• Nicole Leonetti

Wine Lover's Guide to Malibu

People may not typically equate wine with Malibu – big mistake! I must admit that I was one of those people for a long time. However, as a wine fanatic who now lives near the area, I had to give it a second look—and I’m so glad I did! There are such fantastic wine tasting experiences in Malibu that not only have great views, but also have lovely wines. While not all the wines mentioned in this list are made in Malibu, these are places that any wine lover shouldn’t miss when visiting the area:

The Barn at Cielo Farms:

This place is a little slice of heaven tucked into Malibu’s Santa Monica Mountains. Try not to let the stunning views distract you from the food and wine! The Barn has ample outdoor seating and an eclectic menu featuring wine with grapes sourced from Santa Barbara County as well as their Cielo estate in Malibu. You can order by the glass or bottle (they are not currently offering tasting flights). They also offer scrumptious wood-fired pizzas, assorted salads, and charcuterie. Their food exceeded expectations in both taste and presentation! I recommend making an appointment to visit. While it’s very relaxing during the week, it can be a bit livelier during the weekends. *Favorite Wine: Purple Haze Syrah


Cornell Winery & Tasting Room:

“This place is a scene, man” – that was my quote to my husband on our last visit to Cornell. Located closer to Agoura than Malibu, the Old West vibe cannot be beat and the people watching is fantastic. They have plenty of outdoor seating and you can do a self-guided wine tasting or enjoy a glass (or three) of wine. They feature wines from throughout California that each have a unique story to tell. After the tasting, you can meander through their store and bring home a few bottles. An amazing aspect of Cornell is that you can order food from The Old Place – an iconic spot located on Mulholland Highway that has been open since the ‘70s and offers delicious options from their oak fire grill. *Favorite Wine: Malibu Rocky Oaks Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon


Rosenthal:

Rosenthal is a very Malibu spot – super chill, right on the PCH, and you can feel the ocean breeze with each sip of wine. They have a large outdoor patio where they have live music and an overall beach vibe. I would recommend trying their Mixed Flight which includes (5) wines, which will let you get a taste of everything. You can also order food during your wine tasting. I recommend pairing your wine with some of the yummy Thai food from Cholada Thai. Rosenthal is noted as the first vineyard in Malibu and their estate is located in the Malibu Newton Canyon AVA. *Favorite Wine: Surfrider Grüner Veltliner


Strange Family Vineyards:

This one is kind of cheating because—even though they have a fabulous tasting room in Malibu—their wine is made in the Sta. Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County (if you haven’t visited their vineyard up there – you must!). However, it’s also a can’t miss location if you would like to enjoy a day of wine in Malibu. The tasting room is located in the Malibu Lumber Yard and is a super convenient location to enjoy their delicious Chardonnay, Pinot Noir – and don’t forget their bubbles. I always love the sparkling wine at Strange. There is a relaxing courtyard where you can sit and drink wine while snacking on cheese/charcuterie or enjoying take-out from one of the nearby restaurants. *Favorite Wine: Brut Rosé


Summer Somewhere Wines:

I really dig this place! I was a little hesitant to visit when I heard that their tasting room was in the Fred Segal store at the Malibu Country Mart (what if I spill wine on the clothes?!). My fears were quickly abated upon arrival, though. While you do walk through the store to reach the tasting area, you are swiftly escorted outside to the lovely patio where you can drink their amazing wine with a front row view of Malibuers in their natural habitat. The wine from Summer Somewhere is from my favorite wine region—the Santa Ynez Valley—sourcing their grapes from a few of the iconic AVAs up there. They currently have three tasting flight options – including an all rosé option. You can also order by the glass or bottle. I really enjoyed how they embraced their location with tasting notes that include pairing suggestions with menu items from local Malibu restaurants. *Favorite Wine: Radian Pinot Noir






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