Zebras, Wine & Friends


Some people enjoy heading off to wine country, while others choose to brave a safari, but our group of six friends (John, Jen, Blake, Karis, Ethan, Erica) is unique because we couldn’t, no, we wouldn’t, settle for one or the other. It had to be both and, so led  to our adventure at the Malibu Wine Safaris.

The day started off with a seaside picnic in the Pacific Palisades to fill our bellies in preparation for tasting delicious wine all day long. Then off we headed in our Uber (I highly recommend an Uber or Taxi when going on an adventure as such), to explore what may have been the most unique wine tasting experience I’ve had in quite some time.

We pulled into the gravel lot and walked across the way to find a cute, wooden little house where we would check in and wait for our departure. The house had wine and souvenirs to sell to adventurers who wanted a keepsake to remember the day by. Also upon arriving, no one in the group could help but notice our soon to be mode of transportation. Think, Indiana Jones ride meets stadium seating, with three rows of three seats behind the driver and passenger seat.

When it was time to hop on in the open-top vehicle, we arranged the three ladies in the very back, highest part of the truck (which proved to be somewhat of a bad choice-you’ll see why) and our handsome counterparts right in front of us. I have to point out that I was especially glad that I chose to wear my Flynn Skye pants jumper (see where you can shop it below) because the step up into the truck was quite a doozy. We got all buckled in, sunglasses on and braced ourselves for the unknown.

We bumpily cruised through Malibu’s largest operating vineyard, Saddlerock Ranch, wind blowing through our hair, the sound of laughter at the fun we found ourselves having and the views of rolling landscapes that seemed to go on forever. Our guide, Holly, a former Miss Wyoming, filled us in on the history of the vineyard as we bumped along. One portion of the drive that I particularly loved was was this steep, beautiful hill we rode up which was lined with trees whose branches formed an arch over the path. Not only was it dreamy, the shade of the trees brought coolness, which was a welcomed relief on this extra hot day. What wasn’t welcomed, however, were the branches that kept on whacking us in the face every few feet. It’s tough enough to look classy on a bumpy ride, but ducking from trees and missing a few times proves to be impossible. So a lesson: highest isn’t always the best my friends, it’s not. And yet, we carried on making the best of the situation and laughing about it.

As we continued on our bumpy way, we came to a wide-open area where several exotic animals greeted us from behind their pens. They must have known we came with food because they were not shy about getting right up against the fence. The truck stopped, we carefully jumped down, and the host gave us carrots to feed to the animals. There were horses, zebras, water buffalo (who stayed in the water until we started driving away), Scottish highland cattle(who bullied the llamas), llamas, a camel, alpacas, and a yak. My favorite, by far, were the Zebra family, a mom, dad and baby. Daddy zebra was so intense about getting his carrot and he didn’t mind shoving his son aside to get one. It was a fun adventure feeding the animals and I think we all felt like kids again.

We finished up, said our goodbyes, hopped back into our adventure truck, and headed to our next stop, which we hoped was were the wine would be. It was so nice enjoying the breeze, taking in the scenery and chit-chatting as we drove on. Along the way we saw an awesome huge steel picture frame along the right side of the rode. Depending on your angle, you got an amazing view of hills, valleys or vineyards through it. It was a really cool piece of art.

After a few minutes, we finally came to what appeared to be a vintage campground with about 10 vintage campers that surround a big grassy area, along with a picturesque bridge and gazebo that lead to another little grassy area. It was pretty unique, but we were a bit disappointed that the campers were for show only and no one was allowed to go inside them. That didn’t stop Blake however, from enjoying a little rocking chair outside of one, nor us girls from peeking in one whose door was unlocked (we were on an adventure after all).

While he rocked, the rest of us grabbed a seat on the grass under a huge tree and watched the tour guides prepare our wine and cheese plate. As soon as it was ready we hurried over (we were hungry and ready for wine at this point…in fact, I almost ate one of the carrots earlier and was looking for wine under my seat, but there was none to be found) to the picnic table to listen as Holly gave us an education on the first of six tastings. We enjoyed the spread of several types of artisan cheeses, crackers, and pickled garlic (which was amazing) along with the wine. After about 30-45 minutes an empty cheese plate, 6 empty bottles of wine and a good buzz later, we decided to take a few pictures and got ready to head back to the little wooden house.

 

We enjoyed the breezy, bumpy ride back (minus the dodging of trees), feeling extra relaxed and made plans to head across the road to the Malibu Wine tasting room/outdoor picnic area. Once we got there, we grabbed a table, bought a few bottles of wine, some cheese and crackers and then ordered a pizza (as if we hadn’t had enough cheese and crackers already). It was a perfect ending to a perfect day with amazing friends. Of course, whatever we do, or wherever we go, there is always a fun adventure to be had.


The lovely Mrs. Lanagan Rocking some #Honeycomb
The lovely Mrs. Lanagan

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