Guide To The Best Wineries In Orange County
There’s almost nothing better than spending an afternoon wine tasting, surrounded by great company, and enjoying beautiful vineyard views. While Orange County, California, may not be the first place that pops into your head when thinking about wine country, there are quite a few tasting rooms and wineries that will not disappoint. Here are some of our favorite wine stops in Orange County.
Pali Wine Co., founded in 2005, started with the intention of sharing burgundy-inspired wines. The company has since grown to three different brands, each offering its own special blend of wine. Each batch of picked grapes is sorted meticulously to ensure their wine’s best quality and ripeness. Like any great winemaker, Pali Wine Co. spends more time on the growth and ripeness of the grapes they use than they do in the brewing step, committing themselves to using the freshest, ripest grapes (and stems, in some cases) for their wines.
Pali sources grapes from highly rated vineyards in Santa Barbara and Sonoma Counties. After carefully crafting their wines, they send them to their tasting rooms across Southern California. Their Orange County location is in the Anaheim Packing District, making for a highly enjoyable evening. They also offer certified organic wines, as well as single vineyard wines.
Founded in 1998, this winery is one of Orange County’s best-kept secrets. Their wine features a blend of some of the best grapes to craft their stellar Meritage wine, and as of 2012, they offer a wine made exclusively with grapes from their vineyard. This outstanding winery is tucked away in the Back Bay of Newport Beach and holds over 1,200 vines and an underground wine cave. NBVW has no public tasting room, but it is the perfect setting for any large event or corporate meeting. If you’re looking for a great way to spice up your next work meeting or team event, contact Newport Beach Vineyard and Winery to schedule a tasting.
The Pazzuoli Vineyard focuses on creating high-quality, small lots of wine. They enjoy participating in every step of the winemaking process to ensure you get the absolute best from their wines. Their Old Town Tustin tasting room offers an Italian food menu, Pazzuoli wines, and their craft beer. Primarily a joint effort between couple Enrico & Daniela, the combination vineyard and restaurant business was founded on their joint love of wine and Italian heritage, leading to their fantastic menu and tasting options.
Their vineyard features vines planted in 2001, with a large selection of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Merlot, Primitivo, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Tannat and Syrah. With a focus on quality over quantity, this vineyard produces small batches of wine (about 1,000 bottles maximum), meaning you can guarantee the quality and care that goes into each bottle.
Giracci Vineyards is located on a beautiful property in Silverado Canyon. From their winery and event space to their equestrian center, everything Giracci offers is top-notch. Their tasting room is by appointment only, but they make it worth your time. They offer a variety of tours and lunch options to make a day at Giracci stand out above the rest. If you want to get a feel for the vineyard, you can book a tour and wine-tasting combination trip to get a real sense of its operations.
With a vineyard chock full of history, their property is home to several 1800s-era buildings, allowing you to get a real feel for the history of winemaking in the region. Since the vineyard’s founding in 2010, Giracci Vineyards & Farms has gone on to create some award-winning wines as a testament to their love of winemaking.
Cowboy Canyon Winery is another outstanding vineyard located in the hills of Silverado Canyon. Their tasting room breaks away from the typical Southern California style and is a full country experience. Enjoy your weekend wine tasting in the cozy indoor-outdoor facility, listening to country music, and chatting with the owners.
With 30 years of wine-making excellence at its heart, this winery stands out, not just because it’s in the middle of a working horse ranch! If you’re looking for classy wine with a touch of down-to-earth vibes and a lot of cowpoke spirit, you must visit Cowboy Canyon Winery.
Cowboy Canyon Winery sources some of its best grapes from outside of the vineyard since, as they put it, there’s only so much of the best stuff to go around each harvest—their commitment to using only the best of the best shows in the end product. With a focus on small-batch winemaking, every sip of Cowboy Canyon Winery wine has an attention to detail you can’t find anywhere else.
