The Central Coast of California has been known for its burgeoning wine industry for some time, but there’s a little up and coming area in Monterey County that’s attracting those looking for an authentic wine tasting experience. Monterey County was voted one of the top five worldwide wine destinations by the Wine Enthusiast!
As if just strolling the streets and window shopping isn’t enough to fill your day, the Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea is the way to see the town. There are currently 15 (and counting) tasting rooms dotted among the walkable village.
Purchase a wine tasting passport at the Visitor Center for $65 and enjoy samples of world class wines at tasting rooms as you stroll through town. All of the wineries are within a few blocks of each other so you can shop or dine between glasses.
The wines will surprise you. Over 40 varietals are grown in this region with a unique microclimate – beautiful sun during the day and cool ocean breezes at night – that certainly adds to the character of the wines. Carmel is best known for its Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, but there will be plenty of varietals to taste on your walk through Carmel-by-the-Sea.
Start at Caraccioli Cellars and begin your day with one of their sparkling wines. Scheid Vineyards offers some amazing award-winning Pinot Noirs. Manzoni Cellars is known for their award-winning Pinot Gris. Figge Cellars is a small production, family-owned vineyard with some exceptional Chardonnays. Galante Vineyards, a working ranch, offers an interesting blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier. Every tasting room has its own unique character just as the wines from this small region differ. Other wineries with tasting rooms include De Tierra Vineyards, Silvestri Vineyards, Southern Latitudes Wines, Windy Oaks Estate Winery & Vineyards, Blair Estate, Dawn’s Dream Winery, Wrath Wines, Vino Napoli, Albatross Ridge, and Alexander-Smith by Paraiso Vineyards.
Bonus tastings: Trio Carmel also offers samples of its olive oils and flavored vinegars from around the world. The Cheese Shop in Carmel Plaza features dozens of cheeses from near and far from the favorites of France and Italy to Argentina’s Reggiantio to Australian smoked cheddar.