10 Best California Wineries with a View

La Encantada Vineyard at Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards. Photo courtesy Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
By Kristine Hansen

Whether it's fog-laced redwoods on the Sonoma Coast, manicured gardens near Santa Barbara, or one of the best views of Los Angeles, you'll find picturesque landscapes at each of these California wineries.

From Southern California to Northern California, you'll want to savor the views long after your glass is empty. It's always free to look; tasting fees are usually waived if you purchase a bottle of wine.

Photo Caption: La Encantada Vineyard at Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards. Courtesy Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
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Melville Winery & Vineyards in Lompoc, California. Photo courtesy Kirk Irwin Kirk Irwin
What: Melville Winery & Vineyards
Where: Lompoc, Calif.
Details: Melville's tasting room is on the ground floor of a Mediterranean-style villa, in the Santa Rita Hills appellation about 12 miles from the Pacific Ocean near Santa Barbara. This area falls within the larger Santa Ynez Valley, which was immortalized in the movie Sideways. Complete with French doors that lead out onto an expansive patio, the villa also has an area where you can enjoy your picnic lunch -- paired with a glass of small-lot estate-grown Pinot Noir, of course. Clones of Pinot Noir grapes (Melville's specialty) are marked by signs in the vineyard just a few steps from the patio.
More Info: tel. 805/735-7030; www.melvillewinery.com

Photo Caption: Melville Winery & Vineyards in Lompoc, California. Courtesy Kirk Irwin
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The tasting room at Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards in Buellton, California. Photo courtesy Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
What: Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
Where: Buellton, Calif.
Details: A fountain out back -- where there is an outdoor tasting bar on weekends -- contributes to a casual, backyard feel at this biodynamic winery that appeared in the film Sideways. Access the tasting room by driving down a long gravel road. Get rewarded with unobstructed views of surrounding vineyards in the Santa Rita Hills appellation (part of the larger Santa Ynez Valley), which is famous for its Pinot Noir -- including the bottles produced at Alma Rosa.
More Info: tel. 805/688-9090; www.almarosawinery.com

Photo Caption: The tasting room at Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards in Buellton, California. Courtesy Alma Rosa Winery & Vineyards
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Located in Oakville, Opus One is a collaboration between Robert Mondavi and Phillipe Rothschild from France. The tasting room over looks the beautiful vineyards on the valley floor of Rutherford and Oakville in Napa Valley. Mondavi and Rothschild's Opus One Winery. Courtesy Meghan Lamb Meghan Lamb
What: Opus One
Where: Napa, Calif. 
Details: The winery complex is luxurious and architecturally striking, complete with splendid views from the rooftop deck. With influences from California and Europe, the interior, both opulent and timeless, reflects the best of both styles. The higher than usual tasting fee reflects the historical pricing of the wine, which in 1981, sold for $24,000 per case. Available wines are: current vintage (ripe cabernet sauvignon blended with smaller quantities of merlot), malbec, petit verdot, and cabernet franc.
More info: tel. 707/944-9442 ; www.opusonewinery.com

Photo Caption: Located in Oakville, Opus One is a collaboration between Robert Mondavi and Phillipe Rothschild from France. The tasting room over looks the beautiful vineyards on the valley floor of Rutherford and Oakville in Napa Valley. Mondavi and Rothschild's Opus One Winery. Courtesy Meghan Lamb
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The grounds at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, California. Photo courtesy Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery
What: Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery
Where: Healdsburg, Calif.
Details: Along the upper portion of the Dry Creek Valley appellation -- on Dry Creek Road -- is one of the best views of Lake Sonoma. Stop in at Ferrari-Carano, which produces some of the most celebrated Chardonnays in the state (sourced from a variety of regions, like Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley, and Carneros, as well as small estate lots), which you can try in the new underground Enoteca Reserve Tasting Bar & Lounge. But first, take a peek at Lake Sonoma down below and stroll through the winery's five acres of flower gardens that feature around 10,000 tulips each spring.
More Info: tel. 707/433-6700; www.ferrari-carano.com

Photo Caption: The grounds at Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery in Healdsburg, California. Courtesy Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery.
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Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard at 1,400 feet elevation, at Flowers Vineyard & Winery. Photo: David Keatley David Keatley
What: Flowers Vineyard & Winery
Where: Cazadero, Calif.
Details: Former nursery owners in Pennsylvania (Walt and Joan Flowers) scooped up this prime slice of real estate along the Sonoma Coast in the late 1980s with the intent to make wine. Today, their wines are award-winning -- Chardonnay and Pinot Noir -- but it's the view that stays with you long after the glass is empty. From the tasting room, expect to see layers of coastal fog, moss-covered trees, and wispy pines. Make an appointment, which includes a tour where you'll walk through the vineyard and taste two to three wines.
More Info: tel. 707/847-3661; www.flowerswinery.com

