Tips for Planning the Perfect Malibu Wine Tour

Table of Contents

Embark on an exhilarating Malibu Wine Tour, immersing yourself in the captivating landscapes while enjoying wine tasting experiences. Discover the perfect blend of adventure, nature, and wine.

scenic malibu wine country with vineyards in the foreground and mountains in the background

Malibu is an up-and-coming wine tasting destination with a wild side. Tucked throughout the Santa Monica Mountain range, Malibu vineyards may be few in number and smaller in size compared to other Southern California wine destinations, but they certainly make up for it with bold, distinct flavors and unique tours and tasting rooms that offer an entirely different way to experience wine country. 

About 35 miles outside Los Angeles, Malibu is a gorgeous coastal town with an awe-inspiring mountain range that separates Malibu from the Conejo Valley. Numerous canyons, peaks, and valleys make up the Santa Monica Mountain range and house an abundance of wild animals and natural beauty. 

Planning a wine tour in such an eclectic area can be an exciting but sometimes difficult endeavor. Not only are there tasting rooms, wineries, and wine bars, but vineyards that offer tours and adventures to take part in while tasting wine. When planning a Malibu wine tour, consider the time of year carefully to see how the weather and appearance of the vines at the vineyard will affect your enjoyment of the wines. Plan how you will be traveling to and between vineyards carefully, whether you plan on using a rideshare app, assigning a designated driver, or hiring a driver, as the canyons may seem intimidating to first-time visitors. Consider whether you want to participate in an outdoorsy adventure wine tour or plan your own visits to tasting rooms. 

Deciding on a private tour operator such as Malibu Wine Hikes is always a good place to start, as it makes planning extra easy and fun once the essential details and schedule are already laid out for you and your group.

Malibu Wine Country

Malibu wine country is a hidden gem in the California wine world. It is beginning to make a name for itself as a destination with a lot to offer regarding diverse styles of wine, unique flavor profiles, and affordability. Concealed throughout the Santa Monica Mountain range, Malibu wine country boasts intimate vineyards scattered across hillsides and in valleys not too far from the ocean. Many of these vineyards provide great views and promise exciting excursions in a rugged setting. Nearer to the ocean, there are several wine bars and tasting rooms to explore while creating your own personal wine tour with your closest friends and family.

Red wines are most commonly grown around Malibu, with Cabernet Sauvignon being the most commonly grown varietal closely followed by Syrah and Zinfandel. As for white wine, Chardonnay grapes are the most abundant in Malibu by far. These grapes begin to grow on the vines in springtime and continue to ripen into the summer, so these are the ideal seasons to check out the grapes that will eventually make up the year’s delicious Malibu wine.

bottle of sparkling rose wine at saddlerock ranch

Saddlerock Ranch is one of the Malibu vineyards that offer a unique take on a wine tasting experience. Instead of a traditional tasting room, Malibu Wine Hikes offers numerous types of vineyard tours throughout Saddlerock Ranch, including hikes and several different vehicle tours. During the vehicle tours, a tour guide provides and serves a wine flight over several beautiful stops throughout the vineyard. A skilled tour guide will drive the vehicle while educating, entertaining, and ensuring the tour is fun and wine-filled. During the hiking tour, a two-and-a-half mile hike around the ranch and through the vineyards will be led by a guide as the tour group enjoys an up-close-and-personal look at everything that makes Malibu wine country unique.

For a more classic wine tasting experience, there are a few more traditional wine bars and tasting rooms. Strange Family Vineyards offers a tasting room near the Malibu Country Mart, where guests can sit and sip a curated wine selection of Strange Family’s world-class sparkling wines and other delicious wine styles. Also in the Malibu Country Mart, Summer Somewhere is located in Fred Segal (which is notable in and of itself) and offers casual wine tasting. Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio is the only wine bar on the Pacific Coast Highway and offers traditional tastings, live music, and the opportunity to purchase bottles.

blue welcome sign that says malibu 21 miles of scenic beauty

Malibu Wine Country Travel Logistics

Traveling to Malibu is a beautiful experience, whether the drive takes place beside the ocean on the Pacific Coast Highway or through the wild canyons on Kanan Road or Mulholland Drive through the Santa Monica Mountains. However, some essential considerations remain before setting out on a wine-filled adventure. Should this be a day trip, or will you want to stay in the area? How are you getting from place to place? Are you choosing a designated driver or using a rideshare app? Perhaps you are hiring a driver? Here are a few things to keep in mind and help you make safe decisions to maximize fun and minimize risk while indulging in the delights of Malibu wine country.

Figure Out How Much Time You’ll Have for a Trip to Malibu and a Wine Tour

Malibu is a long coastal community that doesn’t stretch so far inland as to make it impossible to fit most activities into a long day trip or a relaxed weekend trip. Packing several vineyards or tasting rooms into a weekend, or even a full day, is an easy feat, as Malibu wine country doesn’t boast as many vineyards as, say, Napa Valley. There are a couple of vineyards tucked into the Santa Monica Mountains directly near each other, making visiting at least two or three locations easy in a relatively short period, such as Malibu Wine Hikes on Saddlerock Ranch, Cielo Farms and Cornell Wine Co. Strange Family Vineyards and Summer Somewhere are two tasting rooms in the Malibu Country Mart area that are nearly neighbors, making those two tasting rooms easy to visit in a short amount of time.

Along the way, there are plenty of food options for lunches and dinners to fuel the excursion and keep everyone full and functional. To make a weekend out of the experience, throw in a few hours on the beach or perhaps a morning hike through the mountains, and you have the perfect staycation!

wine grapes growing in malibu

Select the Time of Year for Your Malibu Wine Tour

When planning a Malibu wine tour, consider the time of year carefully. Summertime will boast the most beautiful, full vines and visible grapes, but it is also a very warm time of year in the Santa Monica Mountains, with temperatures often settling in the 90s and higher. Perhaps this is a good excuse to end a warm wine-filled day at the beach?

Fall and winter will be significantly cooler and overcast closer to the ocean. During this time, the vines will often be dormant and unremarkable, but the season will offer better temperatures for an enjoyable hike or two through the vineyards. Spring will have moderate temperatures and the beginning of leaves appearing on the vines. Wildflowers and wildlife are abundant during this time, though few grapes will be evident, as the vines will just be rousing from the winter.

Set Your Budget, Give Yourself a Range, and Bring Spending Cash to Purchase Wine

There are many ways to enjoy wine in Malibu, and it is a good idea to set a budget depending on the kind of experience you are looking to have. If vineyard tours and wine experiences are more your speed, expect to spend from $99 to $400 to book a picnic at Cielo Farms or a vehicle tour with Malibu Wine Hikes. These tours might be pricey, but they are bucket list experiences that create memories that last a lifetime for you and the loved ones you enjoyed it with.

For traditional wine tastings at places like Strange Family Vineyards, Rosenthal, or Summer Somewhere, tastings range from $20 to $35 per person, and bottle purchases range from $35 per bottle to more premium estate wine prices at approximately $50 to $80+. Once you taste some of these wines, you will surely want to bring some home with you, so budget accordingly and make sure you have some spending money for your favorites!

Come with a plan and mix and match tours with tastings! Start with a tour and end the day with tastings at a few tasting rooms, or vice-versa. Take home some great wines and treat yourself!

winding road throught the santa monica mountains in malibu

Traveling to Malibu Wine Country

Malibu is a small but spread-out city with about 21 miles of coastline and beautiful views of the ocean throughout the majority of the area. Traveling through Malibu is reasonably straightforward. However, it is good to remember that when driving in the Santa Monica Mountains, where most vineyards are, the roads are windy and interspersed with canyons and tunnels through the mountains.

