If “wine tasting” conjures images of sweeping valleys, stone courtyards, and goblets of red and white, well you’ve come to the right place. But tasting is about more than just pour, swallow, repeat. It is an examination through the senses—an appreciation of the rich color and clarity, fragrant bouquet, and notes of flavor. California’s wine country produces some of the best wines in the world, and the variety of blends and styles is extensive. Sip some sparkling wine at the family-owned and operated Schramsberg, which dates back to the 1800s, or sit on the wrap-around porch at the solar-powered Frog’s Leap and test the legs on their organic sauvignon blanc. Climb Pritchard Hill to Chappellet and taste some of the most-respected reds around, from grapes grown on high-altitude hillsides, or visit the Sip Shoppe at Swanson, and raise a glass in the old-fashioned candy store tasting room.
Reservation-only tours at wineries in Napa and Sonoma offer ample rewards for type-A travelers who make an appointment ahead of time: unique experiences like visits to historic caves, sit-down lunches, and up-close-and-personal visits with winemakers.
Wine Tasting and More Nearby