Edna Valley Wine Region
With 2,000 acres of vines and 27 wine tasting rooms among golden rolling hills, the Edna Valley makes for a delicious getaway. Family-owned and off-the-beaten-path, these boutique wineries each offer something different, but Pinot Noir and Chardonnay reign over most tasting menus. And with a variety of vacation rentals and bed and breakfasts nearby, you can stay right in the middle of wine country. Which winery is your favorite? You’ll have to visit them all to find out.
Climate and topography
Just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, Edna Valley enjoys constant breezes that keep fruit cool and refreshed, even as the sun shines. These coastal conditions provide for the longest growing season in the state of California ― ideal for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Sloping hillsides offer excellent drainage for vines, and volcanic and sedimentary soils equate to depth, minerality and color in the glass. The Arroyo Grande Valley, adjacent to Edna Valley, boasts similar conditions, with ocean views at one end and Lopez Lake at the other.
San Luis Obispo Coast American Viticulture Area (AVA)
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 us the newest AVA in America. Our new AVA is bordered by the Pacific Ocean, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Mountains and Santa Barbara County, and includes all vineyards within a 15-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. So raise a glass and celebrate with us: to the SLO Coast AVA!
Table of Contents
Experience the Edna Valley Wine Region
Edna Valley Wineries
All wine from this corner of the world bears the signature of the ocean, a mere 5 miles away. Seabed soils, fog, sun and ocean breezes make for picture-perfect growing conditions in Edna Valley and the Arroyo Grande Valley. The SLO Coast Wine Collective includes local producers who make coastal-crafted wines, and share specifics on terroir, wineries, grape varieties and wine trails.
Biddle Ranch Winery
Elegant wines made from local vineyards comprise the selection at this modern farmhouse winery. Play cornhole or bocce, nab a picnic table and a cheese plate, and enjoy the spirit of San Luis Obispo wine country. Want to stay overnight? Biddle Ranch also offers a vacation rental in the chardonnay vineyard. And as one of the most picturesque wineries in the Edna Valley, Biddle Ranch also makes a romantic wedding venue.
Located in the Arroyo Grande village, this tasting room pours a selection of wines from the Santa Maria Valley, just 16 miles south. Made by a former sommelier, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay dominate the lineup, with Sauvignon Blanc and Riesling making appearances as well.
Claiborne & Churchill
Set in one of San Luis Obispo County’s first straw bale buildings, Claiborne & Churchill helped put Edna Valley on the wine map, decades ago. This winery focuses on Alsatian-style white wines, including dry Riesling, aromatic Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Gris. Tasting options include house and reserve flights, as well as a tasting with a vineyard and winery tour. Or challenge your palate with a “blind flight,” where labels are hidden and you guess the variety. For those looking to extend their stay here, look into renting the original farmhouse cottage for a cozy getaway.
Sourcing from a variety of locations across the Central Coast, Sextant wines excels with red wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel from vineyards in Paso Robles. Enjoy a house tasting in Edna Hall at the Edna Townsite, or sit in the Blacksmith Shop for a private experience.
This hillside winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, with some Riesling, Syrah and Petite Sirah as well. Enjoy a flight in the tasting room or overlooking the vines on the Wolff Vineyards patio.
Edna Valley Vineyard
A pioneer of San Luis Obispo wine, Edna Valley Vineyard remains a must-stop for any wine lover. This legacy winery boasts spectacular views of Edna Valley’s hillsides and vineyards, right at the tasting bar. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay comprise Edna Valley Vineyard’s most notable wines, and are available to taste daily. The tasting room offers a heritage tasting with cheese pairings, a “light bites” pairing on the patio, or a private small group tasting in the Cask Room. (Call ahead to reserve.)
For lovers of a good story as well as good wine, Saucelito Canyon is a must-visit. Planted with Zinfandel in 1880, the Saucelito Canyon Vineyard was eventually abandoned during Prohibition. The property was revived in 1974 by the Greenough family and today produces some of the finest old-vine, dry-farmed Zinfandel in the nation. The tasting room is open daily to visitors, excluding major holidays.
