If there’s one key to my heart, surely it’s wine. Few things make me happier than the sound of a bottle being uncorked and wine being poured into a glass. I’m perfectly content with having a glass at home, but there’s something incredibly fun about going to wine bars and wineries. Sampling bottles from all over the world is also a great way to figure out what kind of wine you prefer: dry, sweet, red, or white—you name it. If you’re wondering about where to go to experience this magic, there’s no better place to visit than the MVP of U.S. wine regions: California. Here are five awesome places in Laguna Beach to sample the nectar of the gods:

1) Laguna Canyon Winery

This boutique, family-owned store is exactly what you would expect a California winery to be. “Laguna Canyon,” “Purple Paws” and “Wyland Cellars” are the three premium brands offered in the main winery tasting room, and they are absolutely worth a try. Just in case you need an extra incentive to purchase some wine, a portion of all Purple Paws wine sales go for the care of homeless pets. So really, do it for the animals.

Laguna Canyon Winery

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2) Wine Gallery

With 125 wines by the bottle, plenty of spacious seating, and something on the menu for everyone, the Wine Gallery makes a great impression as Laguna Beach’s first wine bar. Stop on by for the wine and the relaxed atmosphere, but stay for their specialty popcorn. You’d be surprised how great it goes with wine.

Wine Gallery Laguna

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3) Lumberyard

This is on the list for one simple reason: happy hour. If you’re fortunate enough to visit the Lumberyard on a Tuesday night, be sure to ask about the half-priced wines. For fellow wine enthusiasts, what could be better than that? Added bonus: the building looks like a cute little English cottage, so you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale.

Lumberyard

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4) Laguna Beach House

This is for the business travelers in Laguna Beach looking for a hot spot for wine, but lacking the time to find it. Every evening, guests are offered milk and cookies in the lobby, followed by a great glass of wine about an hour later. Settling in can be hard when you’re always traveling, but this helps do the trick—especially when both cookies and wine are involved.

laguna cliffs inn

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5) Alessa Laguna

Last but certainly not least, give Chef Alessandro a visit at this charming little Italian spot downtown. Wine goes best with Italian food, and you won’t be disappointed with the food or the wine here. Alessa Laguna has a strong Italian wine list, so do some browsing and enjoy a glass on their beautiful outdoor patio.

alessa laguna

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What’s your favorite winery or wine bar?

Emily is a proud University of Florida alum and a passionate travel junkie. When she’s not planning her next big trip, you can find her at the beach with friends or playing with her golden retriever, Mia. She's also a sucker for baby animals and will never turn down a nice glass of red wine. She loves meeting new people, so go ahead and reach out to her on Twitter @eculclasure.

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