Best of California Coastal Wine Region

With rolling vineyards and welcoming tasting rooms, California’s Coastal Wine region is a popular destination for wine enthusiasts of all walks of life. Savor award-winning vintages at an array of wineries on the scenic California coast. With lively food and wine festivals, educational vineyard tours and intimate winemaker dinners, the Central Coast Wine region pairs exciting activities with world class wine. Consult Highway 1’s detailed wine maps and itineraries for the best local tasting rooms and wine trails spanning spanning vines to sand. From boutique tasting rooms to grand estates, the Central Coast Wine region is a welcoming oasis for first time tasters and wine aficionados alike. With dozens of wine varietals to enjoy on the California coast, there’s a tasting experience to please every palate.

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Wine Tasting Along the California Coast

Central Coast Wine Trails

Highway 1 and coastal San Luis Obispo County offers a variety of scenic wine trails from ocean to valley. Serving up everything from sparkling wine to petite sirah, find top tier reds, whites and blends at diverse tasting rooms. The following wine trails are designed to help visitors easily explore the best of Central Coast wine:

Pacific Coast Wine Trail

For wine lovers, wine tasting along the Pacific Coast Wine Trail is a must. Each of the trail’s six tasting rooms are worthy destinations with coastal scenery to match. That said, visitors are encouraged to meander the coastal backroads between each stop. Along the trail, find an array of top notch tasting rooms in Cayucos, Cambria and San Simeon. These include Black Hand Cellars, Moonstone Cellars, Twin Coyotes, Stolo Vineyards, Harmony Cellars and Cayucos Cellars. A highlight of the Pacific Coast Wine trail, San Simeon’s Hearst Ranch Winery offers seated wine tasting alongside unparalleled oceanfront views. With shaded outdoor tables a stone’s throw from the Pacific, visitors can expect a unique outdoor tasting experience complete with crashing waves and views of Hearst Castle on the hill. Afterward, hungry visitors can order a casual lunch at Sebastian’s General Store, a local favorite.

Hearst Ranch Winery wine tasting
With several distinct wine trails to choose from, experience an exciting world of wine along Highway 1 and beyond. Sample award-winning pinot noir, chardonnay and more at tasting rooms backdropped by rolling vineyards or crashing waves. Wherever you roam along the Central Coast, expect to find friendly tasting room staff and exciting opportunities for dining, shopping and more.

Avila Beach Wine Trail

The Avila Beach Wine Tasting Trail combines the best of Central Coast beach and wine culture. This oceanside trail is small but mighty, with three heavy-hitting coastal producers and many varietals to explore. Start with Sinor-Lavallee Winery and Peloton Cellars, a pair of Avila Beach wine tasting rooms just steps from the sand. Next, head into leafy, historic See Canyon to visit Kelsey See Canyon Winery. In addition to a variety of cool climate and apple-infused wines, visitors can catch a glimpse of the winery’s resident flock of peacocks.

Dining Avila Beach
Cheers to a day of wine tasting along the breezy Central Coast Wine Region. Vibrant wines and epic sunsets are in store when you travel the scenic Avila Beach Wine Trail. From roaming peacocks and apple orchards to tasting rooms steps from the sand, you’ll find sunny surprises around every bend. Be sure to bring a hat, SPF and your sense of adventure.

Core of the Coast Wine Trail

While visitors of the Central Coast Wine region can certainly enjoy a single day of wine tasting in Edna Valley, a two-day trip is recommended. Taste your way through seven historic wineries, including award-winning chardonnay and pinot noir. Edna Valley offers up cool climate wines from pioneer producers like Claiborne & Churchill, Saucelito Canyon (the original Henry Ditmas property from 1870), and Piedra Creek. Bask in unparalleled vineyard views at Edna Valley Vineyards and Tolosa. Plus, visitors routinely rub elbows with winemakers at boutique producers like Autry Cellars and Biddle Ranch Vineyard.

Vineyards, Edna Valley
One of the most stunning wine trails with the Central Coast Wine region, the Core of the Coast meanders through San Luis Obispo’s scenic Edna Valley. Known for historic wineries and cool climate varietals, find indoor and outdoor tasting rooms perfect for taking in the lush scenery. Be sure to check winery schedules before you go, as many tasting rooms offer fun events year round, including live music and winemaker dinners.

Sparkling Wine Trail

When visiting the Central Coast Wine region, everyday moments are elevated with a pop of the cork. Although many wineries are known for producing still varietals, visitors will also find a variety of sparkling wines, from French-inspired brut to sparkling rosé. Nestled just a few miles from the sea, The SLO Coast Wine Trail is home to a dozen sparkling wine producers with unique tasting rooms and welcoming staff. Ready to clink and sip? Follow the Sparkling Wine Trail for bubbles crafted in the méthode traditionelle (the Old World method used in Champagne, France), as well as bottle fermented and natural styles. All along the Sparkling Wine Trail—encompassing Baileyana, Wolff, Niner Wine Estates, Sinor-LaVallee, Cutruzzola, Stephen Ross, Biddle Ranch, Piedra Creek or Center of Effort—visitors are sure to feel the celebratory spirit. Raise a glass with friends and enjoy a tasting flight or take a bottle or two home for a festive souvenir.

Every day is worth celebrating along the Sparkling Wine Trail. Effervescent bubbles tickle the nose at a handful of elegant tasting rooms nestled within the Central Coast Wine region. Learn how these sophisticated sparkling wines are made while sipping with friends. Along this unique trail, expect to sample a diversity of offerings from traditional French-inspired vintages to refreshing sparkling rosé.

Wine Tours

Several wine tour providers operate along the Central Coast, allowing visitors to sit back and enjoy the ride. From plush vehicles and customizable itineraries to smart add-ons like gourmet picnic lunches and olive oil tasting, each tour offers its own unique perks. Regardless of the tour service, visitors can rest assured that those in the know are in the driver’s seat.

101 Wine Tours

101 Wine Tours hosts wine, beer, olive oil and scenic tours of the entire Central Coast Wine Region, including Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley and SLO Coast Wine areas. Visitors enjoy a personalized tour that includes small boutique wineries and vast estates. Special behind-the-scenes tours are also available seasonally, affording visitors an up-close look at the winemaking process. Wine tasting tours include up to four stops, as well as pick-up and drop-off.

Uncorked Wine Tours

Specializing in private customizable tours, Uncorked Wine Tours allows visitors to create a one-of-a-kind wine country excursion. Serving Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo, Edna Valley and SLO Coast Wine areas, enjoy a range of wine tasting options tailored to each groups’ distinct preferences. In addition, itineraries are known to detour through additional points of interest, including local beer, spirits or olive oil tasting rooms. Other add-ons include vineyard tours, horseback riding through the vines, zip-lining, wine seminars and more.

Breakaway Tours

Immersive Private, Bespoke Wine Tours that take you beyond the tasting bar into the heart of our vibrant wine regions. Our deep roots provide our guests unmatched access and privileges. Winery lunch options from rustic to elegant dining. Distillery & Culinary Tours also available. 5-Star Rated Est. 1995.

Breakaway Tours photo credit required to Breakaway Tours
Traveling through the vineyards photo courtesy of Breakaway Tours

SLO Safe Ride

SLO Safe Ride is a trusted ground transportation operator servicing San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, SLO Coast Wine areas and the entire Central Coast Wine Region. The local charter service utilizes passenger vans, buses and limousines to accommodate any size group. Whether the outing includes wine tasting, distillery tasting, wine festival or other event, SLO Safe Ride is on call to provide a reliable ride for all.

Sidecar Wine Tours

One of the most exciting and fun ways to tour wine country is on three wheels! Sidecar Wine Tours combines the fun of wine tasting with the exhilaration of backroad motorcycling for an experience unlike any other wine tour. The motorcycles are uniquely outfitted to take two tandem passengers in the sidecar, not just one. And because it’s just two guests in the sidecar, the tour can be highly personalized to your specifications. Leave the crowds behind and getaway on your own terms: for each three-hour Motorcycle Adventure Tour, choose two winery tasting rooms to visit. Alternatively, tell your private chauffeur what kinds of wine you want to explore and let them surprise you. If you’re looking for something a little different on your wine country vacation, this is a whimsical and intimate way to explore.

Talley Wine Tasting
Take a wine tour through the Central Coast. Sit back and relax for a day of fun as you experience all that wine country has to offer.