Named after San Luis Obispo Mission de Tolosa, this property offers interactive tastings with wines sourced from Edna Valley and beyond. Tolosa offers several tasting options, including a barrel tour, a private seated tasting, a vineyard excursion, and a signature flight tasting. Tasting tip: Tolosa also offers a tasting specific to Perinet, a sister winery located in Spain’s Priorat region.
Located off Highway 101 between San Luis Obispo and Avila Beach, Filipponi Ranch makes small lots of wine from excellent local vineyards. Visit the tasting room, built into the Filipponi family’s fully remodeled old ranch house. Enjoy bocce ball and horseshoes under the sycamore trees, as well as live music throughout the summer.
Stephen Dooley opened his winery Stephen Ross in 1994, specializing in small-batch wine production of pinot noir. Since then, Dooley has created a selection of wines that is widely acclaimed in Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, and Wine & Spirits. Located in an under-the-radar neighborhood just outside Edna Valley, the winery offers wine tastings Friday through Sunday, with seated tastings available over the weekend.
Winemaker Steve Autry makes very limited quantities of wine from 11 varietals, including malbec, viognier, sauvignon blanc, syrah and cabernet franc. He marries his love of music with his love of winemaking throughout the tasting room, from the wine labels to live performances. Tastings are available by appointment only; the lovely views of Edna Valley from the patio alone are worth the visit.
Niven Family Wine Estates
The Niven family pioneered Edna Valley as a wine region, establishing a series of brands to show its range. From Riesling and Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, these labels cover multiple varietals and local regions. Taste through a selection of these 30+ wines in the Independence Schoolhouse, built in 1909. The tasting room offers a signature flight, as well as a seated, guided flight with cheese pairings. A gourmet boutique, bocce ball, and a dog- and kid-friendly lawn round out the experience.
Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker & True Myth
This family of wine labels was developed by true pioneers of the Edna Valley wine industry, John and Katherine Niven. They started over 35 years ago, shaping and establishing Edna Valley as a winemaking region. Today, the Baileyana, Tangent, Zocker and True Myth family of brands are some of the most beloved along Highway 1. Like most producers in Edna Valley, they specialize in chardonnay and pinot noir. The tasting room lies tucked off Orcutt Road, located in the historic Independence Schoolhouse built in 1909. Expect views of the Santa Lucia Mountains, food trucks, music, and one of the best bocce courts in the Edna Valley.
After many years working in other winemakers’ cellars, Ryan Deovlet started his own wine label in 2008. Since then, his wines have won accolades worth bragging about, including inclusion in Wine & Spirits Top 100 Wineries for five of the last ten years. Deovlet’s heart lies with pinot noir, and he produces bottles from some of the best vineyards in California, including La Encantada and Zotovich Family Vineyard. Tastings are by appointment only, and are often conducted by Ryan Deovlet himself. The tasting room can be found in an industrial building off Suburban Road in San Luis Obispo—and is worth seeking out.
Edna Valley Wine Map
Arroyo Grande Valley Wineries
This hilltop winery lies just 3 miles from the ocean, with views of the Pacific and the San Luis Obispo Bay. While Laetitia is known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, its local claim to fame is a robust selection of sparkling wines, produced by the historic méthode champenoise. Visitors can experience a daily tasting, single-vineyard Pinot Noir tasting, or private tasting and lunch at the Laetitia Estate House.
Travel out into the picturesque Arroyo Grande Valley for this estate winery, known worldwide for excellent Chardonnay. Taste a rotating selection of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, blends and other varieties in the tasting room. Tours and private tasting in the historic El Rincon Adobe are also available.
Chamisal & Malene
A landmark Pinot Noir and Chardonnay house, Chamisal makes sustainably-produced wines from vineyards spanning Monterey to Santa Barbara. Their sister winery, Malene, focuses solely on rosé made from grenache, mourvedre, syrah and other Rhone varieties in the classic Provençal style. Both brands are available for tasting in the high-ceiling craftsman-style tasting room and spacious patio. Try a signature wine flight, an estate patio tasting, or a private tasting and tour of the property.
