Visiting the San Luis Obispo wineries in Edna Valley is a great time, sampling delicious wines that are crisp and delightful to the palate. The Edna Valley wineries can be found between volcanic rolling hills and the nearby Pacific Ocean making it a unique wine tasting destination.
There might not be as many wineries in San Luis Obispo as in other wine regions of California but that doesn’t mean you should overlook them.
Even if you are from California, you may not be familiar with the SLO wineries and the top wines they produce. But don’t worry, use this guide to discover the best wineries in Edna Valley in planning your next wine tasting getaway!
Note: San Luis Obispo is commonly referred to by the letters SLO.
Where Is San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley?
For those that have never visited San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo is located on California’s Central Coast minutes away from the Pacific Ocean.
If you are looking at a map, San Luis Obispo is pretty much in the middle between Los Angeles and San Francisco making it a great weekend escape.
Edna Valley is located in San Luis Obispo at the southern part of SLO bordering Arroyo Grande.
There are approximately 20 wineries in Edna Valley covering 22,000 acres of farms and vineyards.
Tip: For those that want to do additional wine tasting after experiencing Edna Valley, explore 9 Best Wineries in Paso Robles, California!
How To Get To San Luis Obispo
As previously mentioned, you can either drive from Los Angeles or San Francisco taking a scenic road trip to San Luis Obispo.
Or if you would like to fly directly into San Luis Obispo, the airport is:
San Luis Obispo County Regional Airport (SBP)
But if you are looking for the best flight deals and options, consider flying into LA or SF.
The best airports to fly into are:
Los Angeles International Airport (LAX)
Hollywood Burbank Airport (BUR)
Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC)
San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
Once you land, get your rental car and be on your way! You do need a rental car if you don’t have your own to get to San Luis Obispo and see the surrounding area. Drive times are roughly:
Paso Robles – 30 minutes or 28 miles
San Diego – 5.5 hours or 314 miles (5 if coming from North County SD).
Los Angeles – 3.0 to 3.5 hours or 200 miles
San Jose – 3.0 hours or 188 miles
San Francisco – 3.0 to 3.5 hours or 220 miles
Where To Stay In San Luis Obispo
San Luis Obispo has a very cute downtown area that is the perfect place to stay and use as your base to explore the nearby Edna Valley wineries.
The top places to stay in San Luis Obispo are:
Hotel Cerro – in downtown SLO
Hotel San Luis Obispo – in downtown SLO
Granada Hotel & Bistro – in downtown SLO
San Luis Creek Lodge – a short walk from downtown SLO
Madonna Inn – a few minutes from downtown with each room having an over-the-top themed décor.
What Types Of Edna Valley Wines Can I Try?
Each wine region is known for specializing in specific grape varietals and wine tasting in San Luis Obispo is no different.
Due to its close proximity to the ocean (5.0-miles), Enda Valley is the coolest wine region in California.
The cool sea breeze makes it the ideal climate for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir varietals.
Although you are most likely to sip Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, you may also try Riesling, Viognier, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah wines too.
The soil in Edna Valley is volcanic mixed with clay, shale, and sand from the nearby coast.
Winemaking in this region has been done since the 1800s by the local Franciscans of Mission San Luis Obispo.
The vineyards you know today started planting in the 1970s with tasting rooms in Edna Valley opening up in the 1990s.
On top of serving excellent wines, each Edna Valley winery listed has an idyllic setting with the perfect ambiance for a relaxing day of wine tasting!
And for those that want to make their passion for wine into a career, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo has three majors centered on the wine industry. If only they had had these majors when I went there…
Note: As you visit the various SLO wineries, keep your eye out for Islay Hill. Islay Hill is the last volcanic hill or cone in the chain of Nine Sisters starting in Morro Bay.
San Luis Obispo Wine Tours
San Luis Obispo Winery Tour – Prefer not driving as you taste your way through the best wineries in Edna Valley? You can pick which wineries you wish to visit with transportation!
Central Coast Tour – If you want to try a little wine tasting in combination with seeing other top attractions in the area, book this customized tour!
