By: Melanie Warner
Need a little adventure in your life? How about a day of wine tasting at a California vineyard with panoramic views while you glide along a zip line? This secret gem is located at the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, a true landmark in Northern California. The unique property showcases how native ecosystems can be nurtured and even restored within a working ranch and vineyard environment. At Margarita Adventures Zip Line Tours (margarita-adventures.com), also on the property, you’ll enjoy four distinct zip lines spanning more than 3,000 total feet, starting with an epic 1,300-foot valley crossing – where screams of glee echo off the Valley floor. While you are there, you can take a complete tour of the ranch’s remarkable natural features and learn about its role as part of California’s famed Mission Trail or just marvel at the forested and vineyard’s breath-taking views.
The zip line tour concludes in the quaint, historic hamlet of Santa Margarita in the tasting room of Ancient Peaks Winery (ancientpeaks.com) where you can sample wines from the ranch. If you are lucky, you might run into one of the owners, Karl Wittstrom. He loves to share the history of the region and how the geological forces shifted together (hence Ancient Peaks) to create five distinct soil zones: ancient sea bed, sedimentary, shale, volcanic and granitic – which explains how and why the wines that are produced in this area were destined to be exquisite. Their limited-edition White Label wines represent small lots of the highest quality expressed through unconventional blends and alternative varietals. The crown jewel of their White Label Collection is the Oyster Ridge red blend, which is crafted to exemplify their finest wine-making efforts. His personal favorite (and ours) was the 2009 Ancient Peaks Merlot, also part of the prestigious white label collection.