Orange County is all about beautiful beaches and warm weather, but it’s also known for the many first-class vintages that come from its vineyards. If you’ve come to Southern California for the wineries, Orange County has some that you shouldn’t miss.
For anybody that knows anything about the Southern California wine scene, the first place they’re probably going to tell you to visit is Orange Coast Winery, in Newport Beach, and we concur. They have regular tastings every day of the week, and several different vintages, including Primitivo, zinfandels, cabernets, and a rose of Malbec. They are always eager to host your next event, or you can go to one of theirs. Their Premiere Club Parties are not to be missed, with chances to sample their rarer vintages.
Laguna Canyon Winery, in Laguna Beach, has some superb offerings, but the best reason for going might be the staff. They’re some of the friendliest and most knowledgeable winemakers in the industry, and they’ll be happy to answer any questions you have; nothing makes them more excited than talking about their passion. Their wines are frequent award winners, and we recommend the 2013 Sonoma Valley Malbec Especial or the 2016 Purple Paws California Chardonnay. They’re both heavenly.
Giracci Vineyards and Farms, in Silverado, is well worth the trip. The property is stunning, with rolling hills, stately trees, and a boundless blue sky. Their wine tastings usually start at $20, which is incredibly reasonable, and if anything strikes your fancy, you’ll have an opportunity to purchase it at a discounted rate. They tend to have more whites on offer than reds, but no problems there. What could be more heavenly than watching the sun sink majestically into the west while strolling arm-in-arm with your date, sipping a chilled sauvignon blanc?
Our final recommendation is the Frisby Cellars Winery, in Lake Forest. Their stated mission is to source the best grapes from the Paso Robles region and use them to produce premium craft wines, and that’s just what they’re doing. They have tastings every Thursday through Sunday, and happy hour Thursdays and Fridays as well. We recommend the 2015 Merlot or the 2014 Cabernet. If you join their club, you’ll get a significant discount on all bottles you purchase, which is worth considering.
That’s it for this round of recommendations. We hope you have fun finding your new favorite vineyard, and always remember to drink responsibly.