Other Wine Adventures Near the Coast

Cycling in Wine Country

Cyclists flock to Edna Valley, a popular biking destination for locals and visitors seeking the scenic route. Flanked by vineyards and rolling hills, cyclists can easily stop at winery tasting rooms along the two-wheel journey. Many wineries also offer snacks and outdoor picnic areas, providing a welcome break along the way. While wine tasting is a given, each Edna Valley winery is delightfully different. Check winery calendars for other offerings, including live music, lawn games, winemaker dinners and seasonal events.

Cycling in Edna Valley Vineyards
Taking the scenic route with a cruise through wine country. Enjoy vineyard views and winery stops along the way.

Weddings in Wine Country

Lovebirds routinely exchange vows in SLO Coast Wine Country, where romantic scenery and fine wine come together. Newlyweds tie the knot amid an array of wine country backdrops well suited for proposals, ceremonies and receptions. Choose from elegant estates, rustic barns, barrel rooms, sun dappled terraces and more.

Spreafico Arroyo Grande Wedding Couple
A romantic wedding with rolling hills and vineyard views in the heart of the California Coastal Wine region.

More Towns for Tasting

Pismo Beach Wine Tasting

Pismo Beach wine tasting rooms offer up a sunny destination for visitors of the Central Coast Wine region. Sans Liege Winery is known for its world class Rhone style wines and fun tasting room vibe. Planning to visit the famous Pismo Beach Monarch Butterfly Grove? Stop for a cozy wine tasting at the Monarch Grove Winery tasting room just south on Highway 1. Finally, the tasting room at Tastes of the Valleys wine shop showcases local wines poured by knowledgeable staff.

Morro Bay Wine Tasting

The bustling Morro Bay Embarcadero is home to a trio of excellent wine tasting rooms. Wine taste along the charming oceanfront where children chew salt water taffy and local fishermen haul in the catch of the day. MCV Winery offers bold, Paso-grown reds including tannat and petite sirah. Nearby, Chateau Margene pours up some of the Central Coast’s most elegant cabernet sauvignon selections. Morro Bay’s Wine Seller wine shop features a taste of local wines paired with regular live music.

Chateau Margene Morro Bay
While strolling along the Embarcadero in Morro Bay, stop by for wine tasting with ocean views at the Chateau Margene.

Urban Wine Trail (San Luis Obispo)

Savor the Central Coast Wine region, San Luis Obispo style. Showcasing unexpected and modern tasting rooms, Urban Wine Trail participants provide a fun alternative to the traditional vineyard experience. In San Luis Obispo, brake for Deovlet, El Lugar and Stephen Ross Wine Cellars, industrial wine tasting rooms pouring excellent pinot noir, among other varieties. Fellow urban tasting room Croma Vera specializes in Spanish varieties with a bold California twist. For more San Luis Obispo wine tasting surprises, visit Filipponi Ranch Winery, a charming farmhouse on the outskirts of town. Visitors can also taste the next generation of wine offerings at Cal Poly University, home to a celebrated viticulture program.

San Luis Obispo Downtown
There’s always more to explore when you visit the Central Coast Wine region. In San Luis Obispo, the Urban Wine Trail includes tasting rooms pouring distinct wines at modern tasting rooms. These exciting boutique offerings showcase a vibrant mix of varietals, from enticing Spanish wines to bold California-style blends.

Paso Robles

Located just north of San Luis Obispo, Paso Robles Wine Country is an iconic wine region in its own right. With more than 250 tasting rooms, this world class growing area continues to collect accolades from wine critics the world over. Despite much national and international media coverage, the area remains cozy and hospitable, welcoming in first-time tasters and serious wine aficionados alike. The pioneering spirit is alive and well here, with unique wineries tucked within one of the nation’s largest AVAs. Hot, dry days and cool nights help to grow full-bodied red Rhone and Bordeaux varieties—most notably, rich cabernet sauvignon. Visit our Paso Wine Country page for information on a variety of wine trails and educational opportunities.

Vineyards Paso Robles
Blending wine country and cowboy country, Paso Robles is famous for world class wines and warm hospitality. With terroir similar to that of famed French regions, visitors can expect to savor award-winning reds, including rich Rhone and Bordeaux offerings. That said, visitors can also taste delicate whites and pioneering blends made in the fruit-forward style that Paso has become known for.

