By Michele E. Buttelman
Oenophiles will want to raise a glass to California Wine Month. Every September the wineries of the Golden State celebrate the grape harvest. It’s a great time to explore and taste new wines. Visit a winery in a unique setting, or a winery close to your own backyard.
Pacific Star Winery
33000 North Highway 1,
Fort Bragg CA 95437
North of Fort Bragg at mile marker 73.58
Known as the westernmost winery in the country, Pacific Star Winery’s coastal setting makes for quite the view while picnicking on the grounds of the Mendocino winery.
Located right off of Highway 1, Pacific Star is the only winery located along the breathtakingly gorgeous cliffs of the Mendocino Coast.
Guests enjoy the crash of the Pacific’s waves while sipping on a full-bodied Viognier or a red blend.
The unique location contributes to the wine waves crash into sea caves under the cellar, naturally filtering wine from its sediment, and salt from the sea air deposits on barrels, accelerating osmosis while creating viscous and dense wines.
Paradise Ridge Winery
4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive,
Santa Rosa, CA
Family-owned Paradise Ridge Winery serves up incredible views of the sun setting over Sonoma County’s Russian River from the balcony of its tasting room and estate overlooking the rolling vineyards of the area.
In 2017, tragedy struck as a firestorm enveloped the iconic estate property, but it did not diminish the family’s vision of sustainability or their commitment to community. After a multimillion-dollar remodel, Paradise Ridge Winery reopened in December 2018
The winery produces a wide variety of sustainable wines, from Chardonnay to Zinfandel. Don’t miss wandering through the four-acre sculpture garden on property.
Make an online tasting reservation at email: [email protected]
Join Paradise Ridge for its Wine & Sunset Series on Wednesdays Sept. 21-Oct. 26.
The event will be held at the winery tasting room, 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive in Santa Rosa. Food trucks, live bands and Paradise Ridge wines paired with beautiful Russian River Valley sunsets. while enjoying gourmet local food trucks and live music! Tickets: $10-$20.
$10 – $20.
Foxen Canyon Wine Trail
Santa Maria, Los Olivos and Los Alamos
Explore more than a dozen wineries on the 30-mile-long Foxen Canyon Wine Trail in Santa Barbara County. Voted Wine Enthusiast Magazine’s Wine Region of the Year in 2021, the Central Coast Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and other varietals delight wine lovers. Spend the day soaking up the scenery, sipping wine and enjoying a picnic in this bucolic region.
For a list of wineries and a map visit www.foxencanyonwinetrail.net/foxen-wine-trail-map.
Grassini Family Vineyards
Tasting Room: 24 El Paseo,
Santa Barbara, CA
Estate Winery: By appointment only, Santa Ynez.
For estate winery reservations email: [email protected].
This family winery, run by the third and fourth generations, makes wine from grapes grown in their own vineyards. The Happy Canyon AVA is blessed with characteristics of both warm and cool climates. This AVA is home to the warmest microclimate in the Santa Ynez Valley.
The downtown Santa Barbara tasting room is located just steps away from State Street which makes it a convenient stop before heading out on the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.
Malibu Discovery Wine Tour
Did you know there is a wine region hidden behind the Santa Monica Mountains? Close to the SCV this is a great way to experience the Malibu AVA (Malibu Coast American Viticultural Area.)
All tours come with a luxury vehicle with a professional tour guide and goody bag with snacks and water. Choose from one of four wine tour experiences:
The Malibu Wine Trail Tour ($199 per person). This six-hour tour includes two wine tasting room visits, lunch with wine and a scenic drive.
Malibu Wine Tour and Sightseeing ($179 per person). This five-and-a-half-hour tour includes scenic stops and the Point Dume Nature Preserve, VIP wine tasting room visit and lunch with wine along the coast.
Twilight Wine and Dine Tour ($229 per person). The three-hour scenic tour includes VIP wine tasting room visit and a three-course dinner with wine.
Malibu Brunch and Wine Tour ($199 per person).
Includes scenic drive, brunch with choice of champagne, mimosa or wine and two wine tasting room visits.
Getty Villa, Wine and Lunch Tour ($249 per person). This six-hour tour includes a visit to the Getty Villa in Malibu, scenic ride along famous Pacific Coast Highway, a VIP wine tasting and lunch with wine.
Hitching Post Wines
420 E. Highway 246,
Buellton, CA 93427
Live out your “Sideways” movie fantasy at Hitching Post Wines in Buellton.
Leading the Hitching Post Wines team are the creators and long-time friends, Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini, who have been making wines in Santa Barbara County since 1979.
Long before Hollywood discovered the winemaking landmark and its excellent wines, Hartley, a former Alaskan salmon fisherman and Ostini, chef and owner of the famed Hitching Post 2 Restaurant in Buellton, were brought together by their love of wine and winemaking. Over the years their backyard hobby has turned into a highly acclaimed winemaking enterprise.
Don’t miss tasting the Hitching Post Highliner.