Raise a glass to cool breezes, crisp wines and breathtaking views along Highway 1 this fall
You already know that SLO CAL's spectacular beaches tend to inspire a sense of wonder and awe in visitors. But what about the wines produced along this scenic slice of Highway 1? We're here to tell you—from experience—that these bright bottles are known to exude an enchanting flavor all their own. Whether you visit the wineries and tasting rooms of San Simeon, Cambria, Cayucos, Avila Beach or Edna Valley, you'll taste the magic of the Pacific, one sip at a time. Discover charming chardonnay, sophisticated pinot noir and beautiful blends that capture the true essence of SLO CAL's pristine coastline. Why not swirl and stay a while? There is no better time to soak up this unique blend of sun, soil and spray.
1. Savor San Simeon
Your next Hearst Castle adventure just got more opulent
As if touring the manicured gardens and glimmering pools of Hearst Castle could get any sweeter—we suggest adding “wine tasting” to your San Simeon travel itinerary. Indulge all of your senses (we're looking at you, flavor-receptors) while taking in some of the most sought-after coastline along Highway 1. San Simeon is your destination for seasonally driven fare and fresh seafood paired with exceptional coastal wines. Pull up a chair at Cavalier Restaurant or head to the nearby Ragged Point Inn, where the flavors are only rivaled by the expansive ocean views (especially come sunset). Looking for more than a pit-stop while traveling along the coast? Sebastian's General Store is not your typical general store off the highway. You'll find artisan groceries perfect for picnicking on the sand as well as a juicy grass-fed burger made just the way you like. Bonus: All you need to do is step next door to enter the well-appointed Hearst Ranch Winery tasting room, where award-winning cool-climate chardonnay and pinot noir are always on offer. Yes, your next coastal wine tasting excursion can be this easy.
2. Be charmed by Cambria
Step into a painting at the pine-studded wine oasis
Dip your toe into the artful realm of Cambria, where the crashing waves meet staggering pines (with sumptuous results). This dramatic landscape is a sight to behold, especially with a chilled glass of earthy pinot noir in hand. Escape from the doldrums of the real world and stroll the eclectic downtown, where fine art galleries, antique stores and wine tasting opportunities abound. Savor a farm-fresh meal at Black Cat Bistro or Harmony Cafe paired with a glass or two of local wine, or order up a vertical tasting at Cutruzzola Vineyards, where the grapes are grown just steps from the Pacific. You'll also find fabulous coastal wine at Moonstone Cellars and Twin Coyotes Winery, among others. With its green meadow flecked with wildflowers and bolstered by live music, Stolo Vineyards makes for the perfect place to enjoy a picnic while sipping floral, fresh acid-driven whites. Don't forget to say hello to the winery's resident miniature goats while you're there. If this is all a dream, you won't want to wake up.
3. Find peace in Harmony
This historic village is rife with art, history and wine
SLO CAL's tiny coastal town of Harmony, (population 18, if you count the cows) is like something torn from a storybook of yore. This small but mighty hamlet—located between Cambria and Cayucos off Highway 1—shows its history on its sleeve (just check out the tiny post office and chapel). Once home to a creamery operated by Swiss and Italian dairy farmers, Harmony served as groovy artist's escape in the 1960s and 70s. Today, you'll experience both the town's dairy heritage (grab an ice cream cone from the Harmony Scoop Truck) and its artist background (view glassblowers create their red-hot works before your very eyes), combined with—you guessed it—delicious coastal wine. Harmony Cellars, located on a pastoral overlook perched above undulating hills, has been producing fabulous whites, reds and blush-hued beauties for some 30 years. Friday Twilight Hours at Harmony Cellars—a combination of live music and food truck fare—run through September 13 on the lawn. You'll also want to attend a slew of art-and-wine events coming up, just don't wait too long to reserve your seats. As you might expect, news travels fast in such a small town.
4. Get away to Avila Beach
Sometimes it's OK to let the bubbles go to your head
Let it all go. The irresistible combination of natural hot springs, blue waves and oak woodland make Avila Beach one of the most romantic wine escapes in SLO CAL. Book a stay at Avila Hot Springs and feel your worries melt away as the bubbles work their magic (while enjoying some local sparkling wine, of course). Looking for food, wine and fun to complete your escape? Look no further than Avila's vibrant boardwalk, where farmer's markets, local musicians and fresh seafood collide. After a day of paddleboarding the calm waters, you'll want nothing more than to sip and swirl a glass of coastal wine at Alapay Cellars, Morovino Winery, Sinor-Lavallee or Peloton Cellars. The best part about The Avila Beach Wine Trail besides the fresh, crisp wine offerings? They're situated along the coast, so you're never far from a stroll on the sand. Nearby Kelsey See Canyon Winery offers up a joyful combination of coastal chardonnay and See Canyon apple cider (apples, as well as grapes, thrive on the SLO CAL coast). Check out this detailed Avila Wine Map, which includes seven tantalizing tasting room stops by the sea.
