This Winery on the Central California Coast Just Added a 'Tiny Forest' — and Has a Summer Lobster Festival

Come to Central California's Edna Valley for the vino, but stay for the lobster.

View from tasting room at Chamisal Vineyards
Photo: Courtesy of Chamisal Vineyards

Central California's Edna Valley is becoming more and more known for its incredible wines, from bright pinot noirs to crisp chardonnays. The region's proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes for a cooler climate that is just right for these grape varietals. Now, one of the valley's oldest wineries is once again luring guests with more than just wine.

Chamisal Vineyards planted its first grape vines in 1973, and this summer the 82-acre estate celebrates the bounty of land and sea with the return of its summer lobster festival. Ticket holders attending Chamisal Vineyard's 14th annual Lobsterfest will enjoy a feast of hand-shucked oysters, plenty of Chamisal Vineyard wines, and of course, enough lobster to counter all the pinot. Wine selections will be curated by the vineyard's general manager and resident viticulture expert Fintan du Fresne, who will also make himself available to discuss wines with eager oenophiles. Live music under the stars completes the vibe of this must-try summer jubilee, which takes place July 22 and 23.

2019 Lobsterfest at Chamisal Vineyards
Courtesy of Chamisal Vineyards
Winery building at Chamisal Vineyards
Courtesy of Chamisal Vineyards

The estate is also celebrating a new addition to its land: a Miyawaki Forest, among the first of its kind in the United States. Credited to Japanese botanist Akira Miyawaki, the eponymous foresting strategy is meant to offset carbon emissions by planting fast-growing trees native to the specific environment. General manager Fresne planted dozens of native oak trees (and other species) on the estate last spring, with carbon sequestration in mind; Chamisal Vineyards aims to be carbon negative in the near future, thanks in part to its new "tiny forest." Guests can chat with Fresne about the effort at the lobsterfest.

2019 Lobsterfest at Chamisal Vineyards
Courtesy of Chamisal Vineyards

The scenery itself is another reason to visit. Set in the rolling Santa Rita Hills, the Chamisal Vineyard tasting area is a scenic respite worthy of a stop any day (the winery is open year round, Wednesday to Sunday, but for select national holidays). Wine tastings and events happen on a patio with vast vineyard views. It's the stuff California dreams are made of: incomparably beautiful surroundings, temperate climates, and nature's incredible, edible gifts. After the Lobsterfest, extend your trip by paying a visit to nearby destinations like San Luis Obispo, Pismo Beach, Avila Beach (each one 15-20 minutes from the vineyard), or even Paso Robles.

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