Central Coast Wine Festivals

Cambria Wine and Art Festival

Every January, the Cambria Wine and Art Festival combines the magic of local artists with the flavor of local wineries. Featuring artist demonstrations, winemaker dinners and a grand tasting, you’ll find the intersection of winemaking and artmaking. Visitors are also encouraged to take part in an art show and silent auction where wine and artworks are awarded to the highest bidder.

Paso Robles Wine Festival

Each May, Paso Robles Wine Country comes together for the Paso Wine Festival, a multi-day celebration of fine wine, great food and awesome entertainment. Featuring 100+ wineries, the festival includes craft spirits, artisans, makers market, live music and brand experiences. Each year, expect a fresh look at the region with additional winemaker dinners and spotlights on various aspects of the industry. Visitors should note that the marquee grand tasting is not to missed: expect to discover dozens of diverse Paso Robles varietals served up with a side of warm hospitality.

Harvest on the Coast

A premiere wine event in the Edna Valley and Arroyo Grande Valley, Harvest on the Coast is hosted every fall by the San Luis Obispo Wine Collective. The weekend begins with a Crafted on the Coast winemaker dinner featuring culinary treasures paired with local wines. On Saturday, the grand tasting and live auction invites over 60 wineries and restaurants to team up for food and wine pairings. On Sunday, guests can visit their choice of SLO Coast wineries with an all-access pass that includes complimentary tastings.

Crafted on the Coast, Casitas Estate, Arroyo Grande
Lively wine festivals allow visitors of the Central Coast Wine region to dive deeper into a bevy of award-winning wine offerings. Rub elbows with local winemakers and vintners, enjoy live music and nibble on chef-crafted creations. With festive food and wine celebrations kicking off throughout the year, visitors find countless reasons to raise a glass to Central Coast wine.

Pismo Beach Wine Festival

Of all the Central Coast Wine region events, Wine, Waves & Beyond is the frothiest. Enjoy a long weekend of wine and surf-related experiences hosted in and around Pismo Beach. Events include a surf movie premier, Volkswagen bus show, surf competition and grand tasting of the finest coastal wines. Wine, Waves & Beyond is also a philanthropic event that has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local charities over the years.

SLO County Wine History

The first vineyards in San Luis Obispo County were planted by padres near San Miguel and San Luis Obispo missions. By the 1820s, Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa in San Luis Obispo was producing over 100 barrels of wine annually—second only to Mission San Gabriel in Los Angeles. By 1834, those vineyards were abandoned when the Mexican government secularized the California missions.

In the 1850s, Frenchman Pierre Hypolite Dallidet came to San Luis Obispo after an unsuccessful attempt at gold rushing in Northern California. Here, he purchased hundreds of acres of land in what is now downtown San Luis Obispo. He later bought and revived the withering mission vineyards of the area, becoming the first commercial winemaker in San Luis Obispo County. Though his vineyards have since disappeared, Dallidet’s adobe home still stands today. Other winemakers, mostly European immigrants, emerged on the Central Coast, planting the county’s first zinfandel vineyard in Arroyo Grande in the 1870s.

Local winemaking came to a standstill, at least in public view, during the Prohibition era of the 1920s and early ‘30s. It wasn’t until 1968 that the Central Coast wine industry began to come back to life. A local farm advisor experimented with planting vines in Edna and Arroyo Grande Valley, finding that the area was indeed suitable for vines. Winemakers arrived soon thereafter, including the Piedra Creek Winery, responsible for introducing Italian grape varieties to San Luis Obispo County.

In the 1970s, San Luis Obispo County vineyard acreage skyrocketed from 550 to 4,000 acres. Today, the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys remain predominantly family-owned. Producers included notable growers like Jack Niven, Norman Goss, and Bill Greenough, who revived the forlorn Ditmas Zinfandel vineyard in Arroyo Grande.

In 1982, Edna Valley was established as San Luis Obispo County’s first American Viticultural Area (AVA). One of its many distinctions is a remarkably long growing period due to sunny days and cool coastal breezes, producing elegant, well-balanced fruit. The nearby Arroyo Grande Valley became its own AVA just eight years later.