5. Experience harvest on the coast
Go coastal with a wave of wines grown on the SLO CAL Coast November 1-3
Taste cool climate wines kissed by the sun long after September California Wine Month has passed. With 30 wineries averaging just five miles from the Pacific, explore handcrafted wines that reflect the terroir of SLO CAL's coastline during Harvest on the Coast weekend, running Nov. 1 through 3. Consider this your gateway to SLO Coast Wine's popular pinot noir and chardonnay offerings, many of which have received stellar awards from the world's top wine critic elite. On Nov. 1, savor a Crafted on the Coast Winemaker Dinner, featuring artfully prepared food and wine pairings featuring the San Luis Obispo Coast Wine region, encompassing Edna Valley, Arroyo Grande, Cambria, and Avila Beach. You'll learn about the area's long growing season (in fact—one of the longest in the world) as well as how the grapes are naturally refined by the coast's wind, soil, fog and sun. On Nov. 2, explore the Grand Tasting and Auction, featuring sips and nibbles from more than 60 coastal wineries and eateries all available in one flavorful event. Wrap up the weekend with Surfs Up Sunday on Nov. 3, your all-access pass to exclusive tastings, deals and events across the region.
More Coastal Wine Experiences to Discover
A classic California beach day, add wine? That's exactly what you'll get when you visit iconic Pismo Beach. Play in the surf, stroll the pier, then unwind with a glass of coastal wine. Located in the heart of Pismo Beach, Sans Liege offers up a laid back, family-friendly tasting experience. Looking to pick up multiple bottles from an array of producers? Stop by Taste of the Valleys, where you can sample flavors from across the southern SLO CAL coast. The Southern Charm Wine Trail includes an array of nearby tasting rooms you won't want to miss, including Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines, Talley Vineyards and more.
The perfect end to an action-packed day in Grover Beach
There's no better way to unwind, especially in Grover Beach, nestled on the Highway 1, between Oceano and Pismo Beach. This fun-loving destination is known for its undulating sand dunes and family-friendly vibe. Rent an ATV for a spin along the sand, but leave your car at home: an Amtrak station is situated right near the coast (plus, the station boasts the Monarch Grove Winery, another stellar tasting room). End the day with a glass of wine at The Spoon Trade, where you'll find everything from small lot boutique bottles to the biggest names of the region.
Pair with the Catch of the Day in Morro Bay
This fishing village's bustling Embarcadero is studded with opportunities to sample local seafood, taffy, and wine. Spend the day kayaking around the estuary (home to seabirds, otters and seals), and welcome the night with a glass of coastal wine paired with super-fresh seafood. Grab a seat at Stax Wine Bar and Bistro, which offers up cozy place to watch the sun sink behind Morro Rock.
Wine Options Only Minutes from the Coast
The San Luis Obispo Urban Wine Trail and the Edna Valley pair perfectly for a modern, action-packed wine trip. Discover quaint family-owned tasting rooms tucked away along the pastoral countryside of Edna Valley's Core of the Coast and Edna Valley Backroads Wine Trails to the latest warehouse-turned-hangout in downtown San Luis Obispo (or SLO, as the locals call it), home to Stephen Ross and Deovlet Wines. The best part? Edna Valley is just a ten minute drive from downtown San Luis Obispo, which means you're never far from dining and entertainment, too.
Enjoy a delightful detour through Paso Robles' Highway 46 West. Paso Robles Wine Country in northern SLO CAL is home to more than 250 wineries and dozens of French, Spanish and Italian varietals to sample The vineyard-rich drive from Highway 46 West in Paso Robles through to Highway 1 is the stuff of weekend road trip royalty. Roam from tasting room to tasting room along the famed Templeton Gap growing region to the coast. Check out the Points North Wine Trail for your step-by-step itinerary. You'll end on Highway 1, where destinations like Harmony, Cayucos and Cambria await nearby.