At each of the more than a dozen wineries that dot our area, visitors will find an experience so packed with character, flavor and pure fun that infuses the local wine scene with an unforgettable vibe. Camarillo wineries are known for being family-owned, intimate and unique, but we all know that sometimes small packages hold the best gifts.
That effervescent quality especially bubbles up in September, California Wine Month. At this time of year, our community plays host to countless wine events, special discounts, winemaker get-togethers and so much more, giving visitors to our sunny destination a real taste of the Camarillo varietal. Whether you want to get out of town for a girls weekend getaway or are planning a relaxing road trip to our Central Coast wine region, book an overnight stay and raise a glass (or two) in Camarillo. Traveling with your furry companion or kids? No worries — all are welcome. That’s just the way we like it around here!
Where to Sip
Public Domain Wines
Located within the fields of McGrath Family Farm, Public Domain Wines has established a new tasting room in the picturesque countryside. Currently offering wine club membership and bottles for purchase, Public Domain Wines hopes to establish themselves and their wines within the greater community while promoting and cultivating sustainable ways, just like the historic McGrath family.
Cantara Cellars got its start in 2002, when husband and wife duo Mike and Chris Brown created their first batch of wine in their own home. The couple used hand-harvested Chardonnay grapes from Mike’s parents’ vineyards in Lodi, California, and the rest is history!
These days, head to the couple’s family-friendly tasting and tap room at Camarillo Barrelworks, home to both Cantara Cellars and their other labor of love, Flat Fish Brewing Co. Can’t decide between beer or wine? You don’t have to! Sit out on the patio with a beer or wine flight, grab a bite and stay late for live music on most Saturdays.
Winemaker tip: Pick-up a bottle of Cantara Cellars’ rich, full-bodied Zinfandel to pair with a juicy tri-tip!
- Live Music Friday & Saturday Nights: The Barrelworks tasting room has rockin’ bands booked every Friday and Saturday night in September.
- Wine & Women Wednesday, Sept. 14.
Check this calendar for full details.
Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot…pick your grape at this artisanal family-owned winery. Open weekends only in an open-concept setting, Pantess Cellars is dedicated to producing the highest-quality wines using both new and traditional techniques. New Jersey native, Hawaiian-shirt wearing, winemaker and founder Vince Pantess’ love of wine can be traced back to childhood from Italian great grandfathers who used to make wine in the cellar. After learning their Old World winemaking skills, Vince now pours his own cool climate wines under the Camarillo sunshine. Oh, and Coco, the winemaker’s beloved family dog will be waiting to greet you too!
Back Patio Cellars
As its name suggests, Back Patio Cellars’ story began on owners Frank and Jennifer Hules’ back patio. “We didn’t have any special equipment that year and it took us nine hours to destem and crush the grapes by hand,” they recalled. “When we were done, we had grape-stained foot prints and puppy paw prints all over the back patio.” That first batch was aged and bottled as a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, a 100% Petite Sirah, and a 50/50 blend called “Stained Patio,” all of which won awards at multiple wine competitions. Today their vintages include Zinfandel, Syrah, Chardonnay, Cab Franc, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, and more. Back Patio Cellars offers tastings of their bold reds and crisp white wines, live music, and other events at their Camarillo location, which includes—you guess it—an intimate outdoor patio.
- Yappy Hour, Sept. 25: Dogs welcome at this special monthly tasting that includes a “bar-kuterie plate” for a small donation benefitting local animal charities.
- Paint Your Wine Label, date TBD: Spur your creativity while you sip! Painting supplies provided.
See their Facebook page for more.
Other places to imbibe
Camarillo Custom Crush is a custom crush facility that processes specialty wines for local winemakers and is open to the public on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays and by appointment only. Take a tour of the facility and then enjoy wine by the glass, flight, or bottle in the lounge. New, exciting flights are offered every two weeks, making this a unique wine experience!
The Wine Closet is a cozy wine shop and tasting room that pours primarily handcrafted California wines from small production, family-owned vineyards. (They also stock a few standout imports!) “All our wines are hand selected and we only sell wines we would drink ourselves because life’s too short to drink mediocre wine!” owners Rob and Linda Hunter said.
Wine Month special: Wine tasting specials every Thursday from 5 to 8:30 p.m. featuring a particular winery, region or theme.
Onyx Bistro offers a wide array of made-from-scratch food and local wine and beer in a relaxed yet upscale ambiance. Owner and chef Danielle Saleh brings unique flavors to this local favorite bistro, which has a lovely heated patio, live music every weekend and a special Sunday brunch. Happy hour specials from Tuesday-Saturday, 4:30-6:30, include select wine deals on rotation, as well as craft beer. On Sept. 1, Onyx has planned a special Wine & Dinner Event with a five-course dinner and wine pairing.
A family-owned and run establishment, Sheila’s Wine Bar & Café carries both domestic and international wines that will please everyone’s palate and cater to everyone’s budget. Executive chef Ivan, son of owners Bertha and Pablo Medina, has a gift for combining flavor with artistry, enthusiasm, and talent.
Dusty Nabor Wines is a project born out of passion for producing site specific, terroir driven California wines. They strive to create wines that express their place and vintage, sourcing fruit from premier vineyards in Paso Robles, Santa Ynez and the Santa Rita Hills. Although not open to the public, you can purchase from their selection of blends and have them shipped to the comfort of your home by joining their mailing list.
Ready to taste everything Camarillo has to offer? Start planning your Wine Month trip!