If enjoy drinking wine and consider yourself a wine enthusiast, then you need to California wine country. But why? Aren’t the best wines produced abroad in France, Italy, or Spain? Not necessarily. There are Old World wine enthusiats, but I’d consider them quite snobby and not well educated. After all, California wine country is producing world class Cabernets, Pinot Noirs, and Zinfandels. The state is also making incredible Chardonnays, that’s not something to be missed. Besides, with such a large number of wineries and many great activities, you’re sure to find something you love.
Of course, it’s easy to say that you should visit California’s wine country, but you might be looking for a few good reasons why. I mean, beyond trying wines, what is there to do? Well, a lot really and I’m going to highlight a few of the great things to do. Of course some of the best things to do depend on what time of year you go, but there’s always something to enjoy. That’s why it was hard to narrow my list down to just five reasons, but I managed. So without further delay, here are five reasons to visit California’s wine country.
1 – A Vast Selection of Wineries and Vineyards to Explore
Your options many when visiting California wine country. Did you know that California has almost four thousand vineyards and wineries? And most of them are open to the public. That means, it’d be nearly impossible to see them all, even if you had a whole year. What does this mean for you? It means the vacation of your dreams, if you are a wine enthusiast. You can craft a trip that fits your own personal preferences. You could even plan a trip that allows you to find all your favorites and discover something new. And everywhere you go, you’ll discover that Californa is a beautiful place.
I suppose it’s no surprise that I listed the wineries first. I mean the biggest draw to California’s wine country is wineries. But it isn’t just about tastings at wineries, California wine country has so many other wine-related activities for you to enjoy that you may not even know where to start. You’ll find that each winery offers different activities for you to enjoy. Some have wine tours where you can watch the actual production or bottling live, others will give you a tour of their vineyards too, and many have educational classes with a focus on wine. With so much to do and see in wine country, you may want to request a few free vacation guides.
2 – Winery Activities
There are so many festivals throughout the year. In the winemaking world it seems there is always something to celebrate. A newer event, the Healdsburg Tastemaker Weekend allows you to connect with the town’s best winemakers, chefs, and artisans. There, you can blend your own wine, learn how to weild a Champagne bottle, enjoy a fine dining in a wine cave, or even go mushroom hunting. They even offer a Yucatán-inspired cooking class. But that’s just one festival. Winter also brings the Napa Truffel Festival, The Napa Valley Film Festival, and qwirky parades.
In the Spring, you could experience the California Artisan Cheese Festival in Sonoma, where you can take a hands-on cheesemaking class. The cheese can of course be paired with wine. Spring is also Rosé season in Wine Country. Starting in April, Napa and Sonoma wineries begin to release their new pink vintages, which means lots of rosé-themed parties from then until June.
Summertime brings lots of picnics, both formal and informal. Sitting in a beautiful vineyard with a blanket and basket is the perfect way to spend a summer day with your loved ones. But, there are other things you could do. How about a float down the beautiful Russian River, a favorite pastime of Sonoma locals. There, you’ll see swans, avocados, and pineapples as you float down the river. July is the sweet spot, with many wineries hosting their own festivals and gatherings.
That brings us to harvest season. And all the festivals that go along with it. Families gather to watch children participate in the traditional grape stomping. There’s often bounce houses and great food to celebrate the occasion. For the adults of course, it’s the end of the year. But for the wineries the process has only begun. That’s why there is a huge celebration.
3 – The Trip is Easy to Plan
It doesn’t matter where you’re coming from, a trip to California’s wine country is pretty easy to plan. There are so many vacations packages available that put together an itinery for you. They usualy include your hotel stay, your airline reservations, as a car rental. And tour packages are available, if you want someone to show you the highlights.
Of course, tourists have the option of touring local wineries on their own, independently, but if you like meeting new people then booking reservations for a guided wine tour may be the way to go. Guided wine tours are often the simplest option, as every aspect of your tour is already planned out for you. You’ll get to experience all that one would expect in Californa wine country.
4 – The Music Festivals
It seems like wine country has more than it’s shares of music festivals. Wine Country’s biggest music festival, BottleRock, held memorial weekend, brings some of the biggest names in music to Napa. And of course, the festival also brings out the best wine and food that wine country has to offer. Several wineries host annual music festivals and concert series throughout the summer, which tend to be much smaller and more intimate than BottleRock. Napa also has an annual concert series that runs through the summer at the Robert Mondavi Winery. In Sonoma, check out Gundlach Bundschu’s folksy Huichica Music festival in June or the Sonoma Harvest Music Festival in September. Theres another Napa Valley festival called Live at the Vineyard thats worth attending, if you can get tickets. But the catch is you can’t buy them. You’ll have to win them.
5 – An Experience You’ll Never Forget
Perhaps, the greatest reason why you should plan a trip to California isn’t the wine. But the greater reason is that it will be an experience that you’ll remember for years to come. Even those who aren’t wine drinkers, report having a memorable experience. The beauty of California wine country is breathtaking. And California has beautiful beaches and much more to see beyond wine all within driving distance. But, wine country is about wine, so even if you’re not a wine enthusiast now, you might be one before you leave.