Bellante Winery has been making small lots of hand-crafted wines from Santa Barbara County vineyards since 2000. When asked how he makes their signature wine, owner Chuck Bellante will likely respond, “I am a chemical engineer.” This sense of humor underlines a commitment to family and tradition. The Bellante Family Winery logo pays homage to a family realty company founded in 1925 and to Bellante’s education.
Their tasting room is a cozy indoor-outdoor space in Mission Viejo and is a great spot to gather on the weekends. They even waive their tasting fee when you purchase two bottles of wine.
Since 2008, Frisby Cellars has produced award-winning wines using grapes from distinguished Paso Robles vineyards. All their wines are barrel-aged, blended, and bottled at their Lake Forest location. They have two amazing tasting rooms in Orange County, one in Lake Forest and another open seven days a week in Dana Point.
Owner and winemaker Jack Frisby helps produce over 2,000 cases of wine every season, using only the best grapes from premium vineyards. When not making wine, Frisby works as a Fire Captain and a Paramedic for Orange County. Frisby Cellars has the unique distinction of offering wine and beer from the same company, making them one of the top wineries in Orange County and one of the premier breweries.
For a date night out to hosting a large dinner, Laguna Canyon is an amazing setting for all of your needs. Laguna Canyon Winery sources grapes from Napa and Sonoma Valley vineyards and finishes processing their wine in Laguna Canyon. Spend the afternoon wine tasting or sign up for their incredible monthly dinners; you will not be disappointed.
Founded by award-winning vintner J.J. Huber, this winery combines a Canadian urban winery sensibility with traditional Italian winemaking for a unique blend of cultures and tastes that can be felt in Laguna Canyon Winery’s expressive wines. With his first vineyard established in 1993, Huber brings years of experience to each bottle of boutique wine from Laguna Canyon Winery, and you can feel it with each sip.
A Stone’s Throw Winery was brought back to life by the owners of Giracci Vineyards. The historic farmhouse sits on 2.6 acres and is a beautiful property for weddings & events. It keeps the history of San Juan Capistrano alive with rows of Mission Vines, originally brought to the area by Father Serra. Stop by for a relaxing afternoon, or check their monthly event calendar when you want something to do.
Originally established in 2002, this winery got new life in 2016 through a partnership with Giracci Vineyards. The property was lovingly brought back to life through hard work, determination, and a love of winemaking that shows when you visit the property. When you visit, be sure to explore the property, as it’s a gorgeous piece of land that deserves admiration.
Founded by Kyle and Sylvia Franson, this combination of winery and restaurant seeks to show the average visitors the owner’s love of wine and food. If you’ve ever enjoyed a glass of wine with dinner, you’ll fall head over heels for this tailor-made menu that pairs with the winery’s finest wines. Rancho Capistrano Winery has two beautiful tasting rooms in South Orange County and has created over 40 different wines from some of the finest grape-growing regions in the world. Aside from their incredible wine, they offer full menus at both locations.
Starting their wine journey in 2016, the McClain family set out to found McClain Cellars. Their research involved flying to different areas of the world to research soil, grape type, and varieties of wine, leading to their incredible brand today. At the end of their journey, they settled in California, leading to their incredible winery today. Their winery has a modern feel, with a tasting room that’s as sleek and stylish as the wines they make. Their winery features a 16-foot glass garage door, skylights, a shaded patio, and plenty of stellar wines.
Founded in 2011, Orange Coast Winery sources grapes from Temecula Valley, Paso Robles, and Lodi, California. Their winemaking philosophy involves selecting some of the finest grapes from these vineyards and incorporating them into their wines. Thanks to hands-on winery management and grape selection, Orange Coast Winery produces some of the finest wines in Newport Beach. They offer a wine tasting at their location featuring some of their best wines, so be sure to schedule a tasting with them the next time you head to Newport Beach.
Have no fear if you can’t make it north to Napa or even spend the day trekking to Temecula; Orange County has all you need to taste some spectacular, award-winning wines! Which will you visit first? Happy Tasting!