With a temperate, sunny climate and water from rivers, lakes, and the Pacific Ocean, California wine country flourishes and produces some of the best wines in the world. While some regions such as the Napa Valley and the Sonoma Valley are well known, California wines are produced as far north as Mendocino Country and as far south as Temecula. California wines are varied even within small regions and range from tradition varietals such as Chardonnay and Merlot to fruit wines and even to brandies.
Visiting a winery is a great way to sample the local wines as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery guaranteed to surround almost any winery in the state. While taking to the California wine country yourself and exploring is not a bad way to go, if you have specific interests or are overwhelmed by the sheer number of wineries in the area California wine tours may help.
California wine tours are available almost anywhere there are wineries offering wine tasting. Tours allow you to follow an already-mapped-out path or often allow you to customize your experience based on what you want to see or experience. Some California wine tours even offer helicopter rides over the rolling hills and vineyards, but most will take you out to a few tasting sessions, or perhaps provide lunch with a winery owner or a picnic. Tours can be as private as you would like or on a tour bus, but all are led by knowledgeable guides—often sommeliers—that will make sure you enjoy and understand the wines you experience and the areas you visit.
California wines are well varied, but so are the histories and regions the wines come from. Places like Sonoma Valley, often credited as the birthplace of the California wine industry, had wineries operating as early as 1825 and because of this there are many early buildings and monuments to see there. Visiting this area brings you close to many other wine-producing areas and also has the added benefit of being close to San Francisco and the ocean. Going south, the Santa Barbara area offers a full California wine tasting encounter as well with the added benefit of Santa Barbara itself—filled with amazing shopping options, beaches, spas, and Spanish architecture. Farther south still, Temecula is a less-known wine region situated not far from Los Angeles and San Diego in a sunny climate cooled by ocean mists.
With California wine country located all over this large state, your winery experience could vary widely from small, family owned places tucked away and quiet to a large winery with a full gourmet restaurant and gift shop. No matter where you are, wine tours make sure you see the best the region you visit has to offer or allow you to customize your experience to your wishes. Either way, a wine tour is the perfect way to maximize your time in one of the finest wine regions in the world.