Posts Tagged ‘wine tasting’
An Exciting Wine Tour in Los Angeles
We have more wineries in and close to Los Angeles than movie studios. Yes, that’s hard to believe and a terrific discovery for wine lovers. In fact, we can maintain our “custom” tour philosophy – every tour is different and tailored specifically for our guests with changes to our route and itinerary made along the way – and pick and choose from among a large number of fabulous wine tasting destinations. One special place we like to go is up into the Santa Monica Mountains and to the Cornell Winery and Tasting Room. With “winery” in quotes, the establishment is now dedicated to the presentation of locally produced wines of which there are many. It is a super wine tasting room with a lot of local history in an informal setting. It is low key like the businesses all around are and a fine place for a relaxed drink for Malibu celebrities looking for a quiet escape from the entertainment industry and paparazzi. If our guests are inspired by a particular winery’s product we can head over to that winery afterwards. Wine connoisseurs will not be disappointed. The beauty of this wine adventure staying local is that we can visit more locations in a shorter amount of time. If time is what our guests have and they fondly remember the novel or film SIDEWAYS, we can drive (or fly) up to the Santa Ynez Valley and spend the day (or days) in a fabulous wine region that rivals Napa-Sonoma in many ways.
A Giraffe on Our Wine Tasting Tour in Malibu
Meet Stanley. He just one of the happy folk that we get to visit when we take our Los Angeles private tour on a wine tasting expedition to one of our favorite Malibu wineries, Malibu Family Wines. We know he hears us coming because we like to fly in on one of our luxury helicopters and land in his back yard. He does not seem to mind unless we disturb his kickball exercise. We think he understands that despite the disturbance there will be some fawning attention and food treats to come. Smart animals, giraffes are. Smart people our guests are who allow us to bring them up here into the Santa Monica Mountains above the Pacific Ocean to sample some extraordinary local wines. We fill up the picnic table with a fine gourmet lunch to accompany the wine and encourage them to explore the grounds filled with movie props and a happy and friendly menagerie of beasts. Of course, there are vineyards to marvel at on this relaxed wine expedition so close to the sprawling metropolis that is Los Angeles.
True Taste of Denmark for Our Private Tour from Los Angeles
A group of Danish settlers purchased a Mexican land grant in the Santa Ynez Valley back in 1911 and Solvang was officially a California town. Farming in the verdant valley supported the population and the town grew in size. Construction of the buildings, as can be seen in this tour photograph, emulated designs from the “old country” and a wonderful destination for visitors from all over the world came to be. We arrive in Solvang because many of our wine tours head to this area renowned (almost as notable as the Napa Valley) for its myriad appellations of fine wines. Our SIDEWAYS tour visits many of the wineries noted in the book and movie. However, a wonderful part of any tour to this area just north of Santa Barbara (and about 140 miles from Los Angeles) is a look around Solvang. Of course there are lots of wine stores but even better are the Danish bakeries. We always love directing our guests to try what we consider to be the best baked good there is, æbleskivers. Somewhere between a pancake and popover this baked doughball is served with jam or honey. Around this time of year one should enjoy their æbleskiver with a glass of gløgg (mulled wine). We can walk around to see a replica of the famed mermaid statue from Copenhagen and tributes to Hans Christian Anderson. Very close by is the Mission Santa Inés for our guests who might be traveling the mission trail through California. For our guests wanting to spend a day sightseeing out of Los Angeles we will always suggest a private tour of the Santa Ynez Valley for the beauty, the history, the wine and the æbleskivers.
This Private Tour is Private at the Destination
We have this extraordinary luxurious estate all to ourselves for an exclusive wine tasting as we watch the sun set. The drive itself from Los Angeles along the Pacific Coast Highway (“PCH”) and then up through the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu itself is amazing, jawdropping to our private tour guests visiting Southern California from their far away home. Our staff is split trying to decide if the drive is more awesome than flying by helicopter to Malibu Rocky Oaks, a mountaintop vineyard and estate. Either way, getting here is an adventure but only part of the fun.
Spreading out into the living areas of this Tuscan-style home, enjoying the wide open decks that overlook the vineyards and steep hillsides all around, we sample wines made from the grapes growing all around us and soak in the golden colors drenching the landscape as the sky darkens. The beauty of the region is inspirational. We are blessed to have access to this one-of-a-kind destination and are delighted to share it with our guests who love wine, fine weather and the world of Los Angeles.
Wineries Abound in Los Angeles for Our Private Tour
Our private tour guests enjoying a visit to Los Angeles can spend time with us exploring many, if not all, of the local wineries. Did you know there is a vineyard right next to the Hollywood Sign? We point that one out and talk about it when we head up to see the big white landmark overlooking the Los Angeles basin but it, sadly, is not a public facility. Luckily there are many more places that we can go from downtown L.A. to Malibu where local wine is not only provided it is celebrated. Let us do the driving and entertain you with stories of Hollywood and celebrities (we know them all) as we visit as many local wineries for some wine tasting as you want. A regular stop on our custom luxury wine tour is the Cornell Winery up in the part of the Santa Monica Mountains used by Hollywood over the years to film westerns and where the M.A.S.H. exterior set was located. The drive along Mulholland Highway is extraordinary as it winds through the mountains and up along the ridge crests to give you incredible views of the Los Angeles basin and San Fernando Valley as well as beautiful homes and elegant ranches. We encourage our guests to purchase bottles of those vintages that they like and add to their collection. We have plenty of room in our vehicles to get your new stock back to the hotel.
