Third-generation winemakers craft approachable, food-friendly wines from chardonnay, pinot noir, and traditional northern-Italian varietals
Up to 50% Off Reserve-Wine Tasting for Four
Up to 53% Off Wine Tasting at Carmel Ridge Winery
Carmel Ridge Winery
Guests sample wines made from grapes grown with a minimum of human intervention and fermented in small lots of French oak barrels
38% Off Wine Tasting
Dawn's Dream Winery
Taste flights featuring several different wines at a charming tasting room in the picturesque town of Carmel-by-the-Sea on the Central Coast
Up to 38% Off at Galante Vineyards Tasting Room
Galante Vineyards Tasting Room
700-acre winery produces a broad range of red and white varietals that couples or quartets can sample before selecting take-home bottles
Up to 58% Off Wine Tasting with Three Wineries in One Location
Watsonville Winemakers Studios
At boutique-winery cooperative, staffers pour one-ounce tastings of multiple varietals from three wineries
Up to 68% Off Tasting at Leal Vineyards
Palates are introduced to subtle notes of varietals including chardonnay, malbec, and mourvèdre in tasting room on 50-acre estate
Up to 57% Off Tasting and Tour or Bottles of Wine
Pietra Santa Winery
Tours explore winery, concluding with sampling of wines; wine options provide 6 or 12 bottles of 2009 Block H Pinot Noir
Up to 64% Off a Wine Tasting
Vineyard and winery that uses sustainable practices, including dry farming of vines that are more than 150 years old
Up to 48% Off Wine Tasting
Aimee June Winery
San Juan Bautista
Boutique winery produces eight natural-yeast varietals, each bottle adorned with hand-crafted artwork
Up to 58% Off Wine Tastings at Hahn Estate
Sip on wine samples while absorbing the sights and sounds of the Salinas Valley wine country
Up to 51% Off Wine Tasting at It's Wine Tyme
It's Wine Tyme
Wine tastings include one flight of wine per person, plus shared appetizers
39% Off Wine Tasting
Saratoga Wine & Beer Garden
Outdoor patio and garden harbors guests who sip on flights of wine and nibble complementary cheeses
Up to 57% Off Wine-Tasting or Winemaking Classes with Wine
South San Jose
Students sample wine and cheese in tasting session or learn how the winery makes pinot noir ; all classes include bottles of wine
39% Off Wine-and-Chocolate Pairing
Wine educators guide guests through tastings of red and white wines paired with local chocolates
Up to 53% Off Wine Tasting at Heller Estate Organic Vineyards
Heller Estate Organic Vineyards
Carmel Valley Village
Sample award-winning wines aged in French oak barrels and made from grapes grown in the vineyards that make the property so picturesque
$11 for a Wine Tasting for Two at Joyce Vineyards
Sample 7 wines, including the Black Mountain chardonnay with notes of pear, quince and pineapple, or the bold Pedregal cabernet sauvignon
Up to Half Off Wine Tasting with Take-Home Bottles
Ramon Rios Vineyard & Winery
Visitors sample a number of vintages, including a chilled rosé, an aromatic majenas, and a fruity malvasia bianca
Up to 51% Off Wine Tasting
Windmill Ridge Winery
Husband and wife team pour samples of their favorites wines at their beautiful 3.8-acre vineyard
Up to 55% Off Wine Tasting and Bocce Ball
Sol Rouge Winery
Sample French-inspired wines and play leisurely games of bocce ball at Sol Rouge's winery tasting room on Treasure Island
78% Off In-Home Wine-Tasting Party with 6 Bottles
Wines For Humanity San Francisco
Six bottles of wine are delivered to your doorstep, and a professional wine advisor walks you and up to 15 guests through a wine tasting
Up to 60% Off Wine Tasting at Val Du Vino Winery
Val Du Vino Winery
Wine tastings include up to six flights of wine and a take-home bottle
Château Julien Wine Estate was featured on JustLuxe and California Winery Advisor. Yelpers give the winery a three-star average, and TripAdvisors give it an average of four owl eyes. Four Yahoo! Travelers give it a 4.5-star average.
In the 1850s, winery founder Theophile Vache chose a piece of land to plant wine grapes because of its maritime climate and unique soils. More recently, this land was christened Pietra Santa?Italian for ?sacred stone??in honor of the region's granite- and limestone-rich soils, which have produced subtly earthy wines for 150 years. Rows of olive trees and wine grapes, including pinot noir and pinot gris varieties, sprout from 450 acres of fecund soil nestled in the Gabilan Range.
Within the Mission-style winery, vintner Alessio Carli ferments vino in oak barrels, and a Tuscan-imported press squeezes oils from organic olives. The winery's picnic area furnishes guests and marooned hot air balloon captains with breath-nabbing views of Cienega Valley. In addition to garnering the adoration of oenophiles, Pietra Santa has attracted attention from Frank Lloyd Wright associate Burley Griffin Junior, who designed the estate's prairie-style Dickinson house, which was built in 1905.
With a reverence for Old-World winemaking techniques, Leal Vineyards founder Frank Leal orchestrates a well-balanced blend of varietals including chardonnay, syrah, malbec, and mourvèdre. The self-taught vine visionary personally tends to the estate, determining optimum moments for picking and bottling to prevent the scars of prematurely separating young grapes from their mothers. In addition to nurturing the 50-acre flock of award-winning grapes, Leal's estate hosts weddings, corporate functions, parties, and wine tastings, which introduce palates to the subtle notes of its signature varietals. Those whose taste in wines changes with the seasons can join the vineyard’s wine club to receive a new bouquet each quarter.
Bought by brothers Alex and Charlie Larson after an award-winning stint in the restaurant business, Rapazzini Winery tickles tongues with an eclectic collection of wines drawn from California's vineyards. After bottling, most Rapazzini wines rest for an additional one to two years, mellowing tannins, developing fruity bouquets, and finishing majors in art history. Unique wines include the almond champagne, created by Alex Larson using his training at the California Culinary Institute, and the Arpibella, blending sweet wine, apricots, and peach into a delectable aperitif or dessert wine. Guests to the winery can taste 21 of the 22 available wines, guided through the selection by resident grape expert Adam and his airedale, Butters. Behind the beaten copper bar, Adam and the brother Larson can also whip up wine-based cocktails, amusing mouths with more complex flavors.The two-story, open-beamed tasting room lulls guests into placid relaxation while sipping on palate-pleasing pours, whereas a stained-glass window depicting the winery's whimsical mascot reassures eyes that the sun has not been devoured by a dragon-shaped cloud.
Nestled in the scenic Hecker Pass region of the Santa Clara Valley, the family-owned winery focuses on crafting exemplary grape concoctions unlike anything inside a juice box or peanut butter sandwich. Solis has produced dozens of award-winning wines, baiting a 2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition gold medal for its 2008 Muscat Canelli, 2009 Fiano Estate, and 35,000 B.C. Chateau de Cro-Magnon. Grab a pal and perambulate the charming winery premises while sampling a variety of palate-stimulating wines during your tasting for two ($5 value per person). Five wines are included in the tasting. Additionally, budding winecionados will be able to take home a bottle ($12 to $30), such as the red 2006 Seducente ($20) or white 2007 Chardonnay ($24).
Nestled in among redwood trees at the base of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Fernwood Cellars prides itself on its high-quality processes, using only grapes grown on-site and only premium oak barrels for aging. Veteran vintner Matt Oetinger oversees the winemaking process from grapes to bottle, looking after each batch of fermented nectar like a proud parent at a children’s roller-derby bout. Great for a spending a romantic afternoon with a wine-loving date or boldly confronting a grape phobia before it ruins another trip to the supermarket, a visit to the estate allows sippers to get a taste of potable delight before toting home a chosen bottle. Today’s Groupon can be redeemed for a bottle of chardonnay, zinfandel, syrah, or il cane.
1933 was a banner year for Phillip and John Bargetto. Prohibition finally ended, and the brothers were able to reopen their winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Originally from Piedmont, Italy, Phillip and John embraced their passion for growing northern-Italian varietals, twining their hillsides with vines of dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
Now run by the Bargetto family's third generation, the winery continues to cultivate these same grapes as well as two of Santa Cruz's more well-known varietals, chardonnay and pinot noir. Its most heralded wines hail from the 40 acres of trellised vines at Regan Estate Vineyards, which produces balanced yet concentrated fruit thanks to its sunny hilltop location, loamy soil, and cool breezes from thousands of naturally occurring ceiling fans.
Controlled aging in new-French- or American-oak barrels imbues some of the winery's reds with lingering finishes and toasty sweetness, and stainless-steel barrels ensure that the whites retain their vibrant acidity. Although most of the wines display a more approachable style, the La Vita line embraces the family's Old-World routes, featuring complexly tannic and age-worthy blends of Phillip and John's favored dolcetto, nebbiolo, and refosco grapes.
