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Northern California might be known for its wonderful wine and sprawling wineries, but the Central Coast has a few delights of its own. The Central Coast wineries offer the added bonus of being a perfect weekend getaway from Southern California, without the hassle of having to jump on a plane. Here’s our guide to 10 of the best.
Tucked away in the mountains of Santa Lucia on the western side of Paso Robles, Oso Libre Winery offers rich and complex wines due to the unusual microclimate of the sustainably farmed vineyards. Oso Libre is a small family-owned estate that lies just 10 miles from the Pacific Ocean, making it consistently cooler than the rest of Paso Robles. It provides an ideal habitat for Cabernet Sauvignon, Rhone varieties and Primitivo.
Oso Libre Winery, 7383 Vineyard Dr, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 238 3378
Bianchi Winery and Tasting Room sits on a gorgeous 40-acre property, features exclusive wines, a full kitchen and an outdoor BBQ. Guests even have the option to stay overnight in the Vineyard House and arrange tours of the state-of-the-art wine facility that covers the entire winemaking process. The winery features a selection of the usual suspects (Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Pinot), as well as some Tasting Room Exclusive small productions (Cabernet Franc, Petite Sirah, Primitivo, and various blends). The winery is a contemporary agrarian structure set on a lakeside koi pond.
Bianchi Winery, 3380 Branch Rd, Paso Robles, CA, USA, +1 805 226 9922
Ancient Peaks Winery is located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains just 14 miles away from the Pacific Ocean and the vineyard soil is predominantly comprised of an ancient petrified seabed, which was uplifted some 10 million years ago. This allows the winemakers to plant the same grape in four to five different varieties of soil to get an array of distinct flavors. Every Saturday, visitors can experience a tour of the noteworthy soils and sustainable practices, which includes a flight of wines paired with select fine meats and artisan cheeses. If guests are looking for something a little more adventurous, zip line canopy tours are also offered that send thrill-seekers soaring up to 125 feet above the scenic vineyard.
Ancient Peaks Winery, 22720 El Camino Real, Santa Margarita, CA, USA, +1 805 365 7045
Demetria Estate is a family owned winery with artfully crafted wines to showcase the unique growing conditions of the Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Rita Hills. The winery has 45 acres planted on a biodynamic-farmed estate, which exclusively consists of Rhone varietals, such as Viognier, Grenache blanc, Picpoul blanc, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. The winemaker Harry Waye creates wines that are complex, while being food friendly and approachable, not just for the connoisseur, but for the everyday wine lover.
Demetria Estate, 6701 Foxen Canyon Rd, Los Olivos, CA, USA, +1 805 686 2345
Artiste Winery combines the wonderful craft of winemaking with works of impressionist art that adorn the labels of each bottle. Every wine blend is named after the title of the painting that graces its bottle. The winemakers work with some of the finest contemporary impressionist artists across the country to commission and license a new painting for each new wine. Taking inspiration from the colors, imagery and story behind each wine label, the winemakers blend different wines to create impressionist cuvées.
Artiste Winery, 2948 Grand Ave, Los Olivos, CA, USA, +1 805 686 2626
Located in a small and unique tasting room in Los Olivos, The Bubble Shack is a collaborative effort of siblings Eli Parker and Ashley Parker Snider. Featuring wines like ‘The Sibling Bubblery,’ a tongue-in-cheek reference to the brother/sister project, the winery offers a variety of sparkling wines.
The Bubble Shack, 2970 Grand Avenue, Los Olivos, CA, USA, +1 805 688 8276
With two sustainably farmed vineyards in the heart of the Santa Rita Hills, Sanford Winery has specialized in hand-crafted, estate bottled Pinot Noir and Chardonnay since 1981. The first vineyard planted in the appellation, Sanford & Benedict Vineyard now boasts of having the county’s oldest Pinot Noir vines.
Sanford Winery, 5010 Santa Rosa Rd, Lompoc, CA, USA, +1 800 426 9463
Deeply rooted in the heart of the Santa Ynez Valley, Sunstone is an ideal place to taste wine. Located just 35-minutes north of Santa Barbara, Sunstone seemingly transports visitors to the Provençal French countryside. Named after the vineyard’s exposed and sun-dappled shale and stones, Sunstone is an idyllic retreat where you can enjoy a glass of wine in a lavender and rosemary-filled courtyard, and eat lunch on picnic tables shaded by olive and oak trees.
Sunstone Vineyards and Winery, 125 N Refugio Rd, Santa Ynez, CA, USA, +1 805 688 9463
Standing Sun Wines focuses on Rhone-varietal wines, handcrafted in small lots from some of the Santa Ynez Valley’s premiere vineyards. The fruit is sourced as vineyard specific varieties, each with its own characteristics and diversity. The tasting room and winery, located in the heart of Buellton, CA, also serves as a live music venue and has a modern art gallery located in their warehouse next door.
Standing Sun Wines, 92 2nd St #D, Buellton, CA, USA, +1 805 691 9413
Widely credited with putting the Paso Robles appellation on the global wine map, JUSTIN Vineyards & Winery makes for an ideal getaway. Located about 25 minutes outside of Paso Robles, JUSTIN was the first winery on the Central Coast to offer a tasting room, an award-winning restaurant and luxury overnight accommodations. The JUSTIN experience combines the luxury and ambiance of a five-star hotel with the rustic Paso Robles landscape, giving guests a first-rate wine experience.