Where To Go Wine Tasting in Malibu California

By | Writer, Hospitality Consultant, Sommelier & Custom Cocktail Developer
Last Updated: July 3, 2024
Where To Go Wine Tasting in Malibu California • Winetraveler

Top Wine Tasting Experiences in Malibu for 2024

For Winetravelers keen on wine and waves, Malibu is the place to go. What’s more, you’ll have opportunities for celebrity spotting, surfing, beachcombing, hiking, cycling, yoga, and of course wine tasting.

Malibu Wine Tasting Travel Guide

If you’re picturing vineyards and wineries along the beach, you’re in for a surprise. Tucked away in the Santa Monica Mountains between the Pacific Ocean and the Mulholland Highway lies the Malibu Coast AVA. This 46 miles long and eight miles wide terrain rises to above 3000 feet and is home to 198 acres of vineyards and 52 vignerons. While the Woolsey Fire burned many of Malibu’s vineyards, this is still a robust and beautiful wine touring area.

The Malibu Coast was granted AVA status in 2014, but wine grapes have grown in the area since 1824. Interestingly enough, before Prohibition, Los Angeles County was California’s largest wine producer. The first contemporary vineyard was planted in 1985 by restaurateur Michael McCarty, under one of California’s most respected wine professionals, Dick Graff of Monterey’s Chalone Vineyard.

Where to go wine tasting in Malibu California
The dramatic elevation shifts in the Santa Monica Mountains, from sea level to 3,000 feet, and numerous microclimates allow the cultivation of a range of varietals. Whites grape varieties including Chardonnay and Viognier thrive in the cooler areas near the beach, while sun-loving reds like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, and Sangiovese prefer the mountaintop warmth.

Fun Fact: Much of the Malibu AVA sits on highly coveted red lava soil formations. This is similar to deposits on the Sonoma Coast, making the soils of the two regions nearly identical.

Only recently has Los Angeles County permitted the combination of vineyards and wineries, so “at the vineyard” tasting rooms are relatively few. Compared to larger California wine regions like Napa or even Santa Ynez, you can’t really bike from one winery to another or walk through the front door of a Malibu winery’ tasting room.

In fact, a Malibu winery is not necessarily the best place to sample Malibu wines. Instead of driving to visit the handful that does, head to Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, an Old West-themed wine bar on Mulholland Highway. Although initially planned as a winery, zoning laws couldn’t be changed, so it’s a retail and wine tasting hub featuring almost all wines in the Malibu wine scene. Here you can order Malibu wine tasting flights, wine by the glass, or purchase a bottle of wine to take away. You can also check in to the neighboring Old Place Restaurant next to Cornell, a legendary Malibu restaurant hangout.

As Malibu evolves from celebrity sand and surf local into an A-list wine region, you don’t have to look far for activities to pair with its wines. Hiking, cycling, yoga, al-fresco movie-going, and of course, beachfront wine tasting are all part of Malibu wine country’s one-of-a-kind personality.

RELATED: Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit, Tastings & Tours This Year

Travel Logistics

Flying into LAX (Los Angeles International Airport) is your best bet to get as close to Malibu as possible. You can browse current flight deals on Kayak, but book soon as prices are rising quickly in 2022. Rent a car, and then make the convenient 15-minute drive on the N9 highway for the best way to discover Malibu Wine Country. It connects US 101 at Malibu Junction in Agoura Hills and ends at California SR 1 (Pacific Coast Hwy) in the Point Dume region of Malibu. At Approximately its midpoint, the N9 intersects The Mullohalland HWY; this is the heart of the Malibu Coast AVA, and from here, you can start exploring.

Malibu Wine Hotels

Looking for a hotel? For one of the most upscale and immersive experiences in the Malibu region, stay at the opulent yet relaxed Calamigos Guest Ranch and Beach ClubIt’s conveniently located near both the mountains, beaches, vineyards, and one of the drop off / pick up points for one of our favorite wine tour operators we mention below. It’s also just several minutes away from some of the most trendy restaurants in the area.

Malibu Wine Tours, Hikes & Wine Tasting Experiences

If you’re not sure how to get around the Malibu area or you simply don’t feel like driving, there are a number of local, very well-accredited tour operators that offer a number of fun wine experiences that make for perfect day and weekend trips.

Malibu Vineyard Hike

Malibu vineyard hike tour
Exploring the vineyards of Malibu on foot with Malibu Wine Hikes.

Take a vineyard hike through the rolling hills of the region, witness the amazing scenery looking out over the Pacific, and even see old Native American cave paintings. This 2.5 mile hike is perfect for any Winetraveler. Whether you’re traveling solo, as a couple or with kids in tow, it’s a great guided way to taste some local wine and get to know the outdoors scene in Malibu.

Prices start at $49.00 per person.

Schedule a Wine Tour with Malibu Wine Hikes

Scenic Malibu Electric Mountain Biking Tour

Malibu mountain bike tour
Take a break from wine tasting and digest some of the great outdoors while you ride between the mountains and vines on an E-mountain biking tour.

Discover the breathtaking beauty of Malibu on an invigorating e-mountain bike tour, expertly operated by LifeRush Adventures. Catering to riders of all skill levels, this exhilarating journey is customized by your experienced guide to match your route preferences and cycling pace.

  • A tailored journey suitable for riders of all skill levels, guided by experienced professionals
  • State-of-the-art electric pedal-assist mountain bike technology, allowing you to adjust your workout intensity
  • Insightful knowledge of the diverse flora, fauna, and local ecosystem shared by your private guide
  • Included high-quality helmet, protective gear, and a top-of-the-line electric mountain bike for safety and comfort

Prices start at just $169, with a Lowest Price Guarantee

Book your Malibu E-Mountain bike Tour with LifeRush Adventures

Malibu Wineries Private Tour

Luxury private malibu wine tour
If you’re willing to shell out a bit more cash, opt for a private Malibu wine tour in a luxury vehicle. This is the full package offered by ExperienceFirst.

For those looking for something more private and personalized, take a Malibu full-day wine tour with our expert partner guide from ExperienceFirst and immerse yourself in Malibu’s captivating wine culture:

  • Delve into the diverse wines produced in the Malibu Coastal Region’s wineries
  • Benefit from the expertise and passion of our dedicated culinary and wine guide
  • Enjoy the convenience of pick-up at your hotel or preferred location
  • Travel in style and comfort through Malibu’s stunning wine country aboard a luxury vehicle

Price varies by group size.

Schedule a Private, Customizable Wine Tour with ExperienceFirst

Classic VW Bus Malibu Wine Tour or 4×4 Vineyard Tour

Malibu VW Bus wine tour

If you’re rolling with a group, for a vintage and fun experience, cruise with super accredited Malibu Wine Hikes in a California classic VW Bus and go vineyard hopping while jumping off at various hiking trails. For a more rugged yet equally as fun time, look into booking a wine excursion in a 4×4 offroad vehicle (operated by the same company). 

Best Malibu Wineries

Cornell Winery & Tasting Room

Cornell Winery & Tasting Room (mentioned above.) Here the action revolves around a dark wood bar and a communal area with picnic tables and benches. This enchanting destination embraces the rich heritage of California winemaking, showcasing a meticulously curated selection of small-production, artisanal wines from the region’s most distinguished vineyards. As you sip and savor each exquisite pour, delight in the warm and inviting ambiance of this rustic haven, adorned with vintage decor and exuding an unmistakable air of charm. Cornell Winery & Tasting Room invites you to experience the true essence of California’s winemaking tradition in a setting as unforgettable as the wines it celebrates.

Malibu Wines at Saddlerock Ranch

31727 Mulholland Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

(818) 578-4140

This property offers a relaxed environment to enjoy Semler and Saddlerock wines; reservations are strongly recommended on Saturdays and Sundays. Malibu Wines is also known for its ‘Wine Safaris,’ where you can tour the property in an open-top vehicle, check out the vineyards overlooking the Mountains and the Pacific Ocean. Plus, mingle with a giraffe, a water buffalo, llamas, and other exotic animals. But there’s more! You can also take a Wine Hike or a Bike Tour, with all tours concluding wine tastings.

