A Guide to the Downtown Carmel Wine Tasting Rooms
For a list of Carmel Valley Wineries please see our Carmel Valley Wine Tasting Guide
1. Caraccioli Cellars
The focus here is on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes from the Santa Lucia Highlands. They craft four wines per year - a Brut Cuvee and Brut Rose for the sparkling wine lovers, and a Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for the still wine purists. Sample wines and snack on charcuterie and artisanal cheese plates at their tasting room located on Dolores Street and Ocean Avenue.
Sample Tasting Room Menu
2. Figge Cellars
Grapes from individual vineyards are crafted into five distinct wines: two Chardonnays, two Pinot Noirs and one Syrah. The Figge tasting room is located inside Winfield Gallery, where visitors can enjoy a one-of-a-kind tasting experience that celebrates both art and wine.
3. Galante Vineyards
Owner Jack Galante's grandfather, J.F. Devendorf, was the founder of the town of Carmel. Today, Galante is known as one of the premier Cabernet Sauvignon producers within both Monterey County and all of California. Head to the Galante tasting room on Dolores street if you are looking to try some interesting varietals and intriguing blends.
4. Vino Napoli
A wine bar, wine shop and tasting room located next door to Little Napoli, offering light appetizers and featuring hand-selected wines from Pepe Winery as well as the wines of Antinori and other close friends.
5. Silvestri Vineyards
Using traditional methods involving hands-on techniques such as French oak barrel fermentation for the Chardonnay, and small open topped fermentors for the red varieties. Current tasting room selections include: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Rose, Eugenia red blend, Pinot Blanc, and Pinot Gris.
6. Dawn's Dream Winery
Dawn's Dream produces Chardonnay and a variety of Pinot Noir options, such as Pinot Rachael, Pinot Nicole and Pinot Alyssa - each of which are produced locally, with grapes from Santa Lucia Highlands, Carmel Valley and Arroyo Seco. The tasting room is pet-friendly, and offers gourmet cheese plates for purchase.
7. Scheid Vineyards
Scheid produces 36 varietals among 10 estate vineyards. They bottle seven different pinots and feature four each day in their Reserve Pinot Noir flight. Their winery is located just an hour south of Carmel in Greenfield, CA in the heart of the Salinas Valley. The growing season is approximately two months longer per year in this region, increasing the intensity of fruit flavors in the wines.
8. Manzoni Cellars
The Manzoni Vineyard consists of three different Pinot Noir clones -- Dijon 777, 115, and LaTache -- sprawled out over 5 acres, with a remaining acre dedicated to Syrah clones, Estrella and 470. Their 2011 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir earned 91 Wine Enthusiast points, while their 2012 North Highlands Cuvee Chardonnay and Cuvee Pinot Gris each earned 90.
9. Blair Estate
Guests will often Jeffrey or David Blair behind the tasting bar, pouring their award winning releases as well as special "tasting room only" items. Current offerings include a 2012 Chardonnay - with fruit produced by Roger Rose Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, a 2012 Pinot Noir - from their own Delfina's Vineyard, named for their grandmother, and a 2012 Pinot Gris - with vintage fruit purchased from the Meador Estate Vineyard.
10. Shale Canyon Wines
Shale Canyon is a new vintner in Arroyo Seco, producing small lots of hand-crafted varietals of Chardonnay, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Syrah and Zinfandel.
11. Wrath Tasting Room
Wrath currently offers three different series of wine; their Ex Anima (Latin for "from the soul") series, which includes a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Pinot Noir and a 2011 Syrah; a Winemaker series, which showcases different approaches to winemaking; and a Single Vineyard series, flagship wines highlighting their "minimal winemaking" mantra.
12. De Tierra Vineyards
If you are looking to impress a special someone with your wine knowledge, memorize the notes from the De Tierra's Tasting Notes page, and head over to their tasting room to try some of their different offerings, which include Syrah, Pinot Noir, Merlot and Chardonnay.
13. Windy Oaks
Windy Oaks current releases include Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. The wines are produced in Corralitos (near Santa Cruz), an area well-known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
14. Alexander-Smith by Paraiso
Paraiso Vineyards is a family-owned, sustainably farmed, estate winery. Alexander-Smith by Paraiso is a new line paying homage to the Smith family's heritage, and produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the Santa Lucia Highlands.
The Carmel Wine Walk by-the-Sea sells Wine Tasting Passports, which allow up to 4 1-ounce pours at your choice of any 9 of the 14 tasting rooms. These passports are sold for $65 each and do not expire, so they can be used over several days, weeks or months. Purchase them here at Tradewinds Carmel or at the Carmel Chamber of Commerce.