For wine lovers, there are few places better to live than California. But while Napa and Sonoma might get the most attention, there’s no need to leave SoCal — or even the L.A. area — to get your wine tasting on. That’s because Malibu, just a short drive north of L.A., is a certified AVA (American Viticultural Area) and offers a range of local vineyards and tasting experiences.
The most popular of these is undeniably Malibu Wines, a sprawling, lawn-style tasting patio tucked high into the hills. With live music, outdoor tables and plenty of Instagrammable photo opps, the space has become a favorite of those embracing the #roseallday lifestyle in L.A.’s warmest season.
But Malibu Wines is far from the only tasting experience offered in this coastal town. Check out these three additional Malibu wineries.
While most local wineries and tasting rooms are located in the lush rolling hills above the shoreline, the Rosenthal Wine Bar & Tasting Patio embodies the laid-back beachside feel that makes Malibu so beloved. Located on Pacific Coast Highway next to classic landmarks such as Reel Fish Inn and Cholada, Rosenthal’s tasting space is marked by a now-iconic oversized beach table and chair set ripe for photos. Inside, guests can opt for a four-varietal tasting flight at the bar, or purchase a glass or bottle to take out to the sprawling patio. The lawn often features live bands and games, as well as food trucks in the parking lot on weekends — but guests are encouraged to bring outside food in for a picnic-style afternoon of entertainment and tasting. While any day is a good day to visit Rosenthal, the tasting room is especially popular with celebratory groups and offers reservations for larger parties as well as a packed calendar of music, estate tour and wine club events. For those visiting from L.A. proper — especially the Westside — Rosenthal has another major draw: Since it’s right along PCH, it’s a shorter drive than some of those located farther off the main drag. There’s a lot to love about this tasting room.
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Cornell Winery & Tasting Room
A rustic gem in the Agoura area above Point Dume and Pepperdine University, the Cornell Winery & Tasting Room is only partly accurate in name: The space no longer produces its own wines but instead serves up tastings and bottles from the Central Coast and SoCal regions. While Rosenthal caters to a beach crowd and Malibu Wines to a young demographic of revelers, Cornell is the premier local destination for die-hard wine lovers and those looking to experience a bit of Malibu history. Cornell is the name of the unincorporated community up in the hills; the tasting room and adjacent restaurant, the Old Place, are reminiscent of the original mountain town and offer a glimpse of the deep roots that separate this area from the flashier side of Malibu located down the hill. Visitors will be treated to tastings in the main room, an elegant space featuring candelabras, oversized communal tables and local artisanal products for both display and purchase, and can easily walk over to or from a meal at the Old Place next door.
SIP Malibu Grapes
Located in Agoura Hills in “Old Malibu” near Cornell, SIP Malibu Grapes is a tasting room dedicated to featuring varietals from local vintners. The space features a rustic indoor tasting bar as well as an outdoor patio, perfect for year-round wining and dining with the best Malibu flavors. The wine menu features selections from Ballard Lane, Lost Point, Hoyt, Rocky Oaks, Woodstock and Cielo, among others, while five curated flights are offered based on type of grape and vineyard. SIP also offers a selection of craft beers, including those from Strand Brewing Co., Kona Brewing Co. and Einstök, as well as gourmet tapenade, spreads, dips and charcuterie plates. Locals definitely should check out the wine club program, which includes discounts on tastings and purchases as well as access to special events and the private reserve collection. Far more than just a local wine bar, SIP Malibu Grapes is helping to keep the spirit of the region alive and celebrated.