The quaint European-style village of Carmel-by-the-Sea, aka Carmel, has long been known for its art galleries and white-sand beach in California’s Central Coast. It’s also a favorite destination for wine lovers, who are drawn to its nice collection of tasting rooms, all within easy walking distance and serving the region’s excellent labels. Before you stroll, stop by the Carmel Visitor Center and pick up a wine tasting map that will feature where to go for delectable pours, all of which are served outdoors. Another way to discover places to sip is through the city’s wine-tasting page.
Start the day with bubbles at Caraccioli Cellars on Dolores Street. Relax at the Spanish-style bar in the chic and contemporary tasting room and sample a well-made sparkling wine from the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation (don’t miss the Brut Rosé). Next, stroll over to Silvestri Vineyards, around the corner on 7th Avenue, where you can taste elegant and complex vintages coaxed from the rocky soil, or “chalk rock,” of its vineyard in the Carmel Valley; other nearby standouts include Albatross Ridge and Talbott Vineyards, both of which specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. One of the more recent additions to the town’s tasting tour is KORi Wines, where its San Saba Syrah, Griva Sauvignon Blanc, and SLH Chardonnay are served, along with breadsticks from Claudio’s Specialty Breads in neighboring Castroville. Finish your tour at De Tierra Vineyards on Mission Street. The tasting room is comfortable and friendly, with a wall-size chalkboard behind the bar announcing the day’s pours. The Russell Estate Chardonnay and Mesa Del Sol Syrah are especially good.