We hear lots of stories about people getting “bitten by the wine bug.” For Audrey Burnam and Gregg Bone, it was the olive oil bug. The couple became obsessed with the stuff during a bicycle tour of Tuscany, so much so that they decided to relocate from Los Angeles to the Central Coast and plant 835 Tuscan olive trees with a plan to produce the kind of grassy, deeply flavorful olive oils they had so enjoyed. Six years later, in 2010, Kiler Ridge Olive Farm unveiled its first extra-virgin olive oil. Today, the couple cultivates 2,700 Italian olive trees on their 58-acre farm, just outside downtown Paso Robles.
Thursdays through Mondays, Kiler Ridge hosts educational tastings at the farm, where you can sip the nectar straight up (between palate cleansers of green apple slices) and learn what to look for when tasting extra virgin olive oil. (Staff experts will even reveal how to spot fake extra virgin oil!) Several different varieties of Tuscan-style olive oil are there for the sampling, from the peppery Cook’s Choice to the creamy artichoke notes of Coratina. Afterward, weekend visitors can order up a few items from their seasonal olive-oil-driven menu, which can include wood-fired pizzas, caramelized onion and thyme, and Italian sausage and romescu, a dipping sauce made with roasted tomatoes, garlic, and pine nuts.
On Saturdays and Sundays, you can join a free walking tour of the olive orchard, with bonus views of the surrounding Paso Robles vineyards, to learn about the trees and the company’s farming practices. For an in-depth look at how Kiler Ridge olive oils are made, from press to bottle, stick around for the mill and production tour.