The Malibu Wine Safari in Malibu, California is a family owned business where people can enjoy the Saddlerock ranch and Malibu vineyard.
Ron Semler is the owner and founder of the Malibu Wine Safari. The land was originally purchased in the 1970s after wildfires hit the city. Semler first grew avocado trees until he decided to start growing grapes.
The winery started up in the 1980s. Most animals are rescued and brought to the ranch as well as animals that have been featured in movies, including a horse that was in the production of Lord of the Rings.
The open topped tour bus leads visitors through the 1,000 acres of the ranch with several stops along the way where people can interact with the animals up close and personal. From zebras, horses, camels, alpacas, and the great giraffe Stanley, visitors are able to feed and pet these animals one-on-one.
Wine tasting stations are along each stop with white and red wines available to taste while enjoying the views of green scenery and animals.
Our tour guide, Wes Wright, had an upbeat attitude, which made the experience welcoming and enjoyable. He was knowledgeable about the history of the Saddlerock Ranch and Malibu vineyard.
The Semler family lives on the ranch, which can be seen along the tour. A house is also available for guests to book through Airbnb on the ranch.
“We don’t know how much longer it will be available to stay in, so I would try soon if you are interested,” explained Wright.
The Saddlerock ranch is also a venue where weddings have been held, with housing options for the wedding parties to stay close to if needed.
There are five different tours to choose from: explorer, giraffe, mimosa, vintner, and vineyard lunch. Each tour varies in time, wine tasting options, food, and sights.
The tour that I was on was the explorer tour, which included the sight seeing of the ranch, feeding the exotic animals, cheese and crackers, and 6 tastings of red and white wines.
Explorer tour is 90 minutes long and the end of the tour visitors are able to relax at a specific location on the ranch.
Our stop on the ranch was at the top where we can see a beautiful city view and enjoy the hors d’oeuvres with your wine tasting.
If visitors want a longer tour they can experience the other 4 different tour options(if available) on their visit. Along, with extras including meeting the famous Stanley the giraffe, exploring the canvas paintings on the ranch, and different hors d’oeuvres options to pair with the wine tasting.
The old water towers are empty and currently in the process of being converted into a wine bar.
Both water towers were hand painted by the owner’s wife.
Each tour bus can seat 20 passengers and gives visitors a chance to mingle and connect with other people.
“I brought my girlfriend here and the experience with the animals and wine tasting paired perfectly, especially with the amazing scenery throughout the tour,” visitor Raul Andaya.
After the tour, attendees are still able to enjoy the Malibu wine bar down the road. Shuttles are able to take guests from the parking area, allowing a chance for people to purchase or try more wines while enjoying a laid-back picnic area.
“It was a perfect way to end the tour”, said visitor Raul Andaya.