December is a great time of year to be touring the wine country. The harvest activities are over and most of the wines have finished their fermentation. The pace has slowed and the tasting rooms are ready for visitors. And with many wineries sporting gift shops, this can be an opportunity to not just taste wine, but to find some unique gift items for the holidays.
Frequently wineries and tasting rooms get all gussied up for the holidays. Here is a rundown of some stops you might consider along the Central Coast.
Locally, a few wineries always do it right. Morovino in Avila Beach is always a memorable stop. Let Andrea or David walk you through their wines and keep you entertained as well. They have good specials (Krazy Kase Sale) this time of year and if you're in town in mid-December stop by during their Holiday Open House on December 11th.
Also, Salisbury Vineyards has some great wine along with some beautiful fine art in the old 1907 schoolhouse near Avila Beach. Owner John Salisbury farms 51 acres on a hillside just a mile or two from the beach. They make a nice Syrah and a few special Pinot Noirs. Try their popular Devil Dog Red for an affordable tasty treat.
Talley Vineyards is also worth a stop due to their fine range of wines, excellent visitor facilities, special holiday events and great people. In addition to a Cabernet tasting event on December 11th they will be hosting a Holiday Celebration on the 17th. Discounted tastings, light appetizers, holiday gift offerings and an extra 5% off case and ½ case pricing will be available for all wines.
If you are heading north seek out Harmony Cellars north of Cayucos in the little berg of Harmony. The winery sits up on the side of the mountain and has a wonderful gift shop with some very unique gift items and wine accessories. They will be offering complimentary mulled wine and holiday cookies on Saturday and Sunday throughout the month of December. Owners Chuck and Kim Mulligan created a winery and make lots of award winning wines. Their idyllic country setting includes a beautiful redwood winery, fully stocked gift shop, gardens and nice picnic areas.
If you like small wineries and big beautiful wines check out Autry Cellars in San Luis Obispo. Known for killer Tempranillo, Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Sangiovese this 900 case "urban winey" is just out of town on Capitolio Way. No gift shop and you may be tasting on top of a barrel, but Steve Autry offers a selection of a dozen hand made artisan wines-all at 20% off.
With over two dozen tasting rooms and wineries in the area you should have plenty of destinations to choose from during this holiday season. Cheers!
Holiday Wine Country Touring By Barrie Cleveland