Map Of San Luis Obispo Wineries
Best SLO Wineries To Visit In Edna Valley
1. Tolosa Winery
In 1988, Robin Baggett, Bob Schiebelhut, and Jim Efird founded Tolosa Winery with their knowledge of the area and a passion for making good wine.
For those that are familiar with wineries in Napa, Robin and his wife Michelle Baggett opened Alpha Omega in 2006. It is an exceptional winery that is worth a stop!
Tolosa Vineyards has been serving exceptional wines to the public since 1998 and is known for its superb Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
I personally don’t like Chardonnay but Tolosa has converted me. I was pleasantly shocked to enjoy their Chardonnay’s with my favorite, the Pure Chardonnay.
Until this tasting, I had never understood why I don’t like most Chardonnay and learned that the Pure Chardonnay is fermented and aged in a stainless steel tank.
Most Chardonnay’s you will try are aged in oak barrels. The Pure Chardonnay in contrast truly tastes pure with a crisp and smooth finish that is perfect on a hot day.
Tolosa has a variety of Pinot Noir wines to try with the 1772 series a popular choice. 1772 series of wines refers to the year that the Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa was founded.
Of the Pinot Noir wines, I recommend trying the 1772 Stone Lion Pinot Noir and the Gunsalus Pinot Noir.
Although they have an indoor tasting room, opt for the beautiful outdoor tasting patio with rows of grapes in the distance for an idyllic setting.
Note: The tasting fee is waived if you join the wine club.
Hours: Open daily from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm. Reservations are required in advance.
2. Edna Valley Vineyard
Recognized as one of the top San Luis Obispo wineries and one of the most established in the valley.
Edna Valley Vineyards was founded by vineyard developer Jack Niven who started growing grapes in 1980. Since then, Edna Valley Vineyard was sold to Gallo in 2011.
The tasting room has a stunning view of the vineyard and Edna Valley through its large windows that span the entire side of the building. It really is a breathtaking view to sip incredible wines!
If the weather is nice, opt to take your wine outside and kick back in one of the chairs on the grass with the same epic views.
The wine options will focus on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir but you may taste a Sauvignon Blanc, a Meritage, or a delicious red blend.
The Chardonnay is quite good with hints of peach and apple adding to its crisp flavor. The Chardonnay grape was the first varietal planted and their focus from the start.
As I am partial to red wines, my favorites are the Winemaker Series Pinot Noir, the Reserve Pinot Noir, and the Winemaker Series Meritage. All excellent wines!
Notes: There are cheese and charcuterie boards for purchase but subject to availability. If you join the wine club, your tasting is waived.
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Reservations are required in advance.
3. Biddle Ranch Vineyard
Biddle Ranch Vineyard is one of the newest wineries on this list opening its doors in 2012.
The tasting room is set in a luxury white barn house that makes for a great photo backdrop with rows of grapes beyond.
The outdoor patio is very inviting with comfy chairs and tables beneath olive trees that sway whimsically in the breeze.
For those that enjoy a chilled white wine, sample a Pinot Grigio or Chardonnay although I preferred the Chardonnay for its fruity aromas and great taste.
Coming in the summer of 2022, Biddle Ranch will be introducing a Rosé to the mix!
The top reds to sip are Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Evviva, and Akubra. Akubra is a red blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, and Merlot that is quite pleasing.
The name Akubra is Australian for “cattlemen’s hat” and pays homage to Australia where winemaker Ryan Deovlet learned his craft before coming back to California.
And if you are planning a party or wedding at Biddle Ranch or just wish to stay at a winery, there is a rustic yet modern Vineyard House that sleeps 12!
Notes: Tasting fee waived with a purchase of 2 bottles. You can buy a delicious cheese and charcuterie box sourced with local cheeses, meats, nuts, and more (subject to availability).
Hours: Open Thursday – Monday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday. Reservations are required and can be made on the Open Table app.
4. Baileyana Vineyard
Visiting Baileyana Vineyard feels like you have stepped back in time as the tasting room is in a historic 1909 schoolhouse.
