Where to Go Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

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California’s central coast is flush with wineries these days. The Monterey and Carmel Valleys both have dozens of wineries that are taking advantage of the fertile land to grow grapes for their premium wines.  For weekend wine tasters like us, the small town of Carmel-by-the-Sea is the perfect place to taste the wines of the Monterey and Carmel Valleys.

In this article, we’ll show you where to go wine tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea and how to do it right with the city’s Wine Walk that includes 11 of the area wineries.

carmel by the sea with wine

Carmel-by-the-Sea is a small European-style village that is well loved and maintained by the community. They don’t allow big-box stores or chain hotels, so wherever you choose to stay will be a locally owned inn. There are many adorable shops and restaurants to visit, in between tastings.

If you’re in town for a wine tasting weekend, the best way to enjoy it all is by doing the Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk. The Wine Walk is made up of 13 tasting rooms that you can visit anytime, on a self-guided and self-paced basis, within a radius of one square mile in the town of Carmel. Dogs and kids are welcome.

The Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk is a free mobile guide that will take you on a walkable wine-tasting journey to discover exclusive experiences at wine tasting rooms throughout Carmel-by-the-Sea.

Read about other nearby wine regions:

Carmel by the Sea wineries

How to Get to Carmel-by-the-Sea

Getting to Carmel-by-the-Sea is super easy. We flew into San Jose International Airport and within 20 minutes of landing we were in our rental car headed south. I’ve never had that smooth of a transition from plane to driving before. Carmel-by-the-Sea is located just a couple hours to the south of San Jose, right on the ocean.

The best part about Carmel-by-the-Sea is that everything is within walking distance. We parked our car when we arrive on Saturday and didn’t get back in it until we left town. 

As soon as you walk into the center of town, you’ll see how extremely easy it is to get around to all the tasting rooms. None of them are more than a few blocks away. Spread out in between tasting rooms are tons of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes. You won’t find any Starbucks Coffee on offer in Carmel-by-the-Sea. Instead, there are many cute and cozy coffeehouses to visit.

There are 11 wineries that participate in the wine walk. At each you’ll get a special deal, like a complimentary tasting with the purchase of a tasting, or a discount on bottles. Be sure to check in at each one that you go to on the app, to be entered into a drawing.

How Much Does Wine Tasting Cost?

Wine tasting in California has gotten quite a bit more expensive in the past few years. Gone are the days of free tastings. In fact, many regions are charging $20-40 per tasting. With this fee, you’ll get around 5 wine tasting pours. You can share a tasting at most places, which will cut down on the cost of it, and help you manage your intake.

Something I’m excited to tell you about is the Priority Wine Pass, which helps me tasting fees a lot easier to swallow. The Pass is simply the easiest way to save on wine tasting in California.

Show your card at any of the over 300+ wineries that accept the pass and start saving money. Many of the wine tasting discounts are 2-for-1. That means you and your tasting partner only pay for one tasting. If the winery usually charges $25 per tasting, you save $25. The pass is valid 365 days from the day you purchase it. It’s pretty awesome. We buy a new one every year. It’s good in California, Washington, and Oregon.

Wineries to Visit in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Manzoni Cellars

There are three wine rooms located right next door to each other, including Manzoni Cellars. It’s a small space, but with a lot of character.

We pulled up stools to the elaborately carved wooden bar and had a fantastic time talking with the wine pourer about the wines and the vineyard/winery located about an hour south in the the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands. We absolutely fell in love with the Syrah and Zinfandel. A definitely must-visit on your wine walk.

Location: San Carlos between Ocean & 7th

Scheid Vineyards

scheid vineyards

The Scheid Vineyards tasting room is bright and modern, with plenty of room to stand at the bar or sit at a table for your tasting. They have two wine tasting flights to choose from each day – usually a white-only and red-only tasting flight. We really liked their Merlot and the refreshingly light Sauvignon Blanc.

Location: Corner of 7th & San Carlos

De Tierra

De Tierra Winery
De Tierra Tasting Room in Carmel (Photo: Savored Journeys)

We really liked the vibe of this tasting room. It’s a little outside the main core of the city, by a block or two and it feels a bit more laid back and friendly. You can sit at the bar or sit at one of the few table and hang out with some wine from their small boutique winery. They take reservations on line to ensure you can get in when you want to.

Location: Mission & 5th

Caraccioli Cellars

Caraccioli Cellars
Caraccioli Cellars (Photo: Flickr)

The only place in town where we found sparkling wines was Caraccioli Cellars, which also happens to be one of the tasting rooms that’s open late on the weekends. It felt more like a regular bar than a wine tasting room with its dark wood and dimmed lights.

We could have sat there for hours enjoying the wine. The staff was very friendly and helpful. Caraccioli most makes Pinot Noir and they know how to do it very well. f you’re a sparkling wine fan, you must try their sparkling Pinot Noir Rose. The Chardonnay is also very good.

Location: Dolores between Ocean and 7th

Wrath Wines

Wrath Tasting Room
Wine tasting at Wrath (Photo: Savored Journeys)

We had fantastic service at Wrath. The wine pourer was very knowledgeable and was talkative and happy to tell us about the wines. We really liked their Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, which we purchased to drink with our lunch.

The tasting room is in a cute shopping center, and The Cheese Shop is right next door (you absolutely want to stop there to taste a few cheeses and buy a hunk to take to the beach for picnic.)

