It is certainly worth visiting vineyards in California if you are at the visiting the West Coast of US. Despite terrible fires for a few winters, many vines thrive and grapes grow and mature. Americans are exceptionally good at organizing activities, wine tours and providing quality service, so all wineries open to the public offer great experiences.
Good to know about visiting wineries in California
If you are in San Diego in the southern part of the state of the state, the easiest way to get to regions such as Ramona Valley and San Pasqual Valley, while staying in San Francisco in the northern part of California easily reaches Napa Valley. Los Angeles visitors can easily get to Santa Barbara and Malibu.
Make your own Wine Tour in California
PLAN YOUR VISIT
Many locals go over the day to a selected vineyard, but if you come from far away you may want to book in for a residence also and then you usually need to plan a little in advance. Especially in the larger districts of Sonoma, Napa, Santa Barbara County, Ventura, Malibu, Temecula and San Diego County. Many of the vineyards organize or offer farms and premises for weddings, so it is very popular to perform wedding or have a wedding party among the vines.
In the aforementioned district there are several who welcome visitors over the day or for a while in the evening for wine tasting.
ACCOMMODATION / STAY
In some cases, the vineyards themselves have adapted the property to accommodate overnight guests. When there are cities or larger communities adjacent to the vineyards, there are almost guaranteed hotels in these that work fine in combination with the wine tasting excursion.
In the northern parts, the wine regions we Swedes usually know are located thanks to broad marketing.
- Napa Valley is best known but actually produces only about 4% of all California wines, but they offer some of the country’s best wines. Here are around 600 vineyards, virtually all land is allowed for wine growing so it is not possible to expand even more. Here you specialize in mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, but also many other mixtures are produced.
- Sonoma County is next door to Napa Valley but is a little less exploited despite its about 500 vineyards. Here, micro-climate prevails between the different valleys that make up the region.
- Russian Valley is a part of Sonoma and is ideal for focusing on Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel.
- Menodcino specializes in Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir.
- Lodi southeast of San Francisco is home to about 80 vineyards but few of them are open to the general public as compared to vineyards in the aforementioned places. However, there are many wine tasting places in the city of Lodi. The area is called “Zinfandel Capital of the World“.
In particular, Santa Barbara County has many nice places to explore:
- Paso Robles, Santa Maria Valley and Santa Ynes Valley with Santa Rita Hills specialize in Rhone wines with grapes such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, or the Italian Barbera and Sangiovese grapes, or resemble Burgundy wines with Pintor Noir and Chardonnay.
- Ventura northwest of Los Angeles is located on the border between Central and South. Here are a few vineyards and the more wine-tasting places.
- Malibu west of Los Angeles is very easy to visit if you are in LA. Here you will find wines from the grapes Mourvédre, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
- Cucamonga Valley northeast of Los Angeles houses only a few vineyards today, further back the region was larger than Napa and had 60 wine producers. It is nevertheless worth a visit by maintaining pride and well-produced wines on old vines and rustic, mature Zinfandeld grapes.
In fact, the southernmost parts of California are further south than any European wine region, roughly the same as northern Morocco. In San Diego County, the following wine regions are located:
- Temecula Valley to the east of Dana Point houses about 40 wine producers specializing in Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir. They also produce Bordeaux mixes with Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc.
- San Pasqual Valley and Ramona Valley are located inland in the north-east of San Diego, where there are more vineyards than you can imagine given that you have heard incredibly little about them (in Sweden). The focus is on Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier and some Merlot.