From Highway 1 heading along the coast to Half Moon Bay you’ll see plenty of farms and a bustling harbor and plenty of beaches, so it’s no surprise that this region has fantastic fresh produce and seafood. But Half Moon Bay also excels at distilling, brewing and winemaking.
Whether you’re sticking in town or venturing out there are plenty of opportunities to taste and learn or just relax over a glass or two. Here are some top picks:
This shop on Main Street is a go to destination for picnic supplies and shopping as well as wine tasting at the bar. They offer four different flights and four different cheese plates. Wine from California and beyond are also available by the glass as well as by bottle.
Sleek Vinoteca, located on Main Street is the newest wine tasting venue. The chic space offers red and white wine flights as well as a non-alcoholic selection of grape juices. Cheese and charcuterie plates are designed specifically to go with the wines and all the wines are available by the bottle.
Located in Woodside, a winding and scenic drive from downtown Half Moon Bay, this The 300 acre estate winery has stunning views of vineyards and Silicon Valley below. Fogarty is best known for outstanding Pinot Noir as well as Chardonnay that reflect the terroir of the Santa Cruz mountains. The winery has a tasting room, but also some outdoor seating for picnics.
In Pescadero you’ll find Sante Archangeli a mini tasting bar with wines made from locally sourced grapes. The winery is named for a family patriarch and located across from the Archangeli Grocery. The Pinot Noirs are fruit forward and lush, while the Chardonnay is oak-free, clean and bright.
Named for fog in Italian, it is the oldest bonded winery in Half Moon Bay, located on San Mateo Road. The tasting room is cozy, set in a picturesque spot with a garden and bocce ball court. The wines are made from grapes from a variety of regions in California. Since the 1970’s they have been known for their bottling events, which are open to the public. Check their website for details.
The tasting experience at the very small production winery Tronack Knier is very casual with a focus on having fun, discussing wine and making new friends. Their “non-interventionist” style wine is all hand crafted on site, from crush to bottling with grapes sourced from nearby Napa. The tasting room is open on weekends and by appointment.
Open for 15 years, this brewery is one of the best known, not only for their range of beers but also for their restaurant, which is a local hangout. A family friendly spot with a dog friendly patio, the restaurant has great local seafood and burgers. They also have a full calendar of events with live music every weekend and a free speakers series that presents discussions on everything from politics to environmental issues and social change.
Hop Dogma has received multiple awards and recognition in national and international beer competitions, most recently winning gold medals at the California State Fair and a silver medal in the U.S. Open Beer Championship. The microbrewery offers a variety of different handcrafted beers including IPA’s, Imperial Stout and Kolsch that change seasonally and has partnered with a local restaurant Lamas so you can enjoy Mexican or Peruvian food with your brews.
This funky brewery set in a house a few blocks from the center of town on Main Street has a comfortable feel with plenty of seating indoors and a few spots outside as well. The beer list changes daily, but a sampler is a good way to try the things they brew onsite as well as selections from around the country. The menu also features burgers and pub food including cheesy chili fries, pierogi and bangers and mash.
During Prohibition the San Mateo coast had a reputation for bootlegging and speakeasies. Today there’s one modern craft distillery, where Ulli and Caesar Bisono make their ultra premium vodka and gin in small batches. Schedule a tour and tasting online at this micro distillery.
Editor's Note: Please drink responsibly. The Half Moon Bay area has 19 hotels, motels, and bed & breakfasts where you can spend the night (see all Half Moon Bay lodging) and the area has a small but growing number of Uber and Lyft drivers to make sure you get home safely.