Location: Carmel Plaza

Where to Eat in Carmel-by-the-Sea

Vino Napoli Wine Bar

Vino Napoli wine bar
Vino Napoli wine bar (Photo: Savored Journeys)

There are few tasting rooms that are open late in Carmel, including Vino Napoli, which is both a tasting room and Italian eatery/wine bar, where you can get a wine flight with your late-night pizza. We ate there twice, while sipping on a few of the featured Pèpe Winery wines.

The pizza was outstanding. And there were lots of other snacks and wine flights to choose from. In between wine tastings, we also tried out a few great restaurants. I would return again to all of these restaurants. The food was great at each.

Location: 7th Street between Dolores and San Carlo

Cantinetta Luca

cantinetta luca

Cantinetta Luca is a busy little Italian eatery with rustic, homemade favorites like burrata with crostini, heaping bowls of pasta – like the bowl of Tagliatelle Alla Bolognese, pictured above – and hand-tossed pizza from the wood-fired oven. You can even sit at the pizza counter and watch the tossing of the dough.

Location: Dolores Street between Ocean and 7th

Where to Stay in Carmel-by-the-Sea

As I mentioned earlier, there are no big chain hotels in Carmel, though there are a few brands you will recognize, which provide a boutique experience. If you’re traveling with a dog, you’ll be happy to hear that many properties are dog-friendly.  Here are our top recommendations for places to stay in Carmel. 

  • L’Auberge Carmel: For couples looking for a quiet, romantic weekend, we recommend ⇒ Book or read reviews now on:  Trip Advisor  |  Expedia
  • Tradewinds Carmel: For a slightly less expensive stay in a lovely renovated boutique hotel ⇒ Book or read reviews now on: Trip Advisor  |  Expedia
  • Quail Lodge & Golf Course Located slightly outside of town ⇒ Book or read reviews now on: Trip Advisor  |  Expedia


As you can see, we thoroughly enjoyed our wine tasting weekend in Carmel-by-the-Sea. We even had time to spend discovering the surrounding area. Just a few blocks down away is the beautiful and expansive Carmel Beach.

Have you ever been to Carmel-by-the-Sea for a wine tasting weekend? What are your favorite things to do there? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

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Weekend Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea California - a perfect way to spend a weekend - with the Carmel Wine Walk Passport
Weekend Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea California – a perfect way to spend a weekend – with the Carmel Wine Walk Passport
Where to Go Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

24 thoughts on “Where to Go Wine Tasting in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California

  1. Dan says:

    Be sure to visit Tudor Wines in the Court of the Fountains at Mission and 7th, Carmel by the Sea. You can even stay at the Tudor room at the Vendange Inn! Tudor Wines is the Premier Tasting venue in Carmel and the only place that’s both dog friendly and where you can dine while tasting 90+ point Santa Lucia Highlands and Monterey county pinot and Rieslings.

  2. Erika Bisbocci says:

    I’ve never visited Carmel, though I’ve only heard great things about the town. I love places that are devoid of large hotel chains and eye-sore tourist establishments. It seems like the Wind Walk Passport is a must for those who love wine tasting!

  3. Gemma Two Scots Abroad says:

    This is a dream, I’ve always wondered how to execute wine tasting when you need to drive – no need here! Love a family run business too, very appealing.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Smaller towns with wine tasting rooms are definitely the way to go. Like Walla Walla and Woodinville in Washington!

  4. Kerri says:

    Laura, this looks amazing. Wrath, with it’s wine (and cheese next door) would be great and then there is Napoli and the ones that have pizza as well as wine. I really like the idea of the wine passport and the 9 tickets for the wine flights. This is a great idea. I think the biggest thing about this location is that it has encouraged me to think about LA as a stopping point (rather than a transit) so that I can get out ans explore more fully these nearby locations.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Carmel is a bit of a trek from LA, but it would be worth it, if you have the time. There are some really great short trip places in California.

  5. anna says:

    Ahhh I always love reading your posts. So much good food (and wine!) thanks for these tips! Will bookmark this for my next trip to cali

  6. Sara | Belly Rumbles says:

    This is my kind of weekend escape! Wine, wonderful looking food and the BEACH!! All my favourites rolled into one.

  7. Vicki says:

    The Wine Walk Passport sounds like an amazing idea and great value for tasting at 9 wineries! Even better that you don’t need to drive!
    Wine, Pizza and the beach – what more could you want from a weekend away?!

    • Laura Lynch says:

      Right?! I think it’s always a good idea for a place with a lot of wineries like this to offer a passport for wine tasting. It encourages you to try more and it’s super convenient.

  8. Anda says:

    You just game me a great idea. I’m headed to Carmel next month and I could do a little wine tasting there. I’ve been in Carmel so many times before, but was always more interested in their restaurants and their fancy boutiques. That quaint little town is the jewel of the Pacific Coast.

  9. Vicky and Buddy says:

    I love the idea of the wine passport and that you have options with it. I think it would be lovely to visit this small town and drink wine all day. And then pizza! It looks amazing

  10. Lake Lenore Caves says:

    Wow. Your incredible photos really make this look like something we should really put on our shortlist of road trip ideas.

  11. Mark says:

    With a love for wine and trips to ocean, this looks pretty much perfect. Thanks for all the information and great photos. Makes it hard not to want to go.

    • Laura Lynch says:

      If you love those two things, you’ll be in heaven in Carmel by the Sea. It’s such a wonderful place.

  12. Sandra Mathews says:

    Point Lobos, just a short drive slightly south of Carmel, should not be missed. I would live there if I could! It’s a state park with beautiful hiking trails.

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