The natural wonders of Monterey County—including the rugged setting of Big Sur—are what make the wines here so special. And even though the region is relatively young by winemaking standards, the world is taking notice.
Chardonnay is particularly prized here, as the varietal makes up 40% of Monterey County vineyard acreage. But Pinot Noir, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot are quite common as well. What you’ll notice about the wines produced here is the distinct “varietal flavor,” meaning the flavor of the grapes truly shine through in each sip. It’s a combination of the soil, the climate, and of course, the care that creates this unique experience.
While it might seem that wine has been produced here forever, this didn’t become a winemaking region in earnest until the 1960s, when a report classified Monterey County as a growing region in the same league as Napa, Burgundy, and other world-famous regions. (Monks introduced wine grapes here about 200 years ago, but as you can imagine, their purposes were not commercial in nature.)
Today, more than half a century later, the area is burgeoning—it’s been honored as a worldwide top 10 wine travel destination by Wine Enthusiast magazine, and wine has become a key driver of tourism for the region.
Ventana Big Sur, secluded among towering redwoods yet within easy driving distance of the region’s top wineries, is the ideal setting for your next wine-tasting escape. Luxurious meals and amenities are included with every stay, and our own wine cellar features thousands of bottles—including some of the region’s best.
Book your wine-country stay today.
As we move toward the end of a stress-packed year, it’s little wonder so many of us are seeking solace in nature. Perched between towering redwood forests and the Pacific Ocean, Big Sur has long been a place for people to restore their well-being—reconnecting with themselves, others, and the natural world all at once.
Here are a few ways to practice mindfulness and renew your spirit at Ventana Big Sur on California’s picturesque Central Coast.
High above the Pacific, breathe in the fresh forest air. Stretch your body. Fully awaken yourself mentally and physically. Morning yoga sets the tone for the rest of your day, allowing for quiet reflection on your day’s goals and intentions. Soon, you will be centered and ready to conquer what’s ahead.
Add more mindful movement into your day with tai chi, an ancient Chinese practice often referred to as “mediation in motion.” Join our expert instructor to make slow, rhythmic, fluid motions from one posture into the next. Paired with fresh ocean breezes, a daily tai chi practice is one of the most gentle, yet wonderfully effective, ways to reduce stress.
Real nourishment begins with real food, and at Ventana, it begins in the Organic Garden. We pull fresh ingredients from the soil to give our dishes, and our guests, more vibrancy and vitality. Join us for an intimate guided tour while you help our gardener harvest that week’s bounty. You’ll also discover how to cultivate your own garden and learn about the herbs and produce that go into our culinary creations.
Of course, food can nourish the mind along with the body, and the secret is in mindful eating—engaging your senses when you’re eating, whatever you’re eating. That even includes s’mores, a signature of the Ventana experience. Made with organic ingredients, fair-trade cacao beans by Tcho Chocolates, and homemade graham crackers, they are best savored while gazing at the Big Sur night sky.
With pounding surf, majestic forests, and endless starry skies, the rugged Pacific coast is a testament to the power and beauty of nature. And you can harness both for your own wellness with hikes and other outdoor activities. During the day, hike among hundred-year-old redwoods and explore cascading rivers and streams, while learning about the Native Americans who once thrived here. At night, find an overwhelming peace in the quiet starlight—or join a celestial guide for a hike lit by the stars and moon above, complete with a nightcap of mycelium extract cocktails and gourmet snacks.
We all have different needs and desires for health and well-being, and that’s precisely why Big Sur is such a hallowed place: Here, both nature and opportunity are unbridled.
Ventana Big Sur isn’t your typical weekend getaway—and with so much to see and do in this iconic region, we often hear that two or three days just doesn’t feel like enough. So, we’ve put together a fun itinerary to help you get the most out of your Big Sur experience.
Whether you’re seeking a romantic escape, taking a babymoon, or even preparing for the perfect proposal, there’s something for everyone on this four-day journey.
Days 1 and 2
Exploring at Ventana: After you arrive, take your time exploring all our resort has to offer. Relax for a bit in your spacious guestroom. Then, head to the Meadow Pool and infinity-edge hot tub, where you’ll have a front-row seat to spectacular views of the sea and forest. Now that you’re in Big Sur mode, why not try an activity in the Alila Experiences Program? Learn all about local wine with our resident expert in Sip Like A Sommelier, interact with at our birds of prey at the Falconry Experience, take one of our guided hikes, or choose another opportunity for enrichment. And for dinner, The Sur House Terrace awaits with its inventive coastal cuisine and unparalleled vistas.
Pfeiffer Beach and Spa Alila: Begin your day with a treatment at Spa Alila, where our skilled therapists meld the healing powers of earth and sea to rejuvenate and regenerate. Choose a treatment just for you, or share the experience in one of our cabanas for couples. Once you’re sufficiently revitalized, you can fill the rest of your day with discovery—try another Alila Experience, or maybe visit the SurStream in Redwood Canyon for a snack and hand-crafted cocktail. Cap the evening with a short jaunt to Pfeiffer Beach, one of the most picturesque and easily accessible beaches in the region. With sandy areas partly shielded from the ocean by rocks, and a cave through one of the largest rock formations, it’s the perfect place to catch a sunset.
Gallery Tour and Smokehouse: On departure day, there’s still time to see the art of Big Sur and meet some of the artists as well at the Hawthorne Gallery, the Phoenix Shop at Nepenthe, and several more. We offer guided tours with a picnic lunch, or you are free to wander on your own among the redwoods and other natural riches. Big Sur Smokehouse, an authentic roadhouse experience where smoked meats pair with craft cocktails, beers, and wines, is a great lunch option, too. And if you haven’t yet visited the Bixby Bridge, be sure to get to this famous landmark before you leave town!
It’s one of Big Sur’s most famous landmarks: You’ve seen it on the Ventana website, on countless postcards, and maybe even in the opening credits of HBO’s hit series, “Big Little Lies.”
It’s the Bixby Bridge, and it’s one of the most photographed bridges in California—which means it just might be one of the most photographed bridges in the world.
And it’s got an interesting history, too.
According to the Monterey County Historical Society, the bridge was built in 1931-1932 for about $200,000, or just over $3.3 million in today’s dollars. It was needed because Big Sur residents often found themselves isolated during winter, when the Old Coast Road was frequently blocked or impassable. Over 700 feet long and 260 feet high, it’s named for Charles Henry Bixby, one of Big Sur’s early settlers (and a cousin of U.S. President James K. Polk).
Today, while it’s as beautiful as ever, it’s also more crowded than ever—so please be mindful of the impact of your actions should you choose to visit.