How to Plan Your Perfect California Wine Vacation
California is the mecca of incredible wine here in the United States. The Napa Valley may be the most famous area but a solid majority of the rest of the state has plenty to offer in the way of wine. Each region has its own wineries and vineyards to visit, and it can be a bit overwhelming trying to plan your personal tour.
Not to worry, we’ve created a quick guide to help you plan your wonderful California wine vacation.
Step 1: Choose your grapes.
As we mentioned, California has many, many wine producing regions, and because the state is so large, the climates differ in each region and therefore so do the wines. For instance, Mendocino County is known for their Chardonnays, Cabernet Sauvignons, and Pinot Noirs because of the foggy, humid climate of the North Coast, whereas the Sierra Foothills produces some fantastic Zinfandels and Sangiovese. One you know which wine varietals you are looking for, you can figure out which region to visit.
Step 2: Pick your dates.
Of course, this may not be entirely up to you as you’re probably planning around holidays or your PTO hours but there are definitely better times to visit California, especially since the Wine Country is in the northern part of the state and can get a bit chilly in the winter and spring. The late spring and most of the summer are the best times to visit the area as the grapes are growing, flowers are in full bloom and the sun is always shining, but this does mean the wineries will be much more crowded. However, don’t disregard the fall. September and October bring lovely weather and the grapes are still being harvested, and there’s the benefit of fewer people visiting at the same time as you are
Step 3: The Tour Itself
This part is truly up to personal preference. Would you prefer to be guided along your tour or do you like to make your own path? Because of the popularity of California’s Wine Country, there are many guided tours led by experienced professionals. However, you can definitely do it on your own and just pick different wineries that are in one area and bounce around as you please. The wineries can be pretty far apart so make sure you’re looking at a map before making your itinerary.
Step 4: Lodging and Transportation
Honestly, it’s easy to forget about this part, especially the transportation piece of it. We get so excited about the wine that we forget California isn’t like New York and you can’t just walk from one place to another. Well, you could, but it might take a hundred years. Many of the bigger wineries have hotels or resorts around them, or you could do a cute little bed and breakfast if you’re looking for a romantic vibe. If you’re doing a guided tour, you probably don’t have to worry about the transportation part but if you’re doing it on your own, you may want to consider hiring a car for the day since Uber isn’t readily available out in the middle of Wine Country. Trust us, after a couple tastings, you’ll be glad you don’t have to do the driving yourself.
And that’s pretty much it! Make sure you’re booking your necessary reservations far enough in advance so that you get the perfect California Wine experience. Bon Voyage!