Heading east from the historic San Miguel Mission, you turn off River Road to Cross Canyon Road and go up the hill past the vineyards turning right at the small sign for Locatelli Winery. This is a small cozy little place sitting alone on its little hill, making scrumptious red Bordeaux style wines.
In 1889 Cesar Locatelli immigrated to California from a small village on the Swiss Italian border and began growing grapes and making wine in the San Joaquin Valley. Over 100 years later his granddaughter and her husband bought land and planted a vineyard near San Miguel. Today they make wine in their small boutique winery exclusively from those grapes.
The very small, tasting room sits on a small hill looking over the ranch and the San Miguel Mission some 2 miles away. The stylish interior of the room has an Italian theme with stained concrete floors, sculptured metal crosses on the walls and a wood beamed ceiling. Outside there are a few tables about and a small patio and fountain to take in the view. Don’t miss the aviary around the corner with dozens of doves and four brightly colored peacocks to amuse you.
The vineyard is located on a terrace about one-hundred feet above the southern reaches of the Salinas River, directly in the path of cool marine air coming in from the north. As these evening breezes start to cool the vineyard it is not uncommon to witness a temperature drop of fifty degrees or more in just a few hours during the summertime. The major grape varietals grown are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Malbec, Petite Verdot, Muscat Canelli, and Zinfandel. The winery produces Bordeaux blends and some sweet dessert wines along with their varietal offerings.