Malibu is rightly known for its beautiful beaches, amazing homes right on the coast, and restaurants overlooking the Pacific Ocean, but if you drive about twenty minutes away from the ocean and towards the mountains, you will find a different side to Malibu. Up in the mountains, closer to Thousand Oaks, California than to the Pacific Ocean, you will find many ranches and wineries, including Saddlerock Ranch and the Malibu Wine Safaris.
Things To Know About Malibu Wine Safaris at Saddlerock Ranch:
- Getting to the tour can be a pain from most places in Los Angeles, especially if you are visiting Los Angeles on vacation. The ranch and vineyard is located up in the Santa Monica mountains, so be on the lookout for great views and steep roads, and is about forty-five minutes to an hour from the Santa Monica pier. The entire property is quite large and has multiple entrances, so I would make sure you have the right address for the Malibu Wine Tour check-in location. After purchasing your tickets, you should receive an email that has a link with a video that shows which road to take, since it can get confusing the closer you get to the entrance.
- There are multiple tours to choose from. They vary by price, length of time, the amount of wine tasting you get, how much food is included, and whether or not there is a meet and greet with Stanley the Giraffe. There is one tour that is family friendly, which means you can take it if you are under 21 and they offer lemonade instead of wine. Every tour includes wine tastings, a tour of the Saddlerock Ranch and vineyards, and feeding of the animals living on the property(other than Stanley the Giraffe).
- I would highly recommend wearing comfortable clothing and shoes you would not mind getting dirty. Of course if you love getting dressed up then go for it, but there were many attendees that regretted wearing their favorite clothing that ended up dirty. Getting on and off the vehicles was also a challenge, as you basically have to climb up the side of the vehicle to get in and jump to get off of it. The vehicles look like open top, off road extra large jeeps. I am not sure what they do on the few occasions when it does rain in Los Angeles, but the open top can make the seats very hot when you are getting on and off, so make sure you wear sunscreen on warm days.
- The tour starts at the formal entrance of the Saddlerock Ranch, where you learn a little about the property and then stop to meet and feed the animals living there. Our tour included a visit with zebras, llamas, water buffalo, and bison. Your tour guide gives you some lettuce so you can feed the animals.
- My tour had six or seven wines for our group to taste. Each person gets a glass and they basically try to evenly pour out a bottle of each type of wine for the group. This means if you like one of the popular wines(usually the sweetest ones) they are more likely to run out. All of the wines you try are of course grown at the Saddlerock Ranch, so you can buy bottles and cases of your favorites at the end of the tour in their shop.
- My favorite part of the tour was meeting Stanley the Giraffe. As I learned on the tour, Stanley is a retired actor as he was featured in both films and commercials. Stanley is incredibly gentle and each person gets a chance to feed him and take pictures with him. Make sure that if you want to meet Stanley, you pick a tour that includes visiting him in its description.
- Most of the tours only include a small cracker and dip spread(where each person only gets literally three crackers to eat), so I would suggest eating before your tour. Some of the more expensive tours do offer more than just three crackers per person if you would like to enjoy a lunch with your wine.
- Besides the different stops, the tour allows you to take in the beautiful property as well as the views of the Santa Monica mountains and the surrounding vineyards and ranches.
Photos from the Malibu Wine Safari Tour at Saddlerock Ranch: