Think California, think waves, and think wine. If you’re heading there anytime soon, here’s some even sunnier news: Napa Valley and Sonoma County aren’t the only hotspots for Cali vino. The little-known San Luis Obispo’s wine region nestled between Los Angeles and San Francisco is just as wine-worthy and it’s definitely worth the trip. Not only does this underrated area serve up some of the best Californian Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, you’re also just a short drive from exploring vineyards, lying on a sandy beach, and enjoying fine dining – all in one day. Plus, at the more than 30 wineries, you’ll be sampling and sipping on sunny patios to your heart’s content.
Happiness indeed. Let me introduce you to this happy place.
Nicknamed SLO by locals, this underrated area gained notoriety thanks to the oenophile comedy Sideways. Its rolling hills and winding roadways leading to lush valleys all within a few miles of the ocean gives this central coast wine country a unique pastoral charm. Just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, it boasts prime vine growing and wine-making conditions: warm, sunny days, crisp cool evenings, diverse soil profiles and artisan vintners.
SLO has been the source of fantastic wine for generations. It was first made here by Franciscan missionaries in the 1770s and commercial wine making principles date back to the 1800s. Many of SLO’s Pinot Noirs reflect dark berries and complex spice notes with great aging potential for those looking to build their cellars.
If you’re a white wine lover, SLO Chardonnays offer crisp tropical fruit characters and are fabulous for sipping on a warm sunny afternoon. Other, less typical recommendations: Viogniers, Syrahs, Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris. Think SLO for your next girl’s weekend or a couple’s getaway. Take a wine tour to explore the regions, learn about the terroir and step into tasting rooms on your route. Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to sit back and relax at the various wineries.