which wine region to visit

Take a tour of a working winery in a wine region

How to decide which wine region to visit

Bewildered with which wine region to visit in California? We can help you decide which wine region to visit by Viewing the pluses and minuses of the most popular wine regions in California. Yes, the Napa Valley and Sonoma are great but what about the incredible wine regions of California. Do not miss out on the other wine regions making fabulous wines.

Mendocino Anderson Valley

Pluses
The coastal town of Mendocino is unique and romantic
Great restaurants and places to stay
Quiet tasting rooms
Beautiful scenery
Small but excellent wineries
Minuses
Mendocino can be foggy in the summer (but it’s still a great place)
In the Anderson Valley, there are few places to stay and dine.  You are better off to make the town of Mendocino your home base

The Napa Valley

Pluses
One of the most famous wine regions in the world
Napa Valley has the finest Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnays
Home to many award-winning restaurants
Many good Bed & Breakfast and lodging spots
Beautiful countryside
Wineries within a short driving distance from one another
Minuses
Most weekends bring big traffic jams.
Crowded tasting rooms on weekends, you may have to wait in line to taste
Napa Valley is the most expensive wine region

Paso Robles Wine Region

Pluses
Many new and exciting small wineries
On the way to San Simeon Castle
Climate and terrain vary giving winemakers versatility in varietals
The roads are quiet and the tasting rooms are less crowded
Minuses
Three hours drive from San Francisco, fours hours from L.A.
Fewer restaurants to choose from

Santa Barbara

Pluses
Beautiful roads and countryside
Great Pinot Noir and Syrah wine
A mix of both small and big wineries
Minuses
Wineries are spread out
Almost all wineries charge a tasting fee of $5.00, some more than $5.00

Santa Cruz Mountains

Pluses
Beautiful mountain roads and redwood country
The tasting rooms are quaint
Great growing region for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir
Unique, small, and interesting wineries
Minuses
Wineries are spread out
Not all wineries are open for tasting during the week.
Mountain roads can be a challenge to some drivers, but the roads are good

Sierra Foothills

Pluses
Beautiful country with historic gold mining towns
Interesting and mostly small wineries
Zinfandel country
Quaint Bed & Breakfast spots
Not crowded unless you hit the “Passport Weekend.”
Minuses
Limited number of excellent restaurants
Limited number of Bed & Breakfast spots

Healdsburg – Sonoma County

Pluses
Beautiful roads lined with vineyards
A variety of excellent wineries from family owned to large conglomerates
Great places to stay and eat
Easy drive from San Francisco
Much less traffic and fewer visitors than Napa
Minuses
Popular wineries bring a crowd of visitors
Driving through Santa Rosa on 101 is thick with traffic congestion

Sonoma Valley

Pluses
Many famous wineries
A wide variety of excellent restaurants and places to stay
Beautiful country
Relatively easy drive from San Francisco
Minuses
Crowded on weekends
Tasting charge of $5.00 at many of the wineries

Additional information of importance when planning your wine country trip: