Close your eyes for a moment and envision Malibu, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego…what do you see? Blue skies, surf, sunshine – maybe even a movie star or two signing autographs near the Hollywood Walk of Fame. But the stars of Southern California’s wine scene share the same blue skies and sunshine of the Golden State’s famous beaches with a more serene lifestyle, where quiet vineyards are comfortably tucked into rolling valleys and foothills. In fact, one San Diego vineyard grows its Cabernet Sauvignon at 1,300 meters (that’s 4,400 feet!) above sea level…the highest vineyard elevation in California.

While celebrity sightings are about as guaranteed in Malibu as good surf is in Ventura, these coastal areas are not only home to countless movie stars, legendary surf spots, art and avocados, but intimate, memorable wineries. Below, we have collected some of the best vineyards and wineries near the Woodland Hills area that will surely bring out your “inner critic.”

Malibu Wine Safaris  allows you to explore the 1,000-acre Saddlerock Ranch and vineyard in Malibu, with a trusty guide and driver team there to lead the adventure on custom-built, open-air safari vehicles. You’ll make stops along the way to take in the scenery, taste local wines and get up close and personal with animals you never knew were Los Angeles residents, too, such as zebras, camels, alpacas, bison and even Stanley the Giraffe – all just 30 minutes from L.A. When it comes to wines, Malibu Wine Safaris has all the selections to make your palette scream for more, from Bisous to Zinfandel. All wines are sourced from local vineyards, featuring the tastes and flavors of the casual wine-making culture that’s alive and well in the Santa Monica Mountains. Malibu Wine Safaris is located at 32111 Mulholland Highway in Malibu.
Triunfo Creek Vineyards is not just a vineyard but an exquisite wedding and event venue on a sprawling, gorgeous private estate. Tucked away off a private road in Malibu Valley against the backdrop of the Santa Monica Mountains, this lush 55-acre estate is part of the Malibu wine trails, conveniently within reach of Los Angeles; the heart of the property boasts a charming, French country farmhouse settled upon a rolling emerald landscape and nestled amongst eucalyptus, California Oak and Sycamore trees. At Triunfo Creek’s famed wine shop, vino aficionados can choose from a bevy of delightful sparkling, white and red wines, and can even join the spectacular Wine Club. The vineyard is located at 2714 Triunfo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills.TR

Rosenthal: The Malibu Estate was created with one goal in mind: To provide enthusiasts with wines of uncommon breeding that delight the senses and connect them to the unique region they’re from, Malibu Newton Canyon. There’s no place quite like Malibu, and its cool, California refinement pervades everything Rosenthal does at the winery. Located on Pacific Coast Highway, Rosenthal is proud to feature the only wine bar and tasting room on the famed Malibu road, with a Wine Bar & Patio featuring a large outdoor patio area that can accommodate private parties with a reservation. Meanwhile, just 10 minutes from Pacific Coast Highway lies Rosenthal’s own private vineyard in Malibu’s Newton Canyon, where you can experience the sprawling 250-acre property surrounded by the beautiful scenery of majestic oak trees and hillside vineyards. Rosenthal: The Malibu Estate is located at 18741 Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu.

Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, named after the historic city of Cornell, California, is located just five minutes from the 101/Kanan interchange in Agoura Hills in the Santa Monica Mountains and offers a celebration of drinking and selling locally-produced wines. Though Cornell no longer makes its own wine, the venue has become renowned as a tasting room, and the only one of its kind in the area that allows guests to explore the majority of wines made in the surrounding mountains. The venue also represents some of the top artists in the area, as well, with more than 50 pieces of art on display and a myriad of crafty and unique treasures at every turn. If you find yourself on this side of town, set some time aside to explore the many offerings presented by Cornell Winery & Tasting Room, located at 29975 Mulholland Highway in Cornell (aka Agoura). CO

Whether you’re a wine connoisseur or just getting your feet wet with regard to the pleasures of vino, you can’t go wrong visiting any of the must-see L.A. wineries and vineyards in this roundup.