The Barn at Cielo Farmers Winery and Tasting Room

This Tuscan-style stone barn on a hilltop with picnic tables and sweeping views of the vineyards. It’s the perfect place for a Malibu wine outing. You can also enjoy an afternoon of yoga and mindful movement amongst the vines. If you want to taste wine and picnic, take a winery tour or participate in a yoga class, Cielo requires you to make an appointment.

Rosenthal Malibu Estate Vineyard Wine Bar and Patio

18741 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 456-1392

Located at the top of Kanan Dume Road, but their tasting room is located just across from the beach right on PCH in Malibu proper near Topanga Canyon Blvd. 

NABU Wines

Located in Westlake Village, NABU features wines made from fruit grown in Malibu and Napa Valley (thus NABU!) Excellent tasting room experience here.

The Tasting Room – Four Seasons

Also in Westlake Village offers a comprehensive selection of Malibu wine in an elegant, sophisticated setting.

Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards

Nestled atop the breathtaking Malibu hills, Malibu Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards offers an unforgettable wine-tasting experience. With its stunning 360-degree panoramic views, this mountaintop gem specializes in limited-production, estate-grown wines, including Viognier, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Note that Malibu Rocky Oaks is not currently open to the public, you’ll need to schedule a visit well in advance.

RELATED: Temecula Wine Country Weekend Itinerary: Wineries, Hotels, Trails & Activities

Nearby Restaurants that Pour Malibu Wines

Geoffrey’s, Malibu

27400 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 457-1519

Indulge in the captivating charm of Geoffrey’s Malibu, a hidden gem nestled atop a picturesque bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This iconic dining destination offers an exceptional blend of exquisite culinary delights and breathtaking panoramic views. Savor a delectable fusion of Californian and Mediterranean flavors crafted with the finest locally-sourced ingredients, as you dine amidst the soothing sounds of crashing waves. A true Malibu treasure, Geoffrey’s promises an unforgettable dining experience, seamlessly combining elegance, ambiance, and gastronomic excellence.

V’s Restaurant & Bar, Malibu

22821 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 456-3828

Step into the inviting embrace of V’s Restaurant & Bar, a delightful Malibu haven that seamlessly blends casual elegance with exceptional cuisine. This charming eatery entices patrons with its eclectic menu, highlighting the finest locally-sourced ingredients to create an unforgettable fusion of American and international flavors. Revel in the warm and welcoming atmosphere, accentuated by a stylish interior and the gentle hum of conversation. Whether you’re in the mood for a relaxed drink or an intimate meal, V’s Restaurant & Bar promises an engaging and memorable dining experience in the heart of Malibu.

Carbon Beach Club, Malibu

22878 E Pacific Coast Hwy, Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 460-7509

Immerse yourself in the enchanting ambiance of Carbon Beach Club, a Malibu oasis nestled on the pristine shores of the famed “Billionaire’s Beach.” Revel in the captivating oceanfront setting as you indulge in an exceptional culinary experience, showcasing an innovative blend of seasonal California cuisine infused with Mediterranean influences. Savor each artfully crafted dish, skillfully prepared with locally-sourced ingredients, while the serene sound of the ocean and the gentle sea breeze caress your senses. Carbon Beach Club offers a truly remarkable dining adventure, epitomizing Malibu’s iconic coastal charm and culinary excellence.

Malibu Farm Pier Cafe

23000 E Pacific Coast Hwy Building C, Malibu, CA 90265

(310) 456-8850

Discover the rustic charm of Malibu Farm Pier Cafe, a delightful oceanfront eatery perched on the historic Malibu Pier. Embodying the essence of farm-to-table dining, this charming cafe takes pride in serving fresh, locally-sourced, and organic ingredients that capture the vibrant flavors of California cuisine. Enjoy a relaxed alfresco dining experience, surrounded by panoramic ocean views and the soothing soundtrack of the Pacific waves. Malibu Farm Pier Cafe is a true embodiment of the laid-back Malibu lifestyle, offering a delightful culinary escape that will linger in your memories long after you leave.

Frequently Asked Questions about Malibu Wineries & Wine Tasting

Fun Fact: Should you want the ultimate Malibu Wine Country souvenir, the entire Rosenthal–The Malibu Estate vineyard property is for sale for somewhere around $38 million!

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