If you asked the people of California to describe wine in one word they’d probably say: necessary. California’s impressive wine portfolio has led to thousands of jobs in the wine industry and many more industries like tourism and marketing. California has about 107 American Viticultural Areas. In the entire U.S., there are about 206 AVAs, so it’s no wonder why wine is a big deal here. From cool to warm varietals, California does it all!
4. Napa Valley
A must-visit wine region in California, if you haven’t already, is Napa Valley. And a good place to start is Robert Mondavi Winery. Established in 1966, this winery offers an array of activities. From wine tours and tastings to a river cruise, there is something for everyone. And what about their wine you ask? Their incredible silky Cabernet Sauvignon with flavors of black cherry, plum, and blackberry layered with sweet spice and herbs is just the tip of the iceberg.
Next up is Raymond Vineyards. At this winery, they specialize in unique experiences. Relax with a flight in their velvet-lined red room or step into the Theater of Nature, Napa’s largest educational exhibit on biodynamic farming. Perhaps you would like to dive headfirst and become a winemaker for a day. Nothing short of spectacular, this vineyard is first class.
Home to over 500 wineries and 13 AVA’s, Sonoma is known across the country as one of the best go-to places when it comes to wine. Are you a big fan of Pinot Noir or deep Cabernet Sauvignons? If so, Sonoma County is definitely the place for you. Producing an abundance of high-quality Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma easily earns its place as one of the top wine regions in the country.
One of the premier wineries there is Dry Creek Vineyard. Located in the heart of Sonoma County, this winery has much to offer like its impeccable Cabernet Sauvignons or their delicious fruit Sauvignon Blancs. You’ll love their wine so much you’ll wish you could always have some at home. And you can! Dry Creek offers memberships where they send shipments of some of their premium and limited wines to your doorstep so you can always have world-class wine by your side. Second only to Napa, Sonoma County wineries have easily earned their stripes.
Due to its very diverse climate, vineyards in Mendocino can grow all types of varietals. From common wines like Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc to more obscure varietals like Charbono, Mendocino has it all. Wondering where to start? How about the wineries and vineyards in Anderson Valley? Along Highway 128 there are lots of unique places to try. For example, there’s Husch Vineyards. Husch is perfect for small groups of people since their tasting rooms are small and cozy. The good and bad thing about this winery is that it has very limited distribution. This means that they’ll always have a new wine for you to try out next time you visit. This also means that if you really enjoy any of their wines, then it’s best to stock up on it before it’s gone. You can also visit Navarro Vineyards along the same highway. Easily the most popular of all the wineries here, Navarro Vineyards specialize in white wines like their incredibly fruity Pinot Gris or their amazingly refreshing and dry Chenin Blancs. We recommend trying out a max of 3 wineries a day to make sure you’re not overdoing it.
1. Paso Robles
Being the fastest growing AVA in your state is no minor feat, especially when your state is one of the biggest and most famous wine regions in the world. When in Paso Robles, you need to keep your eye out for some particular wines: Sweet-fruited Zinfandels and rich Cabernet Sauvignons. Keep a lookout for Bordeaux varieties and refreshing and acidic Rhône varieties as well. Paso Robles is filled with extraordinary wines and equally extraordinary events. You don’t have to look far to find something to do when you’re in Paso Robles territory. From Trainwreck Fridays at Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery, which is an outdoor concert where you can dance and watch the sunset, to the Grand Tasting Tour hosted by Paso Wine, there is just so much to do and see that you’ll leave wishing you could’ve stayed longer.
Make sure to stop by one of the prominent wine areas in California. Once you get a taste of it, you’ll never want to leave. With that, we mark the end of our Wine Nation Series. From Southern Hospitality to Midwest Wine, we’ve covered dozens of locations and uncovered scores of great wine. So get out there and explore our great wine country.