It was a beautiful, sun-filled Southern California day, and we were off on a quest to go wine tasting in Malibu. It was Easter, and my boyfriend and I were celebrating our one year anniversary. Before I go any further, I just want to say that when I look back on this past year, I can’t help but smile at how far we’ve come, and how much I’ve grown. For those of you who don’t know the backstory, I couldn’t even get this boy to hang out with me just 2 years ago (in fact, I kind of paid for his friendship once upon a time, but that’s another story…). But hey, look at us now.
With all the chaos of preparing to move, paying bills, and buying furniture, we didn’t have too much money to blow on celebrating, but when I heard there was a place in Los Angeles that you could go, drink wine, and come face-to-face with a giraffe (Yes. A giraffe.) all in one afternoon, that was it. There was no convincing me otherwise. We. Had. To. Go.
Malibu Wine Safaris is situated on Saddlerock Ranch, a sprawling 1,000-acre expanse of vineyards, farmland, and charming event venues and houses. There are several tiers of wine tasting packages available, varying in everything from the number of wines you actually get to taste to the types of animals you get to meet. We, of course, went with the giraffe encounter.
I have this thing with giraffes. They’ve been my favorite animal for as long as I can remember. A few years ago, when my parents were in town, we went to the San Diego Safari Park and–I kid you not–my poor dad ran all over the damn park (it’s a BIG park, people) to try and make it to the scheduled giraffe feeding on time so I could have my first encounter. It didn’t work. We were too late. I was heartbroken (and so was he).
Flash-forward to today; I was going to finally get my one-on-one time with Stanley (in my world, all giraffes are named Stanley or Geoffry). This particular giraffe was actually named Stanley (I was right all along)!
The tour started off with us and about 15 other people climbing into a safari-style jeep to drive around the property, which, you guys, was insanely beautiful. You pretty much forget that the bustling, stressful streets of the Los Angeles are only a short drive (without traffic) away. On every stop, we fed animals, tasted wine, admired a pristinely preserved collection of RVs (that casually lives on the property grounds), and snacked on crackers and dip. We met zebras, horses, llamas, alpacas, water buffalo, and ponies along the way.
And then, there was Stanley. You guys might recognize Stanley–he’s the giraffe from The Hangover III. He’s kind of a big deal in Hollywood, and now he lives, retired, on a vineyard in Malibu. What a life.
So there I was, standing 20 short feet away from a real live giraffe. I could not stop freaking out. It was like I was meeting someone on a blind date, and I had to worry about what to say, and where to put my hands, and whether to make physical contact or just stare awkwardly. But you guys, I was in love.
Oh wait, right. We’re on our one-year anniversary date here. Oops. Okay, where was I.
Anyway, when the tour ended, we hopped on a shuttle bus over to the tasting room on the Ranch (take the shuttle and leave your car–it’s free!). We spent the afternoon tasting more wine and enjoying the sun outside accompanied by a live band and an energetic crowd. It was bliss.
On the way back to Hollywood for dinner (we went to Gracias Madre for vegan Mexican-inspired fare–oh so typical LA), I slept. I slept hard. In fact, I slept on the way home too. Blame it on the sun, the early morning, the excitement over seeing Stanley, or the real culprit (the wine), but that’s not the point. Everything about our Easter was everything that I hoped it would be. If you’re in LA and hoping to get out of the city and try something new, or if you just have a ridiculous inexplicable love for giraffes like I do, I highly recommend spending the day wine tasting in Malibu and hitting up this vineyard. You won’t be disappointed!
Are you as much of a giraffe lover as me? Would you try a wine tasting here? Tell me below!
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