Some of the best wine in the world comes from North America and the most prestigious wine in North America comes from California.
You can find superb wines across the state of California, but the most celebrated wines come from ‘Wine Country’ in Northern California. This is where you will find the best wine country getaways.
There are an abundance of exceptional vineyards to be found throughout Northern California, so it can be tricky to decide which ones to choose.
I recently spent a month in the region and have created a list of what I found to be the best wine country getaways.
It offers something for everyone, so take a look and find the best spots for you…
Navarro Vineyards and Winery, Philo
If Gewürztraminer is your thing then this is the place you need to visit.
I love white wine and my grandmother is German, so gewürztraminer is a bottle I can always find in her fridge when I visit. This dry, aromatic, Californian version is as good as any I have tried from Alsace where my grandmother grew up.
As a compliment to this gorgeous white, you will find California’s best Zinfandel. The relative coolness of the region gives this award-winning, robust red a lovely red berry flavour.
The wines are good value with the vineyard located in the less-touristy region of Mendocino where the immense redwood trees make this one of the best wine country getaways to enjoy delicious wines in a picturesque setting.
Charles Krug, St. Helena
Would you like to indulge yourself with a little history with your wine tasting? If you answered yes then this is the spot for you.
Charles Krug is the oldest winery in the world famous Napa region and was the first place in California to open a dedicated tasting room.
The Redwood Cellar was built in 1872 and really is a magical place to enjoy a glass or two of the vineyards sensational Bordeaux-style red wines.
Mumm Napa, Napa
Looking to start your day off with some bubbles? Then look no further than Mumm Napa.
The premier vineyard in the region for sparkling wine, visiting this wonderful winery on the Silverdale Trail first up will put you in a great mood for the rest of the day.
If you are interested in photography, take your glass of bubbly with you and peruse the on-site galleries two exhibits before heading back to join your companions on the gorgeous Oak Terrace.
This really is a no-brainer selection for a list of the best wine country getaways in California.
Martha’s Vineyard, St. Helena
This legendary winery started out as an extra source of cabernet grapes for modern-day winemaking pioneer Joe Heitz, but became a flag bearer for Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you enjoy the cabernet sauvignon grape and wish to experience it in its finest form then this uniquely minty, rich drop is a must try.
You won’t find a finer Cabernet Sauvignon, or cab sav as the aussies call it, anywhere in the world; even if you go to Bordeaux!
Matthiasson Winery, Napa
Time for a bit of rosé? Try this gem. Their 2015 rosé is a juicy, refreshing wine wine with a herby aroma. Unusually, it is made from a blend of 4 grapes; and I love it!
The winemakers are interesting people who use an organic style of viticulture to produce their wines. So, if all natural is what you prefer then this is a good place for you.
Rosé is often overlooked as people tend to gravitate more to reds and whites, but if it is a warm, sunny day then I find there isn’t much better than a mouth-watering glass of rosé.
Ferraro-Carano Vineyards and Winery, Healdsburg
This next spot on the list of best wine country getaways has incredible views and the best Chardonnay in the state!
I have been to the actual village of Chardonnay and the white wine there is as superb as you’d expect, but, for my mind, this place holds its own with those whites.
And the views are sensational. Have a walk through the beautiful flower gardens, admire the tulips and take in the breathtaking Lake Somona below you.
You will find it on Dry Creek Road, which is one of the quieter areas of the busy Somona region.
Whetstone Wine Cellers, Napa
This is a lovely vineyard to visit is you want to taste wine in a traditional French-style château.
It is a small, family-run winery with really friendly owners that produces an exceptional pinot noir.
I don’t know about you, but I go a bit nutty for a pinot noir so this place was perfect for me.
There are cheaper places in the area, but if you like pinot then turn a blind-eye to the others and hide out for the afternoon in the cosy and rustic living room.
Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery, St. Helena
My Germanic roots are coming out again here with this selection, but I don’t think a list of the best wine country getaways would be complete without mentioning Riesling and this is the place you want to come for world-class Riesling at an affordable price.
It’s run by a couple of friendly bearded brothers, and while they don’t produce great quantities of wine, what they do produce is exquisite. Especially, their Riesling!
The brothers are passionate about their wine and about people enjoying their wine, so they keep their prices very reasonable.
It’s a bit out of the way in a state park, so best to find a place to stay in St. Helena.
Goldeneye, Anderson Valley
Most of the best wine country getaways I’ve mentioned are found in the traditional, touristy areas. Well, here is one for those of you that prefer a the quieter life away from lots of people.
The Anderson Valley region offers small town charm and a cooler climate that is perfect for the grapes I’ve mentioned most fondly; pinot noir, chardonnay, riesling and gewürztraminer.
There are many great vineyards and wineries to explore, but my tip to you is to go in May and take part in the Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival held in Goldeneye’s vineyards.
Brassfield Estate Winery
My last entry on the list of best wine country getaways is the Lake Country region.
Another emerging area that is much quieter than Somoma and Napa and is next to California’s largest body of clear lake.
Brassfield Estate is located in High Valley and is a great spot for nature lovers. This place is all about scenic sightseeing and affordable wine tasting.
I saved this one for last because it was my favourite. What a wonder! Life doesn’t get much better than sipping a great wine on top of an extinct volcano, surrounded by astonishing natural beauty.