Hearst Ranch Winery & Harmony Cellars Tasting Rooms Reviews On Pacific Coast Highway
There’s enough wine in this area to flood Hearst Castle, but you don’t have to go to Paso Robles to enjoy it.
There are wine tasting rooms along Highway 1 near the famous Central California landmark, each in unique locations that provide a different – and very local – drinking experience. There’s one where the horses bite and another where you’ll be tempted to drink until the cows come home.
Hearst Ranch Winery Tasting Room San Simeon, CA
If you’re like me, while touring Hearst Castle and seeing and hearing about its vast ranch you’ll be struck with the thought that “hey, they ought to have a winery!”
Well, they do, and it’s called Hearst Ranch Winery.The wines are not grown on Hearst Ranch at the castle but rather more inland where the weather is warmer, better suited to produce the robust reds that this region is known for among the wine community and wine lovers.
Its tasting room, tho, is located directly across Highway 1 from the castle in the original village of San Simeon. In fact, it’s located in an old general store just down from the San Simeon pier where Hearst used to unload the building material, furniture and world-famous art collection for the castle.
The tasting room is nice and modern in an old general store setting, which makes for a good contrast of old and new (the winery is relatively new, having only been around since 2010). The wines are Chardonnay, Rosé, Tempranillo, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Late Harvest Zinfandel, Red Cuvée, White Cuvée and Barrel Select Cuvée Blends.
A tasting of five very generous portions is $10, or $15 for reserve wines. The room is open daily from 11 a.m.-5 p.m.
There’s food here, too, but not of the usual meat and cheese plate found at many tasting rooms. It’s big burgers, tri-tip sandwiches and fish tacos at the adjacent Sebastians, which has a sign up on a fence by its picnic area warning that the horses there can and may bite you.
Hearst Winery Address: 442 Slo San Simeon Rd, San Simeon, CA
Harmony Cellars Wine Tasting Room Harmony, CA
After you’ve sampled the wines from Hearst, then mooo-ve on over to Harmony Cellars.
Harmony Cellars is located at a turnoff about 20 minutes south of Hearst Castle and 10 minutes north of the small town of Cayucos. You’ll see a small sign on Highway 1 that identifies Harmony and that’s about it; you could drive right by and not even notice it.
If you’re not paying attention, all you’ll see are a few cows grazing in a pasture. Maybe they ought to put a couple of zebras out there.
This is a small family-run winery owned by Chuck and Kim Mulligan that produces just 7,500 cases a year. The wines are excellent, in particular the 2015 Tempranillo and the 2015 Grandpa Barlogio Zinfandel. The location is on property that has been in the family for four generations. It was originally a creamery and that explains the grazing cows on the grounds because Harmony Valley Creamery still operates today.
The tasting room doubles as a gift shop and outside there’s seating by a barn and a couple of small terraces that look out over the cows. Dogs – well behaved and on a leash – are welcome.
The facility is open until 5:30 p.m., and 7 on Fridays in the summertime and yes, it’s so cozy and inviting and the wine so good you’ll be tempted to stay here until – wait for it – the cows come home.
The cost is $10 for seven very generous 2-ounce pours off a menu that has about 10 choices (the cost is $13 if you want to keep the engraved glass). The tasting room’s hours are as follows:
• Fall, Winter & Spring: Open Daily 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
• Summer (June – August): 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
• Extended Summer Hours on Fridays to 7 p.m.
• Harmony Cellars Address: 3255 Harmony Valley Rd, Harmony, CA
Wine Tasting – And Drinking – In Cayucos, CA
If you’re staying at the On The Beach B&B in Cayucos, you’ve got more wine tasting opportunities. For starters, they put a complimentary bottle in your room. Secondly, it liberally pours local wines at its nightly Social Hour, which also includes gourmet nibbles. And local craft beers for you beer lovers.
Also in Cayucos, there is the Full Moon Tasting Room, open Thursdays-Saturdays from 4-10 p.m., and Mondays 2-7 p.m.