You don’t have to go far for vino

Pam Cheatwood, left, discusses wine selections for purchase from Doug Minnick and Scott Page-Pagter, seated, of Double Trouble Wine Room during the New-Haul to-Go drive-up event held on Main Street in Newhall on Saturday, June 06, 2020. Dan Watson/The Signal
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While the rules on when and where we can drink seem to be changing quite literally day by day — one moment, the city is creating an innovative plan to add outdoor dining; the next, the state temporarily is shuttering bars, again, altogether — wine enthusiasts should at least know what’s in the area.

Afterall, hope springs eternal, whether the wine glass is half-empty or half-full.

In addition to a growing number of tasting rooms in the Santa Clarita Valley that still sell wine, the area hosts a number of great getaways that are perfect for a fun day trip that’ll let you buy some wine, enjoy the outdoors and spend some time with your loved ones.

All of the options listed below are not only a little more affordable than heading into more traditional wine country destinations like Napa or Sonoma counties, and they’re also much, much closer.

The following is just a few suggestions, but outside of Fillmore’s Giessinger, the list only represents some of the options. Due to varying COVID-19 restrictions, make sure you check before you go.

Giessinger Winery

Fillmore’s lone winery is just about a half-hour’s drive down Highway 126, near a bevy of fresh fruits and a honey farm that are also worth exploring.

Giessinger Winery offers a tasting room right outside the SCV, where Ed Giessinger has released his wines for almost 25 years. Ventura County regulations might be different than L.A. County’s, depending on when you go, so it’s always good to check first. 

He found the SCV-adjacent location on a lark while he was driving from the Los Angeles area to where he works as a professor of astrophysics at University of California, Santa Barbara, not long after the Northridge Earthquake. The city was looking to revitalize, and Giessinger’s family has vineyards back home in Alsace-Lorraine, as well as Algeria — so an opportunity presented itself, and Giessinger joined the family business.

The location has a cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc and malbec that are all popular, as well as a Westlake Village location. There are different varietals offered at each spot, he said.  

Giessinger Winery’s Fillmore location is at 365 Santa Clara St. (805) 524-5000

Antelope Valley 

The Antelope Valley has a wine scene that has a growing reputation, and a growing number of spots to enjoy wine.

Run by the Williams family, Golden Star sources their grapes from Ephraim Chavez from High Desert Cellars, who’s been supplying winemakers in the area since 1999 (including Reyes Winery in the Santa Clarita Valley. 

The Littlerock location’s first release came in 2004, with the commercial vineyard following several successful homemade efforts in 2012.

While their tasting menu currently includes a chardonnay, a syrah mistral and an estate tempranillo, among others, it’s always a good idea to check before you go, due to changing statewide rules.

The tasting room is located at 36043 106th St. East, Littlerock. Call (661) 713-6660 for more information. The Thief & Barrel (42257 6th St. W No. 302, Lancaster) and Antelope Valley Winery (42041 20th St. W, Lancaster) are also not too far from each other.

RIght here at home

There’s a handful of tasting rooms and wine sellers in the Santa Clarita Valley and even a couple great new locations on Main Street — but if you’re looking for the winery experience, there’s a couple of locations just outside city limits that offer great wines and beautiful settings. 

Reyes Winery 

Robert Reyes is opening up a new location on Main Street, which is slated to be a tasting room, to feature his wines from SCV grapes, as well as ones that are sourced regionally.

In the meantime, his Reyes Winery offered curbside pickup, in-store service, as well as wine tastings or glasses of wine (outdoor only) by reservation at its winery and tasting room on Sierra Highway in Agua Dulce up until the recent closure.

There are still some wines for purchase though.

“We kind of tied this month to a lot of rosé,” said Beth Heiserman, who handles marketing and communications for the winery, noting the recent celebration of National Rosé Day on the second Saturday in June.

Reyes Winery is located at 10262 Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce. Reservations are required. For more information, contact (661) 268-1865.

Agua Dulce Winery

Just down the street from Reyes on Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce Winery offers a number of local options, as well. 

The staff also is working to comply with the ever-changing health orders, so it’s available options, just like for everyone else, could change. 

However, right now, the “picnic program” is a popular option, and offers a bottle of wine and a tea plate that lets you sit in a serene setting near some of the animals at the facility.

The Sweetwater Rose is probably also their most popular choice right now due to the rising temperatures. The “hugely popular” wine is chilled, and described as having a slightly sweet flavor with lots of fruit.

Agua Dulce Winery is located at 9640 Sierra Highway, Agua Dulce. Call (661) 268-7402 for more information.

SCV tasting rooms

If you’re feeling especially ambitious and have a ride-sharing account, there are several tasting rooms in Santa Clarita, in addition to the one Reyes Winery is building on Main Street. 

Double Trouble Wine Room, which opened in May 2017, is unique in that it is a blend of two wineries, Hoi Polloi and Pagter Brothers Wines, coming together to join forces. Pulchella Winery is also nearby if you’re in the neighborhood.

Wine 661 is also a fun, popular, local destination with countless wines from which to choose.

 The Double Trouble Wine Room is located at 24338 Main St., Newhall. 661-476-5627. Wine 661 is located at 24268 Valencia Blvd. 

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