Are you looking for a new getaway destination? If so, you should definitely check out Southern California Wine Country. Its history dates back to the 1700s when Father Junipero Sera established the first vineyard in San Diego.
Lots of things changed since then, and Southern California’s winemaking scene is looking better than ever. Its many sub-regions have a unique microclimate that’s crucial in the winemaking culture.
Going on a short trip, tasting wines and enjoying nature will do you good in more ways than one. Still, it’s a bit tricky to decide where to go first, especially if you don’t have much time to learn about these wineries.
Take a moment to read about some of the best wineries in Southern California and all that they offer. Throughout this article, you’ll understand why these places are still one of the most favorite weekend-getaway destinations.
1. Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate
Located in Malibu, this winery is ideal if you love the beach. The tasting room is located right across from the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway. It provides a beautiful ocean view, as well as fun food trucks and live music on weekends.
Grapes like cabernet franc, Petit Verdot, cabernet sauvignon, viognier, and chardonnay are grown on the slopes of the Newton Canyon AVA, at 1,450 feet above sea level.
The wines are bottled to be enjoyed right then and there, while you also enjoy the beachy atmosphere and lifestyle.
Overall, it’s a view and taste that you won’t be able to forget as quickly, and you’ll probably want to return as soon as possible.
2. Malibu Wine Safari
If you’re more of an adventurous type, you should check out this winery. It’s located some 30 minutes from Los Angeles in Mullholand Highway, Malibu.
The unique wine tasting experience includes riding on a custom-built, safari vehicle around Saddlerock Ranch and vineyard. The 1,000-acre estate is breathtaking, and more so as you sip wines from Semler and Saddlerock.
You also get to see and interact with rescued animals that live there. You’ll probably see camels, zebras, bison, alpacas, and of course, a giraffe named Stanley.
3. Carter Estate Winery
This is one of the wineries if you’re a fan of sparkling wine. It’s run by award-winning winemakers Javier Flores and Jon McPherson, who brought us sparkling wine made with Temecula Valley grapes.
It’s located on Rancho California Road, Temecula, and is one of the most beautiful places in the area. Its tasting room is right next to the production facility, with only a glass wall separating the two. This allows you to see the process of production while you enjoy your wine.
You can have both sparkling and still wines, and they’re all made from local grapes. Max Kenyon of Clean That Floor loves going to the Carter Estate Winery for the many different wines and of course, the scenery.
4. Galleano Winery
Located in Wineville Road, Mira Loma, the Galleano Winery is ideal for history lovers. The property is located east in Rancho Cucamonga, which was once the largest wine-growing region in America.
If you care about the history of making wine in Southern California, it’s quite essential that you visit this estate. This is the oldest, family-owned winery in the region that’s continuously operated. It dates way back to Prohibition when Domenico Galleano was making wine in his basement.
The tasting costs $5, and for the money, you get to taste five wines made from locally-grown Grenache, Zinfandel, Alicante Bouchet, and more. You might even come across Domenico’s great-grandson Don who is always in the mood to tell some exciting stories about the property and its history.
5. Robert Renzoni Vineyards
If you like some food with your wine, you might want to stop by Robert Renzoni Vineyards, located in De Portola Road, Temecula. It’s a combination of Mama Rosa’s Trattoria and some tasty wines that have people coming back.
The winery offers expertly-crated wines made from different Italian varieties. And, if the wine-tasting opened your appetite, you can eat some pasta, salads, pizzas, and sandwiches.
The winemaker Olivia Bue makes the best from grapes like pinot grigio, Montepulciano, Vermentino, and Sangiovese for you to enjoy in. On top of that, pairing the wine with food and the Tuscan-like view will leave you stunned and unprepared to leave.
6. Volcan Mountain Winery
If you’re looking for a unique getaway to mountains, you should check out the town of Julian. It’s located in the Cuyamaca Mountains, about an hour east of San Diego.
The winery is owned by the Hart family, who also owns the Hart Winery in Temecula Valley. The historic city center dates back to the 1870s Gold Rush, and the winery is only about two miles from it.
The estate is known for its Pinot Gris and pinot noir, although they also source grapes from other vineyards in Temecula Valley and San Diego.
The Volcan Mountain Winery sits on some eight acres of apple trees, which grow eighteen different kinds of apples. They produce three apple wines, all of which you can have a taste of and buy while you’re there.
7. Charlie & Echo
This is one of the coolest wineries to visit if you don’t feel like living the urban, city life. It’s located in the Miralani Makers’ District, specializing in sparkling wines.
The winery prides itself on making low-intervention, natural wines from locally sourced grapes. It’s a modern winery, encouraging you to bring your kids, dogs, and even food and snacks from other businesses.
Another important thing to mention is that Charlie & Echo Winery is a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of all sales.
It’s a great place to visit and relax while enjoying some wine that you don’t have to leave the city for.
8. La Finquita Winery and Vineyard
Located in San Diego’s Ramona Valley, La Finquita (the little farm) is a cave-like winery. An eight-acre property is owned by husband and wife Charlie and Jess Koehler. Interestingly, they are the youngest winery owners in Ramona.
The estate has a stunning wine cave built into the side of the hill. It’s just beneath the winery’s tasting room, featuring a medieval chandelier, wine racks, and the aroma.
It offers hand-crafted wines from San Diego County grapes like Syrah, Petit Verdot, Tempranillo, Grenache, and other varieties.
It’s a unique place to visit if you’re looking to experience a bit more than a classic winery getaway. Not only you’ll get to taste some extraordinary wines, but you’ll also experience the smell of wine as it ages, which is something you won’t forget for a while.