Photo Caption: Camp Meeting Ridge Vineyard, located at a 1,400- foot elevation, at Flowers Vineyard & Winery. Courtesy David Keatley
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Sacrashe Vineyard at Hall Wines in Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Hall Wines HALL Wines
What: HALL Wines
Where: Napa Valley, Calif.
Details: Perched high above the Rutherford appellation on Auberge Road, and at the end of a curvy, uphill drive, is one of two HALL tasting rooms -- the second is along the main drag (Route 29) and where most people go. Inside and out, this smaller, more intimate tasting room resembles a chic home with windows looking out onto the vineyards. Modern art hung on the walls, along with its glamorous underground cellar (with 14,000 square feet of caves and a communal table for events or private tastings), make this one of Napa's most luxurious tasting rooms.
More Info: tel. 707/967-2626; www.hallwines.com

Photo Caption: Sacrashe Vineyard at Hall Wines in Napa Valley. Courtesy HALL Wines
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Sterling Vineyards is set atop a hill just south of Calistoga, with unsurpassed views of Napa Valley. Photo courtesy Sterling Vineyards Sterling Vineyards
What: Sterling Vineyards
Where: Calistoga, Calif.
Details: This Napa Valley winery's tasting room is so high up that one must hop an aerial tram to reach it. The facility -- which mimics stark-white architecture on Crete, Greece -- offers not only tastings and a view but also art galleries, overlooks, a view of wine production through glass windows, and elevated walkways.
More Info: tel. 800/726-6136; www.sterlingvineyards.com

Photo Caption: Sterling Vineyards is set atop a hill just south of Calistoga, with unsurpassed views of Napa Valley. Courtesy Sterling Vineyards
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Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley. Photo: Rocco Ceselin Rocco Ceselin
What: Domaine Carneros
Where: Napa, Calif.
Details: A French-style estate with a wide deck showing off the Carneros appellation, Domaine Carneros ranks among California's best sparkling-wine houses -- in part because it's owned by Taittinger, a celebrated French Champagne producer. Table service (a rarity at California wineries) on the terrace allows you to order not only bubbly flights or bottles, but cheese plates, caviar, a selection of European-style pastries, and smoked salmon. What better way to take in the view?
More Info: tel. 800/716-2788; www.domainecarneros.com

Photo Caption: Domaine Carneros, Napa Valley. Courtesy Rocco Ceselin
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500 red roses line the entrance to the Yorkville Cellars tasting room, which has vineyard views from all windows and decks. Photo courtesy Yorkville Cellars Yorkville Cellars
What: Yorkville Cellars
Where:
Yorkville, Calif.
Details: Yorkville Cellars is a small-production winery producing Bordeaux-style blends as well as Malbec and Semillon. The Mendocino County estate -- also along the rugged Mendocino coastline -- is the perfect spot to snag a cat nap or snack on a wedge of artisan-farmstead cheese during a hectic day of winery visits. Under the shade of mighty oak trees, and with the view of redwood forests, fruit orchards, and neighboring sheep ranches, you're 1,000 feet above sea level.
More Info: tel. 707/894-9177http://www.yorkvillecellars.com/

Photo Caption: Five hundred red roses line the entrance to the Yorkville Cellars tasting room, which has vineyard views from all windows and decks. Courtesy Yorkville Cellars
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Vineyards in the sunrise at Semler Malibu Family Wines. Photo: Lisa Semler Lisa Semler
What: Malibu Wines
Where: Malibu, Calif.
Details: Malibu is a shy sister to California's famed Napa and Sonoma wine regions, but this up-and-coming wine-growing area is actually more accessible to the big city. Just off Mulholland Highway, and near Pacific Coast Highway, Malibu Wines is 25 miles north of Santa Monica at the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains. On the 65-acre property are old barn structures, camels, wildflowers, and heart-stopping views of the countryside, which is something most visitors to Los Angeles rarely see. Ten varietals are planted by the winery, and they can all be sipped in the on-site tasting room.
More Info:
tel. 818/865-0605; www.malibuwines.com

Photo Caption: Vineyards in the sunrise at Malibu Wines. Courtesy Lisa Semler
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