Getting to Malibu from the city of Los Angeles or surrounding areas is simple, whether you are driving or getting a ride from the airport or from a nearby city or town. Surrounded by beautiful scenery, the drive should be enjoyable (if you can avoid traffic, that is!)

Using a rideshare app like Uber or Lyft is a bit of a toss-up in the current climate, but it should be fine when heading into Malibu and staying close to the beach. Coming to the vineyards further inland may involve hiring a driver or choosing a designated driver in your group, as rideshare drivers tend not to venture into the mountains to pick up customers who want to be driven short distances into the city.  

malibu home door open overlooking santa monica mountains

Where to Stay Near Malibu Wine Country

Lucky for those who want to make a weekend out of enjoying Malibu wine country, there are plenty of places to stay, depending on your budget! Malibu hotels tend to be pricey but are generally smack-dab in the center of a beautiful place with beach activities, ocean views, and good food nearby. 

There are plenty of nearby towns that offer several different types of hotels to stay in, whether you’re looking for a budget-friendly but fabulous hotel like the Best Western Plus, Palm Garden Hotel, or Hampton Inn & Suites in Thousand Oaks, or a near-five-star stay in Westlake Village or Calabasas at the Four Seasons Westlake, Westlake Village Inn, or Cambria Hotel in Calabasas.

In Malibu, Calamigos Guest Ranch has gorgeous bungalows near Saddlerock Ranch with Malibu Wine Hikes and Cielo Farms, making it the ideal place to stay to enjoy vineyard experiences and get in touch with nature. The Surfrider Hotel and Hotel June in Malibu are two fun hotels close to the beach, with gorgeous ocean views. The Malibu Bella Vista Bed and Breakfast is an intimate and relaxing B&B option five miles from the Pacific Coast in Malibu Canyon for those who want a more personalized experience.

oceanfront houses in malibu

As for AirBnbs, absolutely breathtaking condos, guest suites and apartments are available for rent for a range of approximately $270 a night to stay further from the beach and upwards of $500 a night to stay on or near the beach for those looking to treat themselves to a Malibu living experience. Check listings on AirBnb for available dates and prices.

Pack Accordingly — What to Wear and Bring on a Wine Tour in Malibu

It may be so tempting to bring your cutest high heels on a wine tour for the pictures, but keep in mind that most vineyards are dusty, grassy, and a bit wild! Closed-toed shoes are a must unless you only plan to visit standard tasting rooms and avoid the vineyards and wine tours. Additionally, bringing sunscreen, a light jacket, and water is critical to keep comfortable and safe.

Packing closed-toed shoes is especially important when deciding on a hike on Saddlerock Ranch, as the trails are dusty, and there are hills with varying levels of steepness over the two-hour tour. You won’t necessarily need activewear during most times of the year, but it gets hot on the ranch during the summer. Dress like you’re going to sweat a bit during the summer season. 

For vehicle tours, footwear is less of an important consideration, as most of the trails are driven rather than hiked. However, guests are expected to get out of the vehicle several times to see the sights, take pictures, and enjoy wine and snacks. Dress for the outdoors, and bring sunscreen regardless of the kind of tour you’re taking part in.

group of people on a malibu wine hike vineyard tour at saddlerock ranch

DIY vs Guided Wine Tours and Tastings in Malibu

There are two ways in which one might experience a Malibu wine tour. The first is to map out your own schedule and travel between wineries and wine bars at your own pace, ensuring reservations are made where necessary, such as at The Barn at Cielo Farms, and choosing to hire a ride or decide on a driver within your group. Planning a custom wine tasting day is an excellent choice for those with several different tasting rooms they would like to spend some leisurely time at, and who are looking for a more traditional wine-country experience. This “DIY” tasting option won’t often involve visiting vineyards or getting an in-depth look at the production side of the wines you taste, but you will get to try many different, delicious wines at your own pace.

