Alright, so we all know the state of California really does have everything in the world. Sunshine, waves, mountains and WINE! I was lucky enough to take trips to some of the best wine regions in the state…and I think you should too! I’m certainly no wine connoisseur but I’ve put together some of my favorite things about each of the regions and some info on what types of wine they’re known for. Cheers!
A bit inland and north of San Diego, Temecula is very easy to get to from anywhere in Southern California. I’ve been out here twice, once for a nice day-trip to celebrate my best friend Alissa’s birthday and another time we took a party bus with a large group from Encinitas. Which, surprisingly is how a lot of people do the wineries! Since they’re all so close together its almost easier and definitely safer than driving to just rent a bus or limo and go winery hopping.
Temecula Valley has a warmer climate being so south making it particularly well-suited to grapes such as the Rhône varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. The wineries also produce Mediterranean varietals like Viognier, Syrah and Pinot gris. This is also where I first tried my favorite wine, Tempranillo at the Old Mountain Winery. Find a full list of the wineries here.
Look out on Groupon, wineries often run tasting specials which is definitely a fun thing to do if you’re new to wine and want to learn more!
Located in the center of the state, in San Luis Obispo County, is Paso Robles. It has approximately 26,000 vineyard acres planted and is well known for its heritage varietal Zinfandel and Rhône-style wines.
My favorite wine here was the Grenache from Bien Nacido Winery at Herman’s Story, but we went to a bunch of others as well on a winery tour for my friend Britt’s birthday. Find a more in-depth guide to the Paso Robles area here.
Did you know about 73% of Sonoma County’s agricultural production is growing wine grapes? They have 60,302 acres of vineyards with the most common varieties planted being Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Pinot noir. They’re also most known for its Merlot and Zinfandel.
We went to a small family owned Winery called Christopher Creek for a tasting and had fun learning what wines paired with what cheeses. Find a full list of Sonoma wineries here.
Last but not least is Napa Valley which is known for red wine blends primarily made from Cabernet Sauvignon. Most Napa Valley blended wines use the grape varieties famous in France’s Bordeaux region —Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and sometimes Petit Verdot or Malbec.
We went to what I think was one of the nicest winery I’ve been to, Aritzia. It was like an art gallery built into the hillside and had some really great wines. Here is a list of all of the wineries in the Napa area, but of course, I don’t think you can really go wrong.