For wine buffs, a visit to California’s Central Coast region represents something akin to a religious pilgrimage. Teeming with world class vineyards, lovers of the fermented grape come here in their droves to embark on winery tours that provide a fascinating insight into the wine-making process – not to mention a chance to sample some of the local produce.
There are a large number of agencies that run organised wine tours and tastings in the area, with many of them offering pick-ups from several key tourist destinations where many visitors choose to be based. For visitors staying in the cities of San Luis Obispo and Pismo Beach, below are five great tours we’d recommend.
From: $169/per person
Combining an immersive wine tour with a visit to one of California’s most historic landmarks, this small-group adventure starts with pick-up from a designated location before embarking on a memorable day of discovery. In comfortable transport you’ll traverse mountain-lined highways en route to the magnificent Hearst Castle. Here a knowledgeable guide will take you around its Grand Rooms while regaling you with fascinating facts about the 19th-century castle. Next you’ll travel to the charming seaside town of Cambria where you’ll get the chance to explore, have lunch and indulge in some retail therapy. You’ll finish the day in Tin City, Paso Robles’ hippest wine destination, where you’ll visit two boutique, family-owned wineries, as well as breweries, a cider house and more, all in the company of another expert guide,. The tour price includes castle entrance, tasting at the two wineries, bottled water, and all transport.
From $65/ per hour
Join a private, personalised, and completely customisable family-friendly tour that guarantees the perfect experience for each group based on their taste preferences. Tours can be tailored for each group depending on their requests, with an assortment of vehicles available and able to handle both large and small groups. The winery options are limitless and you can also add in beer, spirits olive oil, or food pairings to the adventure. Knowledgeable and engaging guides provide fascinating facts on the area and expertise on the wineries, and there are also complimentary water bottles on board. All tours are pet-friendly too.
From $165/ per person
Meet other wine enthusiasts on this intimate, small-group tour that includes pick-up from Pismo Beach and includes visits to 4-6 regional wineries. With no fixed routes, the itinerary can be customised to a group’s request, allowing the party to pick and choose from the 300 or so vineyards in the area. Tours run whatever the weather and are hosted by experienced, knowledgeable guides. A complimentary deli-style picnic lunch can also be included if requested.
From: $109/per person
This semi-private tour allows guests to set their own pace and curate their own itinerary so they can hop on and hop-off at wineries of their choosing. After a morning pick up at your chosen location, for the proceeding 5 hours you’ll traverse the scenic environs of Paso Robles Wine Country, stopping off at 4-5 vineyards along the way, where you’ll be walked inside by your driver to meet your wine tasting hosts before enjoying a sumptuous sampling session of the in-house plonk. Each stop can be extended at the guests’ request. Transport, bottled water, snacks, and lunch are all included in the cost of the tour.
From: $432/per group (max 10)
Explore this magical Californian wine region in style by travelling between wineries in a private limousine. Starting with a morning pick up in your air-conditioned vehicle from your preferred location, this full-day tour invites guests to visit four individual award-winning wineries. During each visit you’ll be shown around the site and get to learn about how wine is made before trying out some of the produce. Transportation, wine samples, and bottled water are all included in the tour price.