I relocated to NY after 7 years of college and post-grad in Southern California. Aside from the fact many people think I'm crazy for doing that - I returned to my old stomping grounds last year for a weekend of fun and sun. 

When people think of CA they think: San Francisco, Napa wine country and the beaches of Southern California. Now try to think of the opposite of all those things... What do you get? A wine safari in the Santa Monica Mountains!


Malibu Wines is a place that has become synonymous with LA weekends. The chill, family vibe of the winery, coupled with the relaxing surroundings of the Santa Monica Mountains (and a few celebrity sightings) make it the perfect escape from the horrors of Los Angeles traffic and crowds. Ironically, the entire time I lived in LA I never went to this place and had FOMO every time I saw photos. 

The best part about Malibu Wines is there is something for everyone. Do you want to stuff your face with a picnic while drinking wine, listening to live music and casually (but probably obviously) people-watching celebrities? Head over to their main location. Are you feeling adventurous? Head over to their 2nd location just down the road and go for a hike through the vineyard, or wait for it, get on a custom built open-air safari vehicle and explore the 1,000 acre Saddlerock Ranch and vineyard at Malibu Wine Safaris. For our weekend adventure we had the best of both worlds. 

As we drove up to Saddlerock I felt for a brief moment as though I had left LA. After jumping into the vehicles we were immediately driven into the scenic beauty of Malibu Wines' vineyard. There was barely enough time to take in the beauty (don't worry we did that later) as before we knew it we were at our first stop and face-to-face with an alpaca!

At each stop you're able to get up close and personal with animals you never dreamt you would see in LA. You're given a decent amount of time to take all the photos (and selfies) you want, as zebras, camels, bison and more are all waiting to say hello.

FUN FACT: Many of the animals you see came to the ranch as a sort of 'retirement' from their successful Hollywood careers. For example, the beautiful white horse below was in all of the Lord of the Rings movies.


But let's not forget this is a wine tour after all! Once you've had your fill of the animals (but for real how can you not get enough of cute animals?), you move on to the wine portion. There were two stops on our tour which featured samples of 6 different locally sourced wines ranging from Pinot Grigio to Zinfandel. Honestly, they were all delicious and all tasted like the fresh, casual, sun-shiny place that SoCal is. 

At the end of our tour we weren't quite ready to leave and go back into LA, so we headed down the road to the main location of Malibu Wines to finish out the afternoon with an epic picnic, more wine, a ton of photos and people watching. 

It was the perfect departure from the insanity and stress that is NYC and a unique way to spend a weekend back on the coast that will always feel like home. I'm not usually someone who suggests LA as the perfect weekend getaway, because let's be real, no one wants to drive in that traffic for days just to get around. But if you do decide to head West make sure Malibu Wines is at the top of your list!

Before you leave don't forget to take a picture with the sign!

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