The Pacific Coast Wine Trail includes wineries and vineyards along the Pacific Coast Highway in California's Central Coast, including tasting rooms near San Simeon, Cambria, Harmony and Cayucos.
The wine trail was established in January 2013 by several wineries in the northern part of the Central Coast to promote wine tasting there. In California you don't need to head a long way inland to the most famous wine regions in Napa, Sonoma and Paso Robles. There are wineries along the coast in places including Cambria, San Simeon, Harmony and Cayucos.
There are seven wineries along the Pacific Coast Wine Trail, and many of them are family businesses, and have unusual stories to tell. From north to south the wineries are:
The Hearst Ranch Winery
Hearst Castle is, of course, one of the top stops along the Pacific Coast Highway, but across the road from the entrance to Hearst Castle is the tasting room for the Hearst Ranch Winery. You'll find it inside the historic Sebastian's General Store, itself a place worth seeing, built in 1852. In fact the whole story of the winery goes back to when co-founder Jim Saunders took a tour of Hearst Castle! The winery now makes a wide variety of wines, which you can try including chardonnay, rosé, tempranillo, cabernet franc, malbec, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon. The winery is hoping to open a second tasting room so check their website for the update on this: Hearst Ranch Winery.
Black Hand Cellars
At the north end of Cambria's Main Street, this winery's story starts with a honeymoon through the Russian River Valley wine country. The husband-and-wife team behind Black Hand, Tom and Terrie Banish, decided one day they wanted to open their own vineyard. When it came to choosing a name, they remembered stories Tom's great-grandmother told about how her husband used to make good wine, which was well-liked by the local Black Hand Mafia. They now make syrah, grenache and several other wines.
Further south on Main Street in Cambria is the tasting room for Moonstone Cellars. The business goes back to 1998 when Todd Clift and his dad, Muril, began making wine as a hobby. The hobby turned into a business and now Moonstone Cellars has won over 200 awards for their hand-crafted wines. The wines range from light whites to full-bodied reds, but always made in small batches.
Twin Coyotes Winery
Also along Main Street in Cambria is the tasting room for Twin Coyotes. You'll find them at number 2020, as part of The Shops at the Garden Shed. This winery was started by twin brothers and only uses sustainably-farmed grapes. Wines include cabernet sauvignon, merlot, tempranillo and sauvignon blanc, plus a dessert wine.
Stolo Family Winery and Vineyards
Two miles out of Cambria on the Santa Rosa Creek Road, Stolo is a 9-acre vineyard based at a restored late-19th-century farmhouse. The family-run winery has won many awards for its wines, which include chardonnay, pinot noir, syrah, sauvignon blanc, and gewurztraminer.
Harmony Cellars is five miles south of Cambria in, where else, Harmony (population: 18) is keeping a family tradition alive. It was founded in 1989 by Chuck and Kim Mulligan, and Kim's great-grandfather, Giacomo Barloggio, was making wine in his basement in Harmony way back in the late 19th century. Today they make a range of award-winning reds and whites, and a dessert wine.
Fourteen miles south of Cambria and in the northern part of Cayucos is the Cayucos Cellars. The company was started in the 1980s when Cayucos native Stuart Selkirk noticed a neighbor with a truck load of grapes and asked him what he was doing with them. Making wine, was the answer, just as his Swiss ancestors had done in the old days. Soon Stuart was making wine too and he's still running the winery with his wife, their two sons and one daughter. Their wines include chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and syrah.
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Road maps of the Pacific Coast Highway or PCH are essential for anyone planning to drive the trip, and detailed routes are available for free download via these links to the Mile by Mile website.
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Olympic National Park, west of Seattle in the Pacific Northwest, is one of the largest and least developed parks in the United States. The Pacific Coast Highway (U.S. 101) runs right around it.
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Cheap flights to Los Angeles International Airport LAX with JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, Sun Country Airlines, Virgin America, WestJet from San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle.
To help you in choosing your Pacific Coast Highway hotel, guesthouse, inn, bed-and-breakfast, resort, motel or other accommodations, we've prepared our Pacific Coast Highway Hotels Guide. In it we do mini-reviews of accommodations along the Highway, from Seattle to San Diego, through Washington, Oregon, and California.
In all there are over 200 hotels listed, complete with 8 pages of color maps showing the towns where our recommended hotels can be found. There are both alphabetical and geographical indexes, helping you plan your journey.
We also include color photos of all the hotels that are our Personal Favorites. Here's the link to read more about our ebook guide to Pacific Coast Highway hotels.
The 2016 edition of our Hotels Guide is available with maps and color photos (if you have a color reader) in the US Kindle Store for only $4.99 and in the UK Kindle Store and other Kindle stores worldwide at prices based on the US price.
If you want a paperback edition of the 2016 guide with only black and white photos and black-and-white maps, it costs $6.99 at the US Amazon Book Store and £4.99 in the UK Amazon Store.