The Biggest Thrill in Wine Country

Margarita Adventures

You may have toured a vineyard before—but never like this.

Indeed, there’s a reason why they call Margarita Adventures the biggest thrill in wine country. With six distinct ziplines that soar over vines, valleys, oaks and mountains on California’s Central Coast, the Margarita Adventures tour is an experience like no other—one that adults think is fun and that kids think is cool.

Margarita Adventures’ six ziplines are located on the historic Santa Margarita Ranch, in the Paso Robles wine country between the cities of San Luis Obispo and Paso Robles.

The ziplines span more than 7,500 combined feet, starting with a 2,800-foot tandem-line thrill ride and finishing with an 1,800-foot journey over Pinot Noir vines. The tour lasts approximately 2.5 hours total.

The tour includes a guided ride out to the ranch. Along the way, tour guides share details of the ranch’s remarkable natural features, sustainable wine growing practices and role as part of California’s famed Mission Trail. Tours conclude in downtown Santa Margarita, where visitors can opt to sample Ancient Peaks wines, which are grown on the ranch.

Margarita AdventuresOther attractions along the zipline course include a 300-foot suspension bridge that spans the first and second lines, as well as a replica 19th century California gold mine at the end of the final line.

The mine—nicknamed the P.W. Murphy Mining Camp—gives the illusion of zipping into the mouth of the mine. Also on display are dozens of massive oyster fossils unearthed on the ranch, which testify to the land’s origins as an uplifted sea bed.

Last year, Margarita Adventures also launched kayak tours at Santa Margarita Lake and wildlife “Hummer” tours at Santa Margarita Ranch. The wildlife tours transport guests out to the ranch on a restored our 1986 H1 military transport. Guests are led by a Margarita Adventures naturalist who shares information on local ecosystems and the environment. Frequent sightings of native wildlife include eagles (bald and golden), a variety of hawks and other birds of prey, deer, turkeys, ducks, valley quail, mourning doves and pigs.

Margarita Adventures was founded in 2011 by three longtime local winegrowing and ranching families—the Filipponis, Rossis and Wittstroms. In 2006, these same families had established Ancient Peaks Winery on Santa Margarita Ranch. Five years later, they dreamed up Margarita Adventures as an exciting new way to share the ranch with others. Margarita Ranch

“As more and more people came out to the ranch for the vineyard tours, we noticed something powerful,” says co-owner Doug Filipponi. “People didn’t just get excited about the wine. They also expressed genuine interest in the cattle operation, and in the ranch’s history, wildlife and sustainable practices. That got us thinking: how can we better serve this interest?”

Adds co-owner Karl Wittstrom, “There’s a desire among the public to go out and visit rural properties, and to see where their food comes from, but you have to have a hook to get them out there,” he says. “Our hook is our adventure tours.”

Ancient Peaks

Now, Margarita Adventures is setting the hook even deeper with the new “Zip ‘n Sip VIP” package, which combines ziplining, wine tasting and gourmet bites for a true epicurean adventure.

The package begins with Margarita Adventures’ signature zipline tour. After the tour, guests enjoy the guided Legacy Tasting at the Ancient Peaks Tasting Room & Café across the street from the Margarita Adventures office. During this tasting, a personal wine educator guides guests through a tasting of the winery’s limited-edition Pearl Collection bottlings and library selections paired with cheese and charcuterie.

“Wine travelers are increasingly looking for authentic experiences, and this is one they will never forget,” Wittstrom says. “It’s all about connecting with the land in a unique and personal way, and then enjoying the fruits that come from it.”

Adds co-owner Rob Rossi, “Dating back to the 1800s, the ranch has been known for its hospitality and family involvement. We may be moving in new directions, but the spirit of early California rancho hospitality will always be our inspiration.”

By Sean Weir