Add Luxury Swimming to Luxury Private Tour
Maybe swimming in the Pacific Ocean is not special enough for our guests on a private tour around Los Angeles. The beaches are very crowded and very hot lately in these dog days of summer. The swimming pool at their hotel is also crowded. What do we suggest to remedy the heat of July and August while out sightseeing? We suggest that we hurry up to Malibu Rocky Oaks for a private tour of a winery and estate so elegant and unique that film production companies are lining up to use the facility for filming. This is luxury at its best. Our guests can have exclusive access to the residence after a private tour of the vineyards and this Tuscan-inspired home. A private chef will prepare lunch and the repast can be served while enjoying the infinity pool that overlooks the Santa Monica Mountains above Malibu. We do not even have to drive up into the mountains because the estate has its own helipad. The ocean is close enough that occasional winds bring a salty breeze over the pool. Wine, lunch, cool water…this is the ultimate in luxury touring and relaxation. Speaking of which, should we have a masseuse awaiting you after your swim?
A Tasty Private Tour of the Santa Ynez Valley
From a winery in downtown Los Angeles to numerous fine tasting rooms in nearby Malibu we can also drive, or fly in a luxury helicopter, south to the Temecula wine region or north to the Santa Ynez Valley near Santa Barbara. That is a lot of wine tasting choices for our guests to ponder. We find that most often we are planning visits to Malibu and Santa Ynez. We make these tours often enough to specify them on our website. If our guests have a day to spend (or two) we like to suggest a SIDEWAYS tour up north to revisit the wineries of the novel, film and play. Like the Napa Valley, there are too many superb wineries to visit them all (though we like to try) so we plan our visit as we travel based on the inclinations of our guests. We can tell which wines they will most enjoy just by them telling us which wines they like to drink at home. And then we will include some experimentation to keep the trip interesting. From grapes in the fields to aging barrels in the cellars to bottles on the shelf – the entire life cycle of wine – each winery has stories to tell about themselves and about the wine industry in California, in particular this incredible valley in the southern part of the state. The Gainey Vineyard (top photo) is always a fun stop that pleases our wine loving guests. Producing fine California wine for more than 30 years the winery is lively and the tastings divine. We also are likely to stop at the Firestone Vineyards which are so beautiful you want to sip your wine and just look out at the vines all day. But there are more places to visit, more wines to sample and buy, and let’s not forget a good lunch at one of many fantastic restaurants that we know – with wine, of course.
Our Private Tour “Getaway” to a Malibu Winery
We call it Urban Escape. You would not think that so many people traveling to Los Angeles, 500 square miles of city for 5 million people, would then be eager to fly to a nearby oasis to sip fine wine and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch. This is a very popular private Los Angeles tour for us all through the year and especially in the summer. We now have two different Malibu wineries with helicopter landing facilities so that we can quickly get to our destination and spend more time enjoying the pleasant surrounds. One of these wonderful wineries has a quiet backyard area for our guests to enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch and sample the fruit of the vines that grow on the hillsides. There is also a collection of old cars and farm equipment and a menagerie of very approachable beasts that make this agricultural oasis seem so far away from the nearby bustling metropolis of Los Angeles. Our newest landing zone for an Urban Escape adventure tour is a castle on a hill. This private estate can be home to our guests for a short period of time to enjoy whatever amenities they can dream of – a private chef cooked meal, entertainment, massages, swimming. There is always, of course, a chance to enjoy the wines of this Tuscany-style palace in the mountains where movie stars party and Hollywood frequently films. Enjoy a VIP luxury tour of very local vineyards here in Los Angeles in grand style and fly with us on an Urban Escape!
Our Private Wine Tour Goes Sideways
We call our private wine tour from Los Angeles to the Santa Ynez Valley the Sideways tour for a couple of reasons. We were already traveling north from the city to that beautiful valley above Santa Barbara to visit wineries and sample the extraordinary wines when the movie was released. The popularity of the film greatly increased interest in our private wine tour so we began retracing the steps of Miles and Jack on their buddy road trip through the vineyards. We casually referred to the tour as our Sideways tour in response to requests from our guests. Because all of our tours are custom tours we would offer our guests choices of which wine tasting rooms to visit and let them decide. Some were actual film locations (like Kalyra Winery where these photos were taken), some were simply mentioned in the film and others were just special wineries that we had developed a passion for over the many visits we made to the area. Several years later we met Rex Pickett, the author of the novel, at the opening of the theatrical incarnation of his story. He offered to join us on tours if our guests requested and tell tales of wine and movies and become our sommelier for the tour. That’s pretty special. After all, we have been known to have Hollywood actors and writers ride with us through Los Angeles when our guests expressed an interest in learning about their jobs in person. A writer of Rex’s stature was a perfect addition to our Sideways tour.
Our Sideways Wine Tour Enjoys Fruit of the Vine
Los Angeles boasts a number of local vineyards and wineries so we can please our wine loving private tour guests and visit the immediate area for wine tasting on a sightseeing tour. However, we can also pull out all the stops and take our custom tour VIP guests up to the Santa Ynez Valley north of Santa Barbara and retrace the route of the the characters of Rex Pickett‘s wonderful book (and Alexander Payne‘s award winning film) Sideways. As we are on a custom tour we can pull up to the signposts at the head of the valley and decide from there which wineries to visit as we sample the vintages across the valley floor. The tour is always open ended so we can visit as many tasting rooms as our guests desire. We also know some special dining rooms if a lunch or dinner stop is requested. We have plenty of room in our luxury SUVs for wine purchases. The drive up to the Santa Ynez Valley is beautiful with the Pacific Ocean on one side and the coastal mountains on the other. Lake Cachuma above Santa Barbara is as blue as the sky. Speaking of sky, we do not have to drive to this fabulous wine region. We have luxury twin-engine helicopters at our disposal to get us there in a jiffy. Of course, we will drive once there but flying means more time for wine tasting.