When the leaves turn colors and start falling from the trees and that winter chill finally hits the air after those hot October nights, there’s nothing better than layering up in your wooly finest and heading out for a winter picnic with friends.
Our favorite spot to gather for some lazy mid-winter’s revelry is Malibu Wines. A local vineyard tucked away in the Malibu Mountains just off of Kanan, Malibu Wines offers a sprawling picnic area complete with farm tables, chairs and flaming heat lamps to cuddle up and get cozy around. Lay out a sumptuous spread, sample some house wines, take in the live music and soak in the glorious afternoon.
Order a couple bottles of wine for your table or try individual “flights” from the wine tasting bar. You can pick the flight of your choice and sample wines at your own pace throughout the day. Outside alcohol is understandably not allowed in, but you are welcome to bring any non-alcoholic beverages with you. We highly recommend bringing plenty of water to make sure your group stays primed and hydrated.
Food is not served on the grounds, though there is a small “market” with basic fixings like artisanal crackers and nuts if you forgot to BYO. But to get the most out of the experience, you really want to go full-blown picnic. Have all your friends bring something to contribute and soon enough, you have a proper feast. Cheeses, baguettes, fig jam, local honey, crudite, vegetable dips, charcuterie, marcona almonds and side salads work great as picnic staples. Make sure there are enough options to satisfy your gluten-free and vegan friends. If everyone has a dish they are famous for making, now is the perfect time to wow the gang with these culinary treasures. And don’t forget dessert! Any variation of dark chocolate deliciousness pairs perfectly with wine.
In these brisk winter months, it gets chilly up in the Malibu hills, so remind your guests to dress in layers. Bring a jacket, hat, scarf, gloves and even a good lap blanket. As the sun gets increasingly lower and the temperature begins to drop, you’ll be very happy that you over-prepared.
Entry to Malibu Wines is free with the purchase of a bottle of wine for your group. Parking on the weekends is $14 to valet in the main lot, or else you can take advantage of the free shuttle service that takes you from the free parking lot just past the winery. But if you plan on drinking more than a couple glasses, your best bet is to Uber.
In California, we are so lucky that we can enjoy a nice crisp winter chill and yet still be able to lounge outdoors for the entire afternoon. Take advantage of the fact that we are actually experiencing weather beyond “70’s and sunny” and get out into that festive frostiness. There’s no better excuse to get close to someone you’ve had your eye on than to share a blanket and a glass of wine while the sun sets behind vineyard mountains. After all, winter and wine make the heart grow fonder…or something like that, right?
Malibu Wines is open Monday~Sunday 11am~7pm, with live music on the weekends. Visit their website for exact location and parking info: www.malibuwines.com.
Words by Christina Huntington // Photography by Sarah Prikryl
© 2015 Sirens and Scoundrels