With more than 50 vineyards in the Santa Monica Mountains, Malibu is primed to be Southern California's next up-and-coming wine region. But there's been nary a public tasting room--until now. It's not quite Sonoma yet, but it is a lot closer.
Here's where to sample the area's best vintages:
Sip Malibu Sit at shaded tables on the hillside and sample Cielo Wineyard's estate-grown wines, like the big, leathery Cabernet Sauvignon, or the crisp Woodstock Honey Pie, a white blend made from Napa fruit. Flights are $10 to $15 for four tastes.
Cornell Winery & Tasting Room This art-filled space isn't a winery at all, but it is a great spot for sipping local and Central Coast wines ($15 for eight); the selection changes daily. Hit The Old Place next door for a wine-absorbing brunch or dinner.
Malibu Family Wines Bring a picnic and sprawl out on the lovely grounds for the afternoon. In the tasting room, you'll sample the newest releases of Semler and Saddlerock wines, including the easy-drinking Semler rosé.
Rosenthal Estate Wines You can't visit the spectacular Rosenthal Wines estate in Malibu-Newton Canyon, but you can stop at this tasting room on the Pacific Coast Highway. Try all of the estate wines, plus Surfrider reds and whites ($15 for flight), then sit on the patio and watch the waves.