The thriving LA wine culture is actually a return to its roots. Before the film industry took root, LA was the nation’s commercial winemaking hub and was blanketed by vineyards. A few wineries are upholding the tradition and hoping to reinvigorate the industry.Whether it's fog-laced redwoods on the Sonoma Coast, manicured gardens near Santa Barbara, or one of the best views of Los Angeles, you'll find plenty of these picture-perfect California wineries. The scenery is always free, and tasting fees are usually waived if you purchase a bottle of wine.
We have summed up Top 10 Wineries to visit post lockdown to calm yourself, Sip and swirl with breathtaking views of these wineries in Los Angeles.
Malibu Wine Safari
For those seeking a dose of adventure, Malibu Wine Safari is a must. A mere 30-minute drive from Los Angeles, this offbeat wine tasting experience invites guests to ride on custom-built, open-air safari vehicles around Malibu’s 1,000-acre Saddlerock Ranch and Vineyard. Sip wines from Saddlerock, Semler, and more as you mix and mingle with rescued exotic animals who call the ranch their home, including zebras, camels, alpacas, bison, and a giraffe named Stanley, who also – surprise, surprise – happens to be a retired Hollywood star.
Rosenthal Malibu Winery
The Rosenthal Malibu winery’s tasting room in Malibu, located literally across from the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway. As you take in gorgeous ocean views, as well as live music and food trucks on weekends, sip the full Rosenthal lineup of wines. Grapes like cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, petit verdot, viognier, and chardonnay are grown four miles inland at 1,450 feet above sea level on the steep slopes of the Newton Canyon AVA – Rosenthal’s very own appellation dedicated to its unique microclimate – then bottled to be sipped while enjoying the true Malibu beach lifestyle.
History buffs will want to pay a visit to Galleano. This property, located east of Los Angeles in Rancho Cucamonga, an area that was once the largest wine-growing region in the U.S., is essential to understanding the history of winemaking in Southern California. It is the oldest continuously operated, family-owned winery in the region, dating back to when Domenico Galleano was making wine in his basement during Prohibition. $5 gets you a tasting of five wines all made from locally-grown zinfandel, grenache, alicante bouchet, and more. If you’re lucky, you will run into Domenico’s great grandson Don, who will more than likely tell you some amazing stories about the property’s rich history.
Carter Estate Winery
Sparkling wine fans, Carter Estate winery is for you. Award-winning winemakers Jon McPherson and Javier Flores have shown the immense potential of classic methods sparkling wines made with grapes from Temecula Valley. The tasting room is adjacent to the production facility and separated only by a glass wall, so you can see the entire process in action while you sip their selection of premium sparkling and still wines made from local grapes.
Anyone with a thing for motorcycles will want to pop into this family-owned and operated boutique winery in Temecula Valley. Not only can you taste exquisite small production wines made from viognier, zinfandel, malbec, syrah, and proprietary blends while learning about the family’s commitment to quality farming, you can also tour their on-site collection of vintage motorcycles. Owner and winemaker Damian Doffo has even created a line of “MotoDoffo” wines, each featuring original artwork commissioned from some of the motorcycling world’s most renowned artists.
Robert Renzoni Vineyards
If all that tasting is working up an appetite, snag a table at Mama Rosa’s Trattoria at Robert Renzoni Vineyards in Temecula Valley. Sip the winery’s expertly-crafted wines, made primarily from the Italian varieties that grow so well in the region, while you nosh on some of the tastiest pizzas, pastas, salads, and sandwiches available outside of Italy. Grapes like vermentino, pinot grigio, Montepulciano, and sangiovese sing in the hands of winemaker Olivia Bue, and are a natural pairing for the food…not to mention the Tuscan-like views from the winery’s patio.
Orfila Vineyards and Winery
For a lovely Wine Country picnic setting, pack up some provisions and head to Orfila Vineyards and Winery in Escondido. This 70-acre estate located in the San Pasqual Valley on a 10,000-acre agricultural preserve features gorgeous grounds, a rose garden and grape arbor, and plenty of shaded tables to sip wine while picnicking and taking in San Diego’s idyllic year-round weather. The estate is only 15 miles from the Pacific Ocean at an altitude of 500 feet, which equates to cool ocean breezes and morning fogs that create optimal grape growing conditions. The result is a portfolio of wines made from estate and local grapes that have garnered over 1,000 domestic and international awards.
Volcan Mountain Winery
If the mountains are calling, head to the picturesque town of Julian, located in the Cuyamaca Mountains, an hour east of San Diego, for a visit to this winery, vineyard, and orchard, owned by the Hart family . A quick two-mile drive from the historic city center, which began its roots in the 1870s Gold Rush, Volcan Mountain Winery is known for estate-grown pinot gris and pinot noir. They also source grapes from other judiciously selected San Diego and Temecula Valley vineyards.
La Finquita Winery and Vineyard
La Finquita – translation: “the little farm” – in San Diego’s Ramona Valley is a must-see for its cave, if nothing else. This eight-acre property is owned by husband-and-wife team Charlie and Jess Koehler, who also happen to be the youngest winery owners and vintners in Ramona. Not only does it feature hand-crafted wines made exclusively from San Diego County grapes like petit verdot, tempranillo, syrah, grenache, and other Mediterranean varieties, it also boasts a stunning wine cave built into the side of the hill beneath the winery’s tasting room, adorned with walls of wine racks, a medieval chandelier, and the unmistakable, heady aroma of wine as it ages.
Charlie & Echo
City dwellers, be sure to check out one of San Diego’s coolest urban wineries, located in the Miralani Makers’ District. Charlie & Echo pride themselves on producing ultra low-intervention, natural wines made from locally sourced grapes. They specialize in craft sparkling wines that are intended to be a palate-opening departure from the Champagnes and Proseccos we are used to. A true urban winery, they encourage guests to bring in food and snacks from other businesses on site, not to mention their kids and dogs. The winery is also a member of 1% for the Planet, donating 1% of all sales back to environmental non-profits.