Known as Independence Schoolhouse, this quaint tasting room has a cheery vibe with its bright yellow exterior on a slight hill that allows for excellent views.
On a nice day, grab a chair on one of the patios and take in Islay Hill and the valley of Edna Valley.
Baileyana got its name from the Acacia Baileyana trees that can be found along the Central Coast of California.
This charming winery has been making wines in Edna Valley for over 35 years and is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
You will have the opportunity to try a larger assortment of wines not only from Baileyana but from their sister wineries, Tangent, True Myth, and Zocker.
In Baileyana’s selection of wines, you can sample grape varietals of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah.
From Tangent, try an Albarino or Sauvignon Blanc and from True Myth choose from a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a collection of different red blends.
I enjoyed all the wines I drank but the Albarino (white) was my favorite especially as it was on a warm day.
On weekends you might get the opportunity to listen to live music and get a bite to eat at a food truck!
Note: Tasting fee waived with a $65 purchase of wine.
Hours: Open daily from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. Reservations are recommended.
5. Chamisal Vineyards
Chamisal Vineyards is located in a picturesque setting with stunning views of the vineyard and Edna Valley. And it was the first vineyard to plant grapes in the valley back in 1973.
As with all the San Luis Obispo wineries listed, Chamisal focuses on producing stellar Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines.
Covering 82 acres and three different soil types, Chamisal prides itself on using sustainable practices in its vineyard operations.
Although I liked both, between the Estate Chardonnay and Califa Chardonnay, I preferred the Estate Chardonnay a little more.
Each Pinot Noir is good with the Estate Pinot Noir winning my vote. I also enjoyed sipping the Cinq a Sept which is a red Grenache blend.
Notes: The wine tasting fee is waived with a purchase of 2 bottles.
Tips: If you have a love for Rosé, head next door to Chamisal’s sister winery at Malene Wines. You can sip various Rosé from a vintage airstream trailer (seasonal)!
And if you are wine tasting in Oregon’s Willamette Valley stop in at Archery Summit. It is part of the same wine group and one of my favorites for Pinot Noir!
Hours: Open Wednesday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, Thursday – Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm, and closed on Monday & Tuesday. Reservations are required in advance.
Tips For Wine Tasting In San Luis Obispo
- It is recommended to make a reservation for a tasting as most wineries require it.
- Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up and keep you hydrated all day!
- All of these wineries are within minutes from each other in Edna Valley.
- Some wineries offer food for sale, but if the weather is nice bring your own lunch and have a picnic at wineries that allow it.
- Bring sunscreen as it can get sunny and hot, especially in the summer months.
- If you are new to wine tasting ask questions! That way you can learn what wines you may enjoy the most.
- Just in case you spill wine, opt for wearing darker-colored clothes that won’t show!
- If you plan to visit many wineries, consider spitting out or only taking a sip. Don’t feel the need to finish a wine you don’t like. And that way you can last longer…
- Hold your wine glass by the stem. If you hold it by the round bowl part of the glass, the warmth of your body may alter the taste.
- Almost all the wineries don’t have mass distribution. So, if you try a wine you love, buy it!
- Most wineries offer wine by the glass or bottle in case you don’t want to try an assortment.
FAQ For Visiting SLO Wineries
What Wine Is San Luis Obispo Known For?
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are the two most common varietals of wine that you will find in San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley.
You may sample Viognier, Riesling, Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and red blend wines too.
When Is The Best Time To Visit?
Any time of the year is ideal for wine tasting in San Luis Obispo’s Edna Valley. With its location near the coast, temperatures don’t vary too much throughout the year.
But if you are looking to enjoy the outdoor patios and great weather, the spring through fall months are best.
And don’t discount the winter months as there are plenty of great days even though this is the rainier season.
Is Food Served At Any Of The Wineries?
There are no restaurants on-site for any of the wineries listed. But most sell cheese and charcuterie boards/boxes and light snacks.
Enjoy wine tasting at the best San Luis Obispo wineries!
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