It was a rare day in Los Angeles in July as a rainstorm threatened, although Angelinos welcome every drop. I had made a date for a mother/daughter day in Newton Canyon, 4 miles from Malibu for a winery hike, lunch and wine tasting at Rosenthal Estate Vineyards.
As I drove from the San Fernando Valley and up Kanan Dune Road, I was expecting a downpour.
I arrived at the winery tucked back in the hills and drove down a tree-covered road to the old stables where the Rosenthal wine tasting room was located.
It was like descending into the garden of Eden with greenery and vineyards delicately laced into the hills up above. A pair of wooden giraffes played whimsically among the trees.
I was one of the first to arrive and immediately headed to the restrooms. They turned out to be porta-potties located behind the quaint wooden stable doors. To my relief, they were immaculate.
I walked around the grounds taking some shots with Doug’s Canon camera because mine was being fixed. Darn it! The battery ran out after only 10 shots, forcing me to resort to my wayward cell phone. Luckily, I’d brought along a selfie stick Doug and I picked up in Rome and decided to give it a try.
My daughter and the other hikers arrived and when we were all assembled, our guide led along mostly shady paths through the vineyards. It was like walking into paradise.
I’d been worried about hiking up hills because my sprained foot was still twinging, but our guide assured us that a golf cart was available if necessary. Fortunately, my foot cooperated and I did fine. It was a nice 45-minute workout.
We stopped at the chardonnay vineyard and tasted some of the grapes. They were so tart most of the people in our group spat them out. We learned that grapes used for making wine are much smaller and not nearly as sweet as table grapes.
Our guide showed us a hillside with merlot grapes that had been damaged when a car caught fire on the road. It was such a shame to lose so many wonderful grapes. We also tasted the red merlot grapes on another hillside that was a little bit sweeter than the chardonnay.
On our way, we passed by rows of avocado and citrus trees.
Normally, lunch would have been at the main house, but it was being used for a private party, so we hiked up to the guest house nearby. We sat at outdoor tables overlooking the vineyards and were served a delicious and enormous box lunch of Boar’s Head sandwiches, olives, and potato salad.
The sky was still overcast and the clouds were holding their water, making it incredibly pleasant for a normally scorching July day. It was humid because a tropical storm from Mexico was busy wreaking havoc along the coast, leaving most of the beaches closed by lifeguards for much of the morning and later in the afternoon.
And then there was the wine.
We started off with a taste of Surfrider Mingle, a crisp Grenache Blanc wine that was sublime. Surfrider grapes come from San Luis Obispo and it’s only available in tasting rooms. After that came the Rosenthal Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet. All were first class!
We had a lovely time making friends with two ladies who live in Koreatown.
I was surprised to learn that the Malibu/Newton Canyon area has 70 vineyards tucked away in the hills. Because of regulations in that area, all the processing and bottling is done elsewhere. We were in awe at how rich and full-bodied the wines were. They were easily comparable to Napa or Sonoma.
I’m happy all those vineyards are only about 35 minutes from my home.
Our time there went much too quickly and no one wanted to leave. It was so pleasant and relaxing. It was a wonderful way to spend the day with my daughter because we live on opposite ends of Los Angeles.
We hiked back down to the stables and passed 2 pillars that Mr. Rosenthal had collected from the Berlin Wall. They stood on a hill under beautiful majestic trees.
Back at the stables, I made the decision to join the Rosenthal Estate wine club. My membership gives me 20% off the cost of all my wine orders. Members can come back to the vineyard to pick up their quarterly orders of wine and take part in exclusive social mixers, pool parties, and other events.
We can also enjoy free tastings at the Rosenthal Malibu tasting room on Pacific Coast Highway off of Topanga Blvd where you can sit by the ocean, eat from food trucks, and enjoy music. I couldn’t pass it up.
As I reluctantly began driving home, the sky opened up and thundered and it poured for the rest of the day. It’s as if it knew we were having too good of a time to rain on our parade.
Thank you, rain gods! Southern California is grateful for the weekend gift!
To find out more about Rosenthal Estate Vineyards visit their website at rosenthalestatewines.com
Do you have a favorite local winery? Please leave a comment below.