The second way to experience a Malibu wine tour is to do a guided tour at Malibu Wine Hikes. This is a great way to get a behind-the-scenes look with exclusive access to the vineyards and a tour guide, who will be available to answer all your questions and educate guests about wine and the Malibu area. One of the especially fun ways to do a tour is by booking a vintage VW bus for a tour. During this three-hour tour, a guide will drive you and up to five others around Saddlerock Ranch, where guests will be served Saddlerock wines, before taking off for a drive around the Malibu area, often stopping at another restaurant, wine bar, or the beach. This tour is the perfect way to tour around Malibu, see the sights, and try different types of wine in a gorgeous setting.

woman drinking rose on a malibu wine tasting tour

Find the Wines You Enjoy, But Don’t Be Afraid to Try New Wines!

Malibu is mostly well known for its bold red wines, though there are plenty of whites and rosés to try at almost any winery, wine bar, or vineyard. Here is a quick rundown of some of the locations and the wine varieties they are most known for.

Cielo Farms

Cielo has a selection of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, sparkling wines, Syrah, and rosé, among many other delicious white and red wines. There are three different wine flights that a would-be wine taster can choose from.

Strange Family Vineyards Malibu Tasting Room

Strange Family Vineyards grows mainly Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, making up the sparkling wine they are best known for, though still wines are also available for tasting.

Old Place/Cornell

For the most part, California wines are offered here, with unique and ever-changing selections. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Chardonnay are standard here in wine flights and bottle form, along with some less traditional and hard-to-find wines.

Summer Somewhere

Mostly known for their delicious and refreshing rosé, which comes as both sparkling and still wines, Grüner Veltiner, Viognier, and Pinot Noirs are just some of the wines also available here.

Malibu Wine Hikes/Malibu Wine Tours

For the hikes, mostly refreshing white wine and rosé are served, such as Pinot Blanc and Rosé of Syrah. Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay are often the standouts for vehicle tours, with another delicious rosé thrown into the mix. The tour guide will mix and match whichever wines seem especially apt for the day.

Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio

Rosenthal grows many varietals on the Rosenthal estate, often serving them at their nearby Malibu tasting room. These varietals include Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Viognier, and Chardonnay, with plenty more options to try.

vineyards in malibu

Choosing between Wine Tours & Wine Tastings in Malibu

Malibu is an exciting place to enjoy a wine tour because of the scrumptious wines offered and the gorgeous scenery, relaxed and fun vibes, and unique terrain just waiting to be explored! The Malibu wine country area has a small selection of vineyards and tasting rooms that all have their individual charms and wine specialties, making every single wine tasting experience worth checking out while taking a trip through the beachside city. 

Crafting your customized wine tour is fun and easy in Malibu wine country. Choose a few wineries, vineyards, or tasting rooms to visit throughout the day, and make sure you plan for meals and travel times. Another vital thing to keep in mind is the season and the weather. Summer is usually hot in the Santa Monica Mountains, and winter can get very cold by the beach. Make sure you dress appropriately for the weather. The vineyards appear more impressive in spring and summer, but it can sometimes be too warm to enjoy more physical activities and tours. Bundle up for the winter, or bring layers if necessary.

As listed above, most wine tasting spots specialize in a particular kind or style of wine. Use this to choose where you would like to visit, depending on which wines you want to taste. Make reservations if necessary. From there, plan how to get to each location, whether scheduling rides with the rideshare app, selecting a designated driver, or hiring a driver to take you from place to place.

If you are looking to do an organized vineyard tour, Malibu Wine Hikes offers several different options for ways to explore an enormous vineyard and the surrounding area. Hiking tours will be the most physical and informative of the tour options. Check the weather beforehand (Agoura Hills weather is more accurate than Malibu weather for this location) and dress appropriately for some exercise.

Tours vs. Tastings

A wine tour involves a tour guide or wine specialist guiding guests around a vineyard or a winery, educating and entertaining them all the while. Trying the wine made or grown there is often involved, as well as seeing either the production side or the vineyard side of winemaking. It can often be a very personal hands-on experience, with exclusive access to areas that otherwise would be off-limits. Learning about the wines produced by the vineyard or winery is emphasized on wine tours.

A wine tasting is the classic tasting room experience, where guests are invited to sit and try a flight of several different types of wine. There may be little interaction with the vineyard or winery itself, though the tasting room steward will often give interested parties great information about the wines. Afterward, guests are often encouraged to buy additional bottles or glasses of their favorite wines that they tasted.

The Malibu vineyard hike with Malibu Wine Hikes is a roughly two-hour, two-and-a-half mile hike around Saddlerock Ranch, which holds the vineyards that supply a majority of Saddlerock brand wines. This hike is considered mild to moderate because of the few hills throughout the property that guests will hike up and down, though nothing is considered too strenuous. 

People who love nature walks and learning about Malibu’s history, vineyards, and winemaking will get the most out of this tour, as a tour guide will lead them through the hike and inform them about the property and the wine and answer any questions that come up along the way. Guests are given two cans of wine that equal a little over a glass of wine to-go at the end of the tour, and a boozy mid-way treat is also offered, along with the ability to buy snacks and non-alcoholic beverages.

In the heat of the summer, the earliest and latest time slots have the best times to go on the hiking tour. Throughout the rest of the year, ensure you check Agoura Hills weather before deciding which day of the week or time works best for your comfort level. The spring and summer are the most lively on the ranch, and the vines are most vibrant during this time. During winter, the weather may be more suited for a hike, but the vines may be slightly less inspiring, as they go dormant during the winter. 

Keep in mind that this tour involves a lot of walking, so wear appropriate shoes! The ranch is dusty and even muddy after rain, so don’t wear anything that you would hate to get dirty!

group of people on an off-road adventure wine tour in malibu

Want more wine and less walking? Say no more. Choose one of the vehicle tours offered by Malibu Wine Hikes and off-road through the hillier areas surrounding Saddlerock Ranch to taste several different types of Saddlerock wine. In this tour, five half-bottles of wine are served at various stops throughout the property, with promises of beautiful views, great photo ops, and yummy snacks to add to the experience!

The vehicle tour is two hours long and offers three different types of vehicles— a five-seater 4×4 off-road vehicle, a seven-seater Land Rover Defender, and a nine-seater modified truck tour—to ensure you and your friends and family can all come and enjoy the ride together! If you consider the nine-seater option, ensure you are comfortable getting on and off a tall truck (with a ladder and stepping stool if needed). A tour guide will drive all the vehicles, so sit back and relax once you’re buckled in.

Wine lovers and wine newbies alike will enjoy the tour, as there is a range of people-pleasing wines to try, from whites to rosés to reds. Come to take pictures and enjoy the gorgeous nearly-1200-acre property and leave with a brand new appreciation for wine, vineyards, and the Malibu area.

Any time is a great time to take this tour! Spring and summer are the loveliest in appearance in the vineyards, and winter and fall hold their unique charms. Make sure to bring layers for this tour, as it is entirely outdoors and exposed to the elements. Closed-toed shoes are suggested, as there are many stops on the tour where you will exit the vehicles to take pictures or sample wines. Dress for some great times in a wild setting!

group of people on a vw bus wine tour in malibu

Malibu Wine Hikes is proud to supply a three-hour tour in a refurbished but still vintage VW bus throughout Saddlerock Ranch and the nearby Malibu area. This easily-customizable tour comes with a fun tour guide-slash-driver and some delicious wine to try along the way. Beginning on the ranch, your driver and tour guide will pour Saddlerock brand wines and serve snacks and treats. Then the driver will take your group out on the road and through the gorgeous Malibu canyons, stopping at one or two other places to try wine and take some fantastic photos!

As Malibu and the businesses within it are constantly changing, there are chances that the places the driver will stop at are continually shifting. Still, stopping at a restaurant and wine bar for additional tastings and purchases is possible, or even taking a trip to the beach!

