Wine Institute concludes its California Wine Country Back Roads series this month with highlights from Southern California wine country, extending south from Ventura County to San Diego County. California is home to some of the world’s most famous wine destinations. Yet, even the high-profile regions have less traveled wine roads, featuring gorgeous scenery, acclaimed wines and fewer visitors. Before the warm weather slips away, explore the off-the-beaten-path wineries among the surf and sand in Southern California at DiscoverCaliforniaWines.com.
Southern California wine country has more than 150 wineries where visitors can see harvest, enjoy scenic views and taste limited-production wines. Above: Palumbo Family Vineyard in Temecula Valley. Robert Holmes photo, courtesy Wine Institute.
TASTE: 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.
TOUR: 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 The Food Event on Oct. 13, showcasing 40 of L.A.’s restaurants and 20 wineries.
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 at Temecula’s CRUSH event Sept. 28.
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 enjoy local wine at the Ramona Art & Wine Festival Nov. 2.
About Wine Institute
Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group for California wineries, which produce 80 percent of U.S. wine. As the nation’s number one state for wine and food tourism and 3,900 wineries, California attracts 24 million visitors to its wine regions each year.
SOURCE Wine Institute