Top 7 Wineries to Visit in Carmel Valley Village

Folktale Winery in Carmel Valley Village

Don’t get me wrong: I love Napa and Sonoma. However, California is home to hundreds of wineries across the state and many other wine regions you can explore.

In fact, I prefer going to the smaller wine regions because you can most often get away with walking into wineries for a tasting without a reservation, and the tastings are usually more budget-friendly. (I love you, Napa, but you are a production!)

The Monterey AVA is one wine region I’ve grown to love over the past few years. It’s located on the Central Coast of California and has over 150 vineyards. Within the Monterey AVA, you can visit the Carmel Valley Village, which has several tasting rooms along the main road. I love wine tasting here because the tasting rooms are super close to one another — you can try many different wines in a few hours. 

If you’re planning a trip to the Central Coast of California in the near future, here are the top 7 wineries to visit in Carmel Valley Village.

Pelio Estate Wine in Carmel Valley Village

Top 7 Wineries to Visit in Carmel Valley Village

Carmel Valley Village: Getting There & Getting Around

Carmel Valley Village is about a 25-minute drive from Monterey and a 15-minute drive from Carmel-by-the-Sea. You will need a car or a driver to get there, and I would avoid relying on Uber or Lyft. As always, please drive responsibly and consider having a designated driver in your party or hiring a driver for the day.

When you get to the Carmel Valley Village, many tasting rooms are located on Carmel Valley Road. They’re all fairly close together, so don’t expect more than 5 minutes of travel time between each tasting room.

P.S. — If you’re wine tasting on a Sunday, stop by the local Farmer’s Market on the way to the wineries, which is open from 10 AM-2 PM. This Farmers Market is open year-round, with incredible produce, food trucks, and local vendors to shop.

Pasonage Winery Carmel Valley Village

Wine tasting at the Holman Ranch Tasting Room in Carmel Valley Village
Wine tasting at the Holman Ranch Tasting Room

Pelio Estate Wines Tasting Room in Carmel Valley Village

Top 7 Wineries to Visit in Carmel Valley Village

Holman Ranch Tasting Room

This winery absolutely blew me away, so much so that I signed up for their wine club after a couple of sips of their wine.

We wanted to visit their vineyard but couldn’t get a reservation, so we stopped by their tasting room to at least try the wines. There’s plenty of indoor and outdoor seating here, and it was a chic yet relaxed spot to do a tasting. I loved the selection of Pinot Noirs they had — the range between vintages was absolutely delightful, and you will fall in love with at least one of the Pinots they offer.

Pelio Estate

If you’ve ever wanted to visit a winery decorated just as beautifully as Restoration Hardware and offers incredible wines, Pelio Estate Wines is right up your alley.

This winery, founded by two sisters, Lindsey and Shelby Pelio, opened in 2023. They offer an exquisite Chardonnay, Rosé, and Pinot Noir collection. If you don’t think you’re a Chardonnay or Pinot Noir fan, taste their selection—these wines are complex and have an incredible range. I can’t wait for my next visit, and I think this is the next wine club I want to sign up for.

P.S. – reservations are recommended, but we were accommodated as walk-ins!

Corral Wine Co.

Corral Wine Co.’s slogan is “We aren’t fancy; we just make good wine.” Despite this, I still found their tasting room charming, and I fell in love with the wine here.

I loved that you could find some varietals here outside the traditional Chardonnay and Pinot that the region is known for — from Sauvignon Blanc to Petite Sirah. Their family-owned winery uses the best grapes from all up and down the Central Coast of California, and if you book a reservation in advance, you can get half off of two tastings (walk-ins are still welcome, though!)

Rombi Wine

When my partner and I visited Rombi Wine for the first time a few years ago, before our big move to California, we knew we had to bring back some of their wines for our winemaker friends to try. 

If you can find a 2016 vintage from Rombi, try it. This was the year that the Soberanes Fire ravaged the valley. Most winemakers opted to take the loss, but not Rombi. They proceeded with their harvest, and as a result, the wines had a spectacular, smokey taste. I know this sounds odd, but give it a try. I know it’s not for everyone, but I loved it! 

Parsonage Winery Tasting Room

Parsonage Winery Tasting Room was hands down the coziest tasting room we visited. It’s part art gallery, part tasting room, and overall, a charming spot in Carmel Valley Village.

It’s a boutique, family-run winery that produces big, bold reds on a small scale, so if you’re a white wine fan, this might not be your favorite winery. One of the winery owners is an acclaimed, self-taught textile artist, and you can see her work both in the tasting room and on the bottle labels.

Bernardus Winery

I usually carefully research what wineries I go to ahead of time, but I saw Bernardus, and it looked cute. I decided, why not? I ended up loving it and had a blast at their tasting room.

Bernardus grows mainly Bordeaux varietals, and its wine is award-winning. This winery offers an outstanding balance of white and red wines, making it ideal for a group visit. Everyone in your party is bound to find a wine that they love. Right down the road, they also have the Bernardus Lodge and Spa, which I would highly recommend visiting for a spa treatment and a meal at Lucia.

Folktale Winery

I might be a grown adult but still love a good fairy tale. And if you’ve ever wanted to feel like a Disney Princess while wine tasting, Folktale Winery is the spot for you.

The best thing about Folktale is the ambiance. This is one of the bigger tasting rooms in Carmel Valley Village, and you can enjoy live music on the weekends, incredible food, and a lively atmosphere. It’s a great place to visit either with your family or a group of friends.

Have you ever gone wine tasting in Carmel Valley Village? Let me know in the comments below!

Photos by Tom McGovern

Leave a Comment

2 Comments

  1. Christine wrote:

    Thank you for all of the recs, I’ll have to check some of these wineries out! And Monterey is seriously one of the most beautiful areas to visit.

    Posted 8.15.22 Reply
    • Alicia wrote:

      I will never get over how beautiful Monterey is!!

      Posted 8.17.22 Reply