People who enjoy wine, fun with friends, and great pictures will enjoy this tour. Warm weather and sunshine go hand in hand with this vehicle tour, so check Agoura Hills and Coastal Malibu weather before deciding on a time and day to take a ride in these charming vans.

Bring layers, as the weather is generally cooler by the beach, and it’s way more fun to drive with the sunroof rolled back anyway. Bring spending money to buy food or wine at one of the possible stops. More importantly, bring friends that love to frolic and have some fun!

malibu wine and beer garden tasting space near west hills

Speciality Wine Tasting: Malibu Wines and Beer Garden

Having mentioned Malibu Wine Hikes on Saddlerock Ranch, it’s only fitting to mention the official tasting room for Saddlerock wines. After the Woolsey Fire of 2018 burned the Malibu tasting room for Saddlerock and Semler brand wines to the ground, the remaining tasting room resides in West Hills at a beautiful mission-style building. Malibu Wines and Beer Garden is the place to try, buy and enjoy a range of Saddlerock wines beyond those offered on the tours at Malibu Wine Hikes, plus some local beers and fun events with food trucks on the weekends.

This gorgeous location features Paint N’ Sips, Permanent Jewelry fittings paired with wine tasting, 20-tap beer tastings, yoga with mimosa events, and silent discos. As the energy at this location is relaxed and fun, this is a great place to gather friends and sip delicious wine under twinkling bistro lights and the swaying leaves of surrounding olive and pepper trees.

The Wines and Beer Garden is open from 12 PM to 7 PM on weekdays and 12 PM to 9 PM on weekends. Food trucks are available only Friday through Sunday, and light charcuterie bites are available daily. Guests are always welcome to bring their own food. For larger parties, reservations are suggested.

Wine Events and Experiences in Malibu: Weekends at Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio and Conejo Uncorked Event

Rosenthal’s Wine Bar and Patio is another excellent location offering more than just casual wine tasting. Live music is a staple nearly every Saturday and Sunday, as well as the fun events that bring wine lovers together, such as Paint & Sips, delicious food trucks and pop-ups, and other creative activities, such as Succ & Cork, a succulent display creation class! Some of these fun classes and activities require tickets ahead of time, so check the event calendar to see what’s available for purchase.

As for wine events near Malibu, Conejo Uncorked is held by The Kiwanis Club of Thousand Oaks this year on October 5th, 2023, at The Gardens at Los Robles Greens in Thousand Oaks to benefit local charities. The Conejo Valley is only eight to ten miles away from the Malibu beachfront area and is home to several neighboring communities of Malibu, making this event incredibly easy to attend for those staying in the Malibu area. This event offers live music and entertainment, a silent auction, and unlimited pours and samples from many wine and beer vendors and local restaurants. Conejo Uncorked is a great event for those looking to experience many fantastic California wines.

The event is held from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM, and tickets are available for $55 per person. A limited amount of tables are available to reserve for $400.

Have a Plan for Food — Before, During and After

Many of Malibu’s wineries, tasting rooms, or tours offer light bites and small snacks, but it’s important to know where larger meals are provided to fuel a perfect wine-filled day. Here is a quick rundown as to where snacks are available, where you can bring your own, and where meals are available for purchase in the Malibu area.

Cielo Farms offers two vastly different experiences on the property. When reserving a table at The Barn, guests may purchase charcuterie boards during the week, and artisanal pizzas Friday through Sunday. Outside food or beverages are not allowed on the property when dining or tasting at The Barn unless it is a cake for a celebration. However, suppose an experience at The Trail at Cielo Farms is booked. In that case, guests are invited to bring food and non-alcoholic beverages, as food will not be available for purchase during this experience.

