When most people think of the best wine in the world, they tend to think of Italy, France, and Spain. The United States may or may not come to mind for some, but California’s Wine Country can definitely hold up against some of the other big wineries around the world. With more than 800 wineries in Northern California’s San Francisco Bay area, you’re sure to taste some delicious wine made with grapes grown at high altitudes. Napa Valley and Sonoma are two of the most popular wine regions, but all of Northern California’s wineries have so much more to offer than just delicious wine.
1 The Scenery
The northernmost point of California’s Wine Country features the iconic redwood trees native to Northern California, Oregon, and Washington state. The Mendocino County wine area is one of the least crowded wineries with mild temperatures year-round. And let’s not leave out the beautiful scenery of Napa Valley. Many of Napa’s tasting rooms follow along the Silverado Trail, a beautiful and scenic 29-mile route where you can enjoy a nice, tranquil hike. For a change of scenery, you can enjoy the Santa Cruz wineries tucked within the beautiful Santa Cruz Mountains.
2 The Cuisine
The earliest settlers in California still leave a cultural mark on California’s Wine Country cuisine today, which features many dishes reminiscent of Europe’s Mediterranean region. The Spanish planted the first olive trees in California, which are still grown today and are used in dishes such as pizzas and pastas. The Italian settlers brought grapes, bread, and vegetable sauces which are apparent throughout the Wine Country’s cuisine today. Other foods associated with this region include artisanal cheeses and herbs. These combinations of ingredients give a unique flavor to Mediterranean-style dishes.
3 The Luxury Resorts
You don’t have to just visit California’s Wine Country for a day; you could stay for an entire week or more! California’s Wine Country is known to have some of the most luxurious resorts in the country, offering comfort and spa treatments. You’ll find many of the resorts in Napa, probably because there are so many wineries there alone, but there are just as many luxurious resorts as well, such as the Vintners Resort, Kenwood Inn & Spa, and The Lodge at Sonoma (all located in Sonoma). You’ll also find shopping boutiques, hiking trails, saltwater pools, steam rooms, and saunas throughout the Wine Country region.
4 They’re Dog-Friendly
If you love to travel with your furry, four-legged friends then you don’t have to worry about leaving them behind when you take a trip to the Wine Country. Mendocino County is probably the most dog-friendly of all the wine areas, but so is Sonoma, several wineries in Napa, and many wineries in Santa Cruz. The rest of the wineries in wine country either have hiking trails and paths that are dog-friendly and/or their resorts welcome pets.
5 They’re Within a Day’s Drive
Well, this actually depends on which area you’re wanting to visit, as California’s Wine Country can actually include the entire coast, all the way down to Los Angeles and San Diego. Even Napa Valley’s Silverado Trail spans 30 miles with plenty of wineries to see, which may not even be possible to do in one day! However, if you want to visit just one winery in Napa (Sattui Winery is a very popular option), then you’ll still be able to drive to other areas, such as Sonoma and other northern wineries in Lake and Mendocino counties. Keep in mind that if you’re traveling to California from another state (or even country), California is a state that requires car insurance if you plan on driving through Wine Country.
California’s Wine Country offers one of the most unique experiences available in the United States when it comes to wine tasting. This is certainly a trip to consider adding to your bucket list, if it isn’t on there already.