Benchmark Wineries

Doffo Wines

With farming and winemaking in their Italian heritage, the Doffo family has earned some impressive scores for their Reserve Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Petite Sirah. Motorcycle enthusiasts take note: There’s a collection of some 200 vintage bikes on the property.

Fazeli Cellars

In a grand winery setting, Fazeli celebrates its Persian heritage with Persian-named, cross-cultural blends—marrying Bordeaux, Rhône, and Italian varieties, for instance.

Hart Winery

Beginning in 1970, Joe and Nancy Hart pioneered the study of terroir in the region—fine-tuning the match between variety and site. Today their children oversee a large range of wines, from Italian and Bordeaux reds to Tempranillo, Albariño, and Arneis, pouring in their old-school, picturesque facility.

Leoness Cellars

Farming roots run deep at hilltop Leoness, with the co-founders having been involved in local agriculture since the 1970s. Key wines here are Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Viognier.

Palumbo Wines

Nick Palumbo concentrates on small lots of Viognier, Rhône reds, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and blends. In contrast to the valley’s grand visitor centers, the tasting room here is sweet and intimate.

Robert Renzoni Vineyards

On 12 acres (5 ha) of estate vineyards, surrounding a gracious Italianate winery, Robert Renzoni is growing Cabernet Sauvignon, Brunello di Sangiovese, Barbera, and Pinot grigio, using organic and environment-friendly techniques.

South Coast Winery and Carter Estate 

With one of the region’s first expansive, luxury resorts—and the benefit of using all estate-grown fruit—the producer of South Coast and Carter labels has been a leader in both hospitality and quality winemaking, focusing on steadily improving with every effort and vintage. In 2019, Wine Enthusiast named South Coast Winery “Best Travel Destination,” and it was also named Best California State Winery of the Year.