Must-Visit Wine Bars and Tasting Rooms in Carmel

Carmel is a quaint city seated in Monterey County, Calif., which is known for its abundance of wineries. In fact, Wine Enthusiast named Monterey County one of the top five wine destinations on earth, even beating the famous Napa County. But it's not just because of the wine - Carmel and nearby cities offer breathtaking scenery, bistros galore and many fine galleries that attract travelers and wine lovers alike.

Talbott Vineyards

wine carmel

This wine tasting room and vineyard is the brainchild of Robb Talbott, who started planting his Diamond T Vineyard atop a Carmel Valley mountain in 1982. Many thought the vineyard's cliff-side location was too cold to plant on, but Talbott poured his heart into it, even pounding away boulders by hand to make way for planting. Now, the vineyard is known for producing some of the area's most coveted pinot noir and chardonnay. In fact, two of Talbott's chardonnays won gold medals in the 2013 Los Angeles International Wine Competition.

Galante Vineyards

Head to downtown Carmel Valley and take a seat at Galante's tasting room. The vineyard produces its own Rancho Galante and a limited quantity of merlot, both with intense flavors thanks to slow-ripening grapes. All Galante Vineyards wines are free of herbicides and pesticides. The tasting room also offer exclusive estate-bottled cabernet sauvignon from Blackjack Pasture and Red Rose Hill.

Boucheé Bistro and Wine Bar

Located on Mission Street in the heart of Carmel, Boucheé offers an extensive wine list created by sommelier Dmitri Ruban, as well as French cuisine by chef Andre Lemaire. Owners Elizabeth and Andre Lemaire opened this restaurant with the goal of creating a Paris-like atmosphere. Seat yourself at the bar for wine by the glass or create your own wine flight.

Boete Winery

This boutique Carmel Valley winery is family-owned by John and Jana Saunders. John has been producing its wines since 1997, focusing his efforts on creating a fine cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc. The grapes' quality is behind the wines' rich flavor, as are the Old World techniques and French oak barrels. Reserve a private or group tasting in advance, or stop by for a glass at the bar.

Cima Collina

Sourcing grapes from its own Carmel Valley vineyard and other nearby growers, Cima Collina is known for its widely acclaimed artisanal wines. It's run by husband and wife Doug Danzer and Annette Hoff with their son and offers fine pinot noir and chardonnays. Stop by the tasting room and, if you like its flavors, Cima Collina offers a wine club that delivers exclusive wines to your home.

Southern Latitude Wines

Looking for some non-local wines? Down on Lincoln Street, you'll find this wine-lover's gem. Southern Latitude Wines specializes in southern hemisphere varieties. You'll find bottles from New Zealand, Australia, Chile, Argentina and South Africa. Grab a bottle to go or try one of Southern Latitude's various wine tasting packages.

La Bicyclette

Open for breakfast, lunch or dinner, La Bicyclette has an assortment of local wines that can be enjoyed alongside European dishes like the truffle pesto parmesan or chanterelle mushroom. Take a seat inside for a rustic European feel or ask for an outdoor table to sip wine under the night sky.

Joullian Vineyards

Joullian Vineyards has been creating wines from its hillside vineyard since 1982. Bordeaux varieties are the vineyard's focal point, but it also crafts cabernet, chardonnay, merlot and the area's first zinfandel. The winery holds daily tastings, and you can take a tour of the winery by appointment.

By Nicole Martinez