Southern California as Wine Country? Going south in the Golden state does not mean that you are abandoning good wine. Take a gander at what California’s other wine country has to offer with over 150 wineries trying to capture a bit of wine magic in their bottles.
Just a short distance from Los Angeles, Temecula Valley has been growing winegrapes since the late 18th century. With more than 40 wineries and 2,500 acres under vine, Temecula is Southern California’s largest wine-producing region. The warm climate is suited for growing Syrah and Tempranillo, as well as Viognier, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. The De Portola Wine Trail is set on the valley’s rural, equestrian side, while Calle Contento Wine Trail offers sweeping views.
Celebrated as the birthplace of California winemaking, San Diego is where Franciscan monks planted the state’s first grapevines in 1769 and made wines at Mission San Diego de Alcala, California’s first mission. San Diego County boasts more than 100 wineries. With a Mediterranean climate that allows vintners to grow approximately 60 different grape varieties, the region is best known for Merlot and Chardonnay. San Diego is also famous for its long beaches, making it a popular tourist destination.
One hour north of Los Angeles, find the Ventura County Wine Trail. The route features a dozen wineries, located minutes away from each other in a relaxed, coastal setting.
The scenic Malibu Coast Wine Trail has over 50 vineyards and seven tasting rooms, offering wines influenced by the Pacific Ocean and Santa Monica Mountains.
East of Los Angeles, Cucamonga Valley was one of the state’s dominant winegrowing regions during the early 20th century, and now hosts a handful of historic wineries, mainly producing Old-Vine Zinfandel and Port-style wines.
Sip and sample at the annual Ventura Winter Wine Walk or explore Ventura’s Pier Beachfront Promenade, a wooden pier built in 1872.
In Malibu, stroll along a wide stretch of sand at Zuma Beach or enjoy a taste of the beach life at the numerous restaurants in this beachside community north of Los Angeles.
Take an e-bike tour of Temecula Valley wine country, glide over vineyards in a hot air balloon or sample wines from over 30 producers in tasting rooms that dot this wine enclave.
Explore San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter with its shops, galleries, and dining, paired with a San Diego Food and Drinks Tours walking excursion. Moving inland, visit the gold-mining town of Julian or find a tasting room and turn the tables on a typical southern California vacation.