room in Paso Robles (which, incidentally, means Pass of the Oaks) and goes north. Where it appears to dead-end, the paved road curves to the left and becomes Live Oaks. If you continue going straight, Arbor Road is unpaved most of the way to where it turns into Kiler Canyon Road, which ends in the north at First Street. The pictures were taken mostly on this unpaved extension of Arbor Road, except for the survivor tree in the sunset. It was taken near where Arbor and Live Oaks Roads meet. Don’t forget to click on these pictures to see them full-size so you don’t miss the details.
Bethel and El Pomar Oak Trees
One road I visit often is Bethel Road in Templeton. Many vineyards and tasting rooms are located there, so there are many oak trees, including the first one at the top of this hub. Above, and to the right is one of my favorite oaks in front of the Veris tasting room. Veris also has a lovely rose garden near its patio for guests to enjoy. All around it are its vineyards. Part of Bethel Road itself is also lined with oaks, as you can see in the picture to the right.
These last two oaks live on El Pomar Road in Templeton. I visited the Pomar Junction Vineyard the first time the day I took them. The ride out there was quite scenic, and there were more oak trees than I could count. By now, you should know that is typical of North San Luis Obispo County. The oaks themselves should be listed as one of our major tourist attractions, but, since viewing them is free, they don’t get much advertising. If you come for our Central Coast wines, though, seeing the oaks will be included in your experience at no extra cost.