Just a short 10 miles from Carmel is the Carmel Valley. Here you will find rolling ranch land, over 20 wineries and tasting rooms plus some great resorts and restaurants. Don’t miss:
Earthbound Farms Farm Stand Market & Organic Cafe: I buy their products in Chicago. Make sure to visit the Farm Stand Market & Organic Cafe where it all started. In the Cafe, you will find salads, soups, sandwiches, coffee drinks and frozen yogurt. You can also walk through some of the gardens including the herb garden. 7250 Carmel Valley Road
Carmel Valley Village has the biggest concentration of restaurants and tasting rooms. Stop by Cowgirl Winery. I had their Georis Rose at their restaurant, La Bicyclette in Carmel and loved it. They also have the Corkscrew Cafe in Carmel Valley which I was told is excellent. The outdoor patio is really lovely. 55 W. Carmel Valley Rd.
Chateau Julien: A beautiful tasting room and winery where you can taste and take a tour of their operations. I am not normally a Merlot fan, but their signature wine is a merlot and it was actually quite good and smooth.
Bernardus Winery: Until recently they were owned by the same company as the Lodge. Now the hotel has separate ownership. The tasting room is a short drive east. Don’t miss tasting their Marinus blend which is a wonderful blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. 5 West Carmel Valley Road.
Bernardus Lodge & Spa: This is a lovely lodge in Carmel Valley that has a casual bar plus a farm-to-table restaurant. I enjoyed their Wickets restaurant, which is now called Lucia Restaurant & Bar. It is a lovely spot, for lunch as I explored the Valley. There is great outdoor seating as well overlooking the croquet lawns.
Other good hotel options in the area include the Carmel Valley Ranch just outside of Carmel and the Quail Lodge which both have a golf focus. On 500 acres, Carmel Valley Ranch has a beautiful restaurant with views of their vineyard below.