This family-owned Edna Valley winery focuses on Pinot Noir, as well as some white varieties, Syrah and Rhône-variety blends. Enjoy an open-air tasting bar, as well as a lawn and adirondack chairs for a casual vibe.
Center of Effort
Occupying the historic Corbett Canyon Winery building, Center of Effort is an estate producer focusing on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The facility has been considerably updated with contemporary architecture and exclusive tasting options. Tasting is seated and by appointment only, with the option to add an estate tour and charcuterie board with your tasting.
Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines
Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines is a family-owned and operated winery located in the picturesque Arroyo Grande Valley of California. Founded by winemaker Bob Lindquist and his wife Louisa Sawyer Lindquist, Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines is known for producing high-quality Rhône-style wines, including Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Viognier. The Lindquists are passionate about sustainability and use organic and biodynamic farming practices to produce their wines. Visitors can taste wine in their tasting room located in the charming Village of Arroyo Grande. With its convenient location and commitment to quality, Verdad & Lindquist Family Wines is a must-visit destination for wine lovers.
Avila Valley Wineries
Downtown Avila Tasting Rooms
Reap the rewards of wine tasting in Avila Beach by hitting its several downtown tasting rooms, all within walking distance of the shoreline. Taste at Sinor-LaVallee, famous for pinot noir and syrah grown in the Avila Valley. At Peloton Cellars, try a wide variety of wines in a comfortable tasting room established by passionate cyclists. And Alapay Cellars offers wine tasting in an ocean-themed tasting room, complete with two grand saltwater aquariums.
Sparkling Wine Trail
Thanks to the Edna Valley’s long hang time and coastal climate, this is an area that’s also home to several sparkling wine producers. In addition to elegant still pinot noir and chardonnay, bubbles have become a favorite of both locals and visitors. To help you plan, sip, and enjoy, SLO Coast Wine has designed a Sparkling Wine Trail that takes travelers to ten spots where sparkling wine really sparkles. Taste wines where they’re made, like at Laetitia Vineyard & Winery, where winemakers make several styles, from Blanc de Blanc and Blanc de Noir to a non-vintage selection. Get ready to unwrap the gold foil and pop the cork all up and down the coast — and take bottles home with you. There’s no special occasion required for enjoying a glass of bubbles. Niner Wine Estates, Cutruzzola, Stephen Ross, Baileyana, Wolff, Biddle Ranch, Piedra Creek, Center of Effort and Sinor-LaVallee each have their own style. Enjoy one or all of them on the SLO Coast Sparkling Wine Trail.
Edna Valley Wine Tours
Edna Valley is served by a number of tour and transportation companies to keep wine tasting educational, fun and safe for all.
101 Wine Tours
This tour company prides itself on designing custom itineraries tailored to the needs and preferences of their clients. Tours are conducted with knowledgeable guides and Mercedes vans for comfort and a bit of luxury. Whether you have a vision for where you’d like to taste or you’re completely open to recommendations, 101 Wine Tours strives to make the experience memorable and fun.
Uncorked Wine Tours
Open to your itinerary or able to design one for you, Uncorked Wine Tours caters to the taste of its guests. Local experts share their experiences, secret spots and knowledge, making for a fun and delicious day tasting wine in Edna Valley.
Since 1995, Breakaway Tours has been bringing local expertise to Edna Valley wine tasting. Choose to join a group tour to 4 wineries, plus door-to-door service and a picnic lunch, or design a private tour, just for your party. Enjoy specialized options like dog-friendly wine tours and tours to small-scale wineries. And don’t forget celebrations! Breakaway Tours welcomes groups for guy and girl getaway trips, bachelor and bachelorette parties, family reunions and more.
SLO Safe Ride
This local specialist provides safe and fun transportation for your wine tasting adventure. Each trip includes a knowledgeable driver, a luxury bus, limousine or large-group vehicle, door-to-door pick-up and drop-off, and bottled water. For an all-inclusive wine tour, SLO Safe Ride covers all tasting fees, provides box lunches, and offers concierge service upon request.
