Wine Tasting in Monterey, Carmel, and the Santa Lucia Highlands in California

Wine tasting in Monterey Carmel and the Santa Lucia Highlands in CaliforniaWe honestly believe that wine tasting should be done over two or three days, with time out for an excursion into history or a glorious hike and picnic.  But, if you have a designated driver or a limo driver (even if she’s driving you around in a 1957 Cadillac), here is a logical way to tour this area in one beautiful day.

First we must say this:  On such a tour, it is a brilliant idea to use the spit buckets at the winery.  That will keep you fresh and perky.  It might feel weird to spit, but do it.  Then cleanse your palate with water.

Here we go:  Going north on 101, turn west onto River Road.  It’s near Soledad in the Santa Lucia Highlands.  (Hello, GPS!)  Stop at Pessagno Winery.  Their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, two grapes that love the same climate, are sublime.  Farther north, keep an eye out for Marilyn Remark Winery if you enjoy Rhone wines.  Now you’re near Highway 68 and The Farm. This is an excellent place for snacks to munch along the way.

You’re in for some more spectacular views as you drive south on Highway 1.  Go to the Carmel Valley for a wine-country lunch at an eatery called Corkscrew—we believe that food is a very good thing!  Next door is Talbot Winery, very nice if you like Pinot Noirs. If you prefer Chardonnay, visit Boekenoogen.

Hold your breath, go north to Monterey, and check out that coastline!  Holy Moses—what could be more amazing?  Look for ‘A Taste of Monterey’ for a good assortment of local wines.   Indulge.  (Plus, the view of the wild Pacific from this tasting room is unreal.)  Go ahead and have a feast at C Restaurant.  What some live music?  Go to Sly McFly’s.

Now, relax and recount the day—it has been a miracle of taste, sound, and sights.  Oh, my.

Writer: Meredith Blevins, featured writer for Join her at for wine-country mysteries, classes, and the untamed west.

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