If you love wine and live in or nearby Los Angeles, you don’t have to travel to Napa or Sonoma to go wine tasting! There are incredible wineries and wine regions offering incredible experiences just a short car ride away.
2.5 hour drive
There’s little doubt among wine aficionados that Santa Ynez and its rustic, yet sophisticated cowboy town vibe with saloons, feed stores, and even random horses hitched to posts, is one of the best wine making regions in Southern California. The charming region has a warm and inviting feel to it, with plenty of estates serving up all types of tasty white and red wine varieties. In Santa Ynez, there are many estates with wineries up in the hills, or tasting rooms within the main town to indulge in. Fess Parker is a favorite of mine, and has a hotel in town just a short ride away to spend a relaxing evening after a day of wine tasting. Roblar Winery & Vineyards offers many options to include everyone’s own personal tastes. These include Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir from the Santa Rita Hills to name a few of the many. Join them for a wine and food pairing, or opt for the wine tasting! The estate and winery is stunning and worth the visit.
Bridlewood Estate Winery is another one of my recommendations. My husband and I loved the stunning and sprawling 105-acre estate in the heart of Santa Barbara County. It is built in a rustic, Spanish-style reminiscent of California’s historic missions. We tasted the limited release wines in their intimate tasting room and experienced the distinctive taste of the beautiful region.
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery is another terrific winery that is open to the public for wine tastings. We sat with the winemaker who had amazing knowledge and was expert in the region. He also had the best wine making stories about their failures in certain seasons and their amazing selections in others.
45 minute drive
Malibu offers access to some incredible wineries, along with wine experiences not to be missed. With its winding hills, Malibu offers plenty of wineries including Rosenthal Winery where the wine tasting is as wonderful as the sights and sounds of the vineyard. When we visited the Rosenthal Winery what captured my attention was the spectacular ocean views. It is close enough to LA that you can escape the hustle and bustle for a relaxing day of amazing wines in a captivating setting. The 28 acre estate located just four miles from the ocean offers plenty of year-round events as well the ability to taste a range of award winning wines.
Cielo Farms is another winery with a tasting room situated in the hills above Malibu. We had the opportunity to sample over 20 wines exclusive to this Tuscan estate which spans over thirty acres and boasts expansive views of the Malibu Hills. The Malibu Wine Safari is where you will literally jump into an SUV with friends, along with your favorite bottle of wine as you are on a guided tour of the property full of not only vineyards but animals of all kinds, including their famous giraffe.
2.5 hour drive
Think of Los Olivos as a sister to neighboring Santa Ynez. In fact, visitors can often get confused between the two. Los Olivos is a charming small town about a half an hour north of Santa Barbara which boasts a terrific strip of tasting rooms in their downtown region. Simply walk the main street known as Grand Avenue and you will find many incredible tasting rooms to sample regional wines from. Some favorite wineries include Firestone Vineyard which carries the distinction of being Santa Barbara County’s first estate winery. With moderate temperatures and a long growing season, it allows for a larger range of grape varieties. One of the most stunning properties in Los Olivos is up in the Los Olivos hills: Demetria Winery and Vineyard. The winery has a wonderful tasting room with a beautiful view of the property and its rolling hills. They offer two distinct portfolios of wines based upon the exceptional, ideally situated growing regions of the Central Coast. The drive up to the property will grab your attention instantly. With 213 acres of rolling hills with 38 high elevation hillside acres currently under vine, it’s one experience not to be missed.
With its rustic charm, Ojai is a terrific area to experience wineries, estates and tasting rooms. Of the many terrific wine regions of California, the Ojai Valley is one of the best and certainly one of the most charming for a daily trip or a weekend wine getaway. It’s just 90 miles north of LA and even closer from Santa Barbara. If you’re making a weekend out of it, stay at the Ojai Valley Inn and make sure to try wineries including Old Creek Ranch Winery with their new tasting room and a grassy picnic area, as well as Topa Mountain Winery, and Old Creek Ranch Winery which is perfect for experiencing a beautiful Ojai Valley rural ranch feel as you drink on fine wines!