At 2,600 feet up in the Santa Cruz Mountains, one might expect to find sprawling views of the ocean and surrounding forest and not flourishing vineyards. Yet there are more than 70 wineries dappling the hills at various altitudes, privy to the dewy, cooling breezes of the sea and the richness of the rocky soil. The San Francisco Chronicle speaks to their scattered presence, deeming them "less a cohesive wine region than a patchwork of vineyards." Still, this characteristic isolation has resulted in "a perfect laboratory for winemaking not held hostage to fashion"—no one style dominates in this rustic setting.
Pinot noirs and chardonnays populate the western front, and the east yields cabernets, merlots, and zinfandels. The majority of the vineyards are small and family owned—a fact reflected in their meticulously bottled libations and the matching sweaters of their holiday photos—but though they exist in chosen hermitage, many of them welcome visitors to their scenic sites. They host weddings, festivals, and open events such as Pathway to Pinot Paradise, a self-guided tour of the pinot noir hotspots.
In 1975, Ken Burnap established Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard with one goal in mind: to produce one of the best pinot noirs in California. Four years later he hired his protégé, Jeff Emery, who now runs the vineyard and ensures that it continues to produce award-winning pinots along with complex cabernet sauvignons petite sirahs. The staff makes the rounds of seven vineyards, where it cultivates traditional Californian grapes as well as varieties that originated in Spain and Portugal for its Quinta Cruz label.
Odonata's winemaker, Denis Hoey, combines old-world methods with modern ideas and techniques to create subtly complex wines in the traditional French style. A focus on sustainably grown, organic local grapes helps to create the food-friendly wines, which can be enjoyed immediately but also age well.
Handicap Accessible: Yes
Parking: Parking lot
Most popular offering: Cabernet Sauvignon
Alcohol: Wine Only
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Pro Tip: Sip organically grown wine while enjoying the sculpture garden and shopping our gift boutique.
Has your business won any awards?
Yes. We received Small Business of the Year in 2011 from the state of California as well as a number of awards for our wines.
Tell us about your business.
We are the oldest winery in the Carmel Valley Appellation and pioneered the grape-growing area in 1968. We produce estate grown, estate bottled, 100% certified organically grown wine. We have a sculpture garden and an art gallery on the premises. Guests may browse through our gift boutique for gourmet sauces, olive oils and wine related items.
Russell and Francis Joyce, the partners behind Joyce Vineyards, translate the philosophy of less is more into the world of wine. They gently guide grapes through the fermentation process, limiting their involvement so that each wine expresses a flavor true to the fruit and terroir it's derived from. They source the grapes from European-derived vines that Joyce planted in 1987 and also from partner vineyards spread throughout Monterey, Santa Lucia Highlands, and San Benito County. Visitors can sip the varietals in a contemporary tasting room or subscribe to the wine club for quarterly deliveries of recommended bottles.
Pierce Ranch Vineyards is a boutique winery located in a highland valley at the southern border of Monterey County, but its wines have the robust characteristics of those from the Iberian Peninsula. That's because the family that operates the vineyard specializes in Spanish and Portuguese varietals. They use careful growing methods and fermentation techniques to craft a wide range of limited-run wines. Each and every one of their yearly production of 2,000 cases is grown on the estate. While lesser-known varieties such as touriga, tempranillo, and albari?o are emphasized, more familiar grapes such as cabernet sauvignon and zinfandel are represented as well. Previous vintages have included their 2010 albari?o that was awarded Best in Show at the Central Coast Wine Competition and a 2007 petite sirah that was declared Best in California at the California State Fair Wine Competition.
Flowers and ornamental vines surround the winery's tasting room, which occupies a cozy bungalow near the coast of Monterey Bay. Servers jot the day's wine offerings on a chalkboard and fill glasses behind a wooden bar. In addition to wine tastings, visitors can stop by for live music or open-house events.
Situated in the Santa Lucia Highlands overlooking the Salinas Valley, Hahn Estate has converted what were horse and cattle ranches into the birthplace for award-winning wines. Among the first wineries in California to be certified for its sustainability, the facility spreads its production across six vineyards and more than 1,000 acres of Monterey County land. That land yields premium selections of pinot noir, chardonnay, and syrah, or as Hahn Estate views them, tasty celebrations of the estate's unique location.
The large front windows of It's Wine Tyme are almost always open, allowing the sounds of conversation and clinking glasses to drift out while the cool breeze wafts in. Of course, wine lovers might be too enamored with the drink list to notice anything around them; five impressively curated pages list everything from Argentinian malbecs to Washington-sourced syrah and Napa Valley chardonnay. Guests can also enjoy small, shareable snacks while enjoying the stylings of musicians, readers, and traveling bards during the frequent live events.