A Local’s Guide To Californian Wineries
With 130 separate American Viticultural Areas and over 1300 wineries, where do you start with tasting California’s wines? Here’s a synopsis of the major regions and some suggested spots for tasting.
Napa / Sonoma
The first place that comes to mind when thinking of California wines and an easy day trip from the Bay Area, although it can be a bit crowded with tasters on summer weekends. A number of wineries are still worth a visit, as is the downtown square in Sonoma. Benzinger in nearby Glen Ellen prides itself on its biodynamic wines and has an interesting self-directed garden tour explaining many of their practices, as well as a tram tour of some of the vineyards. Nearby Little Vineyards is also worth a visit. Homewood Winery is a small producer with an intimate tasting room and nice picnic area, while Bump Wine Cellars in downtown Sonoma focuses on single-vineyard wines.