Sidecar Wine Tours
Experience the freedom of riding a motorcycle on the backroads of wine country—without having to get your motorcycle license. Sidecar Wine Tours has the world’s only fleet of tandem sidecars, and invites folks to pair up and hop in. Their safety-first, knowledgeable drivers will squire you through Edna Valley, starting with Wolff Vineyards on Orcutt Road. Feel the wind through your hair and the sun on your face as you ride between three total wineries. The tour lasts 2.5 hours, and all tasting fees are included.
Edna Wine Region History
The earliest known vineyards in Edna Valley were planted as experiments in the 1960s by agricultural researchers. The high quality of wines made from these grapes convinced pioneers Norman Goss and Jack Niven to plant the first commercial vineyards here in 1973—specifically pinot noir and chardonnay, which were well-suited to the cool coastal climate. Several local growers followed suit, and wineries from across California started purchasing Edna Valley fruit. In 1980, the growers organized a petition for American Viticultural Appellation (AVA) status from the U.S. government. The application was approved, and the Edna Valley AVA became the tenth in the U.S. and the first within San Luis Obispo County.
Edna Town Site
This landmark townsite circa 1880 sits at the center of the Edna Valley wine region. A quirky historic village, Old Edna also acts as a hub of information about the region. The historic Edna Hall houses one of Sextant Winery’s tasting rooms, as well as a gourmet delicatessen. For a one-of-a-kind experience, visitors can also schedule a private seated tasting of Sextant Wines in the Old Edna Blacksmith Shop. (Look for one of the Sextant Winery sources, MacGregor Vineyard, just behind the townsite.) Two vacation rentals, Desolina Cottage and Suite Edna, sit 100 feet away from each other. Explore, grab a bite to eat, do a little wine tasting, and unwind after a long day of wine country fun.
Cycling Edna Valley
Fortunately for those who love a good ride and fine wine, Edna Valley is an easily cruise-able wine region—and oh-so-beautiful. For the peace and pleasure of riding in Edna Valley wine country, a multitude of routes await. Try the 20-mile Tiffany Ranch Road Loop, which breezes past Baileyana, Chamisal, Wolff, Claiborne & Churchill, Sextant, Biddle Ranch and Tolosa. On the 30-mile Corbett Canyon Loop, you’ll take in Talley Vineyards, Kynsi Winery, and others. And on the 23-mile Tour d’Avila, cyclists visit downtown tasting rooms Sinor-LaVallee, Alapay, and Peloton as well as Kelsey See Canyon Winery. Of course, if you’d prefer an in-person guide, that’s a terrific option. Ask for a full- or half-day trip through Edna Valley with Central Coast Outdoors—you can even request a picnic lunch.
Wine Country Weddings
With rambling vineyard views and venues from intimate to large-scale, wineries in Edna Valley can be an excellent choice for a wine country wedding. Venues run from rustic to refined, elegant to down-home. Most have lots of space for guests to dine and dance the night away—and it never hurts to have award-winning wine at your fingertips. The area is home to hundreds of experienced florists, cake artists, caterers, officiants, musicians, DJs and more. Not sure you want to say “I do” among the vines? Edna Valley wine country also makes a terrific place to plan a bachelorette party, take a honeymoon, or celebrate an anniversary.
More Tasting Experiences
Wine tasting is a must in the Edna Valley, but stick around and you’ll see: there’s much more to discover. Find your next favorite producer along one of several California Coastal Wine Trails, including the Sparkling Wine Trail and the Pacific Coast Wine Trail. Done with wine? Craft beer is having a major moment here, too, lifting the bar and pioneering new styles and signatures. Try visiting one of the many beer gardens, craft breweries and taverns along our stretch of Highway 1 to experience the movement for yourself. Not to be outdone, the coastal distillery scene is moving and shaking, too, with award-winning gins, whiskies, grappas, vodka, and more. Visiting all of the hot spots could take weeks, but plan it right and you can experience one of the many beer, wine and food festivals that bring multiple producers to one location. These celebrations really showcase the flavor and hospitality at the heart of Highway 1—an experience you don’t want to miss.