As existing wine regions thrived over the following decades, new Central Coast Wine Region destinations have emerged. Today, notable vineyards, wineries and tasting rooms can be found in San Simeon, Cambria, Harmony, Cayucos, Los Osos-Baywood, Avila Beach, and coastal Arroyo Grande. With more than 250 wineries and growing, Paso Robles Wine Country to the north has made a name for itself as a world class wine region. In total, the economic impact of wine on San Luis Obispo County is close to $2 billion as of 2015, an indication of its growth since the early mission days.

Vineyards, Edna Valley
Today, wine enthusiasts can choose from hundreds of winery tasting rooms along the Central Coast Wine region. From the early California padres to the pioneering winemakers of the 1970s, Central Coast vineyards boast a rich history, indeed. With dozens of microclimates and varietals, each wine trail along the Central Coast Wine region is unique. As a result, many wine enthusiasts visit the area again and again, exploring new wine offerings upon each happy return.

Highway 1 Wine Growing Region


Coastal wine country is defined by a number of factors, beginning with unique volcanic and seabed soils. Hard bedrock below ensures that vines struggle just enough to produce concentrated color and flavor. Volcanic mountains surround the valleys, keeping vineyards warm during the day and coastal-cool at night.


A close proximity to the Pacific Ocean brings out bright, lively acidity in the Central Coast Wine region’s SLO Coast Wines. A natural warming and cooling cycle—which includes fog in the morning, breezes, then sunshine—makes for one of the world’s longest growing seasons. Fruit develops slowly without over-ripening during a long hang time, resulting in wines of great complexity and impeccable balance.

Vineyard Ocean
Known the world over for a mild and temperate climate, the Central Coast Wine region produces high quality, well balanced wines. From the SLO Coast Wine region’s cool Pacific Ocean influence to the consistently warm, sunny days of Paso Robles and beyond, the allure of Central Coast wine begins in the vineyard.

The Coastal AVAs

Coastal San Luis Obispo County is home to American Viticultural Areas recognized by the federal government for producing wines of distinction. Wineries in these AVAs comprise the membership of the SLO Coast Wine Collective, an organization that hosts fun and educational events for the public.

SLO Coast has become an official American Viticulture Area (AVA). This viticultural designation recognizes the distinctive character of California Central Coast wines shaped by cool Pacific Ocean breezes, and makes this region the newest AVA in America. The SLO Coast AVA is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Mountains and Santa Barbara County, and includes all vineyards within a15-mile wide swath. This corridor houses 78 vineyards with 3,942 acres planted to vines. While a majority of acreage is planted to chardonnay and pinot Noir, this cool-climate region also plays host to a diversified lineup of other varieties like albariño, riesling, grenache, zinfandel, and syrah.

Edna Valley

Established as the first American Viticultural Area in San Luis Obispo County, Edna Valley grows 2,000 acres of vines and 20 winegrape varieties. Gentle slopes, complex soils, sunshine and family-owned wineries define this boutique wine region. Edna Valley wine grapes benefit from the maritime effects of an east-west corridor to the Pacific Ocean, just four miles away. The most celebrated and sought-after wines here are pinot noir and chardonnay, as well as aromatic white varieties and syrah.

Arroyo Grande Valley

Contiguous with Edna Valley, the Arroyo Grande Valley excels at growing premium pinot noir and chardonnay. Soils here are also sedimentary and volcanic, though they tend to be heavier, and its climate slightly warmer. Established as an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1990, the region reaches 16 miles long on an east-northeast orientation. Maritime breezes keep the vines cool, as do higher elevations towards Lopez Lake.

A colorful tapestry of vineyards, flower fields and farmland greet visitors of the fertile Arroyo Grande Valley. Known for charming mom and pop wine tasting rooms, seasonal farm stands and close proximity to Lopez Lake, this unique Central Coast Wine Region destination is a natural choice for casual wine tasting experiences and a picnic lunch.

Best Places to Dine

Fine wine and fabulous food pair perfectly along Highway 1. After an exciting day of wine tasting along the California Central Coast, find an array of incredible restaurants ready to round out that epicurean adventure. Interested in pairing local wines with home-grown flavors? Known for fresh farm-to-table culinary offerings, the Central Coast Wine region serves up a bounty of regional delights. From restaurants serving casual fare like burgers and tri-tip to fresh-caught seafood with an ocean view, visitors are sure to savor the best places to eat on Highway 1 and beyond.

Find fresh local food and wine at The Gourmet Deli in Old Edna along with many other incredible culinary options to choose from all along Highway 1.