Cornell Wine Co. and Old Place are historic, rustic buildings directly beside each other that work closely together to meet guests’ needs. Cornell Wine Co. is a wine bar and store that offers very little by way of food but a great deal by way of wine. If a delicious, hearty meal is what guests are looking for, mere steps away stands Old Place, which offers a variety of food for lunch, dinner, and sometimes breakfast as well as wine. The menu boasts a wide range of West Coast fare, from full-service meals indoors that may include clams, steak, beef, chicken dishes, salads, and desserts, to outside offerings that include breakfast, sandwiches, steak, chicken, and fish. Inside seating hours for dining are from 4 PM to 9 PM, and outdoor dining hours range significantly from day to day. Check the website to see when outdoor dining for breakfast, lunch, or dinner is served.

Malibu Wine Hikes is a tour company on Saddlerock Ranch that offers small snacks and bites for most tours. For each tour, guests are invited to bring their own food and non-alcoholic beverages. For hiking tours, cheese, meats, and crackers are available for sale for $3 to $9. On the 4×4 tours, a small basket of charcuterie comes with a vehicle tour including cheese, chocolate, crackers, meat, and tapenades. The Vintage VW Bus tour includes charcuterie and chocolate, and there are often opportunities to purchase food along the tour at nearby restaurants, such as Old Place.

Rosenthal Wine Bar and Patio offers featured food trucks of the day on Saturdays and Sundays, which range from Korean Street Food to burgers to pizza. Also, on weekends, charcuterie cups are available for purchase. Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages are allowed. 

Strange Family Vineyards offers small snacks and bites for purchase. There are numerous restaurants in the Malibu Country Mart near Strange Family’s tasting room, the closest being Café Habana, which serves Cuban and Mexican fare; Taverna Tony, which serves fun Greek food; and Trad di Noi, which serves Italian meals.

Summer Somewhere is located at Fred Segal in the Malibu Country Mart and is across the street from Strange Family’s Malibu tasting room, meaning that the restaurants nearest to Strange Family are also very close to Fred Segal.

Some of the restaurants in the area that range from casual to fancy include Malibu Seafood, Paradise Cove Café, Malibu Farms, Duke’s in Malibu, The Sunset, Moonshadows, and Geoffrey’s.

Make the Most of Your Wine Tour — Ask Questions!

It’s important to remember that there are no stupid questions while on a wine tour. Whether you have traveled the world and learned from winemakers and sommeliers along the way, or you are new to wine tasting and know next to nothing about how wine is grown or made, all questions are welcome. Wine tours are what you make of it, so ensure you are learning the answers to questions you have been curious about. Questions are a great way to engage with your tour guide and make the tour even more memorable. Remember, knowledge is power!

Go ahead and ask about the vines you see in the vineyard. Ask how long it takes for a newly-planted vine to begin producing grapes worthy of wine. Ask what kinds of grapes are being grown and what style of wine will be made using them. Ask when the harvest season is and how the grapes are harvested. Is it by hand or using machinery? What kind of climate or soil is the vineyard known to have?

While tasting wine, converse with your group and your tour guide. Talk about the notes you are smelling and tasting, and ask why you are getting these notes. Explore with the wine specialist what it is about certain wines you enjoy so that you know what you want to try or purchase in the future. There are many different, amazing things to learn about everything having to do with wine, whether you have an interest in viticulture, winemaking, or simply love tasting your new favorite wines!

Frequently Asked Questions by Travelers When Planning A Wine Tour in Malibu

Generally around two to three hours.

For wine tours, yes. For wine tastings at wine bars or tasting rooms, reservations are recommended generally only on the weekends or for larger parties.

Most of them are not. Malibu Wine Hikes is family-friendly, but not pet-friendly. The Strange Family Vineyards tasting room is known to be both family and pet-friendly. Most other locations are 21+ with no pets allowed.

Spring or summer, mid-day to afternoon. Mind the heat. 

20% gratuity is expected for most tastings, tours, and meals.

For wine tours, closed-toed shoes and clothing that you’re not afraid to get a little bit dirty are a must. Bring layers. For tasting rooms, smart-casual clothing is acceptable.

This differs from place to place. Calling ahead and requesting non-alcoholic options are suggested for wine tours. Almost every vineyard and tasting room will allow guests to bring non-alcoholic drinks onto the property.


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