California Wine Country
Renowned throughout the world for its miles of vineyards, charming small towns, and easy-going lifestyle, California’s wine country is perfect for anyone looking to truly ‘get away from it all.’ Napa, Sonoma, and their countless surrounding small towns like Sonoma Plaza, Healdsburg, Guerneville , Sebastopol Gyserville and Calistoga – these oases of calm and relaxation lie only an hour or two’s drive from San Francisco’s bustling city center.
Wine enthusiasts and regular visitors alike flock to the area, eager to experience the Northern California wine country culture. You, too, could have your very own getaway in this gem, complete with fun outdoor activities, wine tasting, and just plain living the good life in one of the area’s many, many spas.
The phrase “wine country” can be somewhat ambiguous to those not from the Bay Area. What locals refer to as wine country is an area of Northern California about 45 miles north of the city of San Francisco. It is primarily compromised of Napa and Sonoma counties, and gets its name from the rich tradition of wine-making that permeates the area. Many refer to it as the “birthplace of California viticulture.” Although quaint small towns with big personalities and lots of activities also dot the area, it is for wine that the region is most well-regarded. The reason there is so much wine grown in the area is namely because of the climate, topography, and soil; these three factors combined have created conditions that grow grapes fine enough to challenge those of France itself in the international market! That is quite a claim to fame! The most notable factor in the success of wine country’s burgeoning success is the region’s Mediterranean climate: a temperate climate characterized by warm and dry weather for most months out of the year along with a steady amount of rainfall. All that sunshine makes the grapes just as happy as it makes the wine country’s visitors and residents!
But the wine country’s past is almost as exciting as its present. The wine country has contributed much to California’s rich history, serving as the site of many significant moments in the state’s development from Indian territory to Spanish colony to independent state. The city of Sonoma was especially essential in this development. Tracing its earliest settlers to several Miwok, Pomo and Wintun Native American tribes, the area’s rich soil and temperate weather was a much-desired commodity even thousands of years ago. These settlements remained until 1823 when Father Joseph Altimira, a Mexican church leader, effectively colonized the area. Altimira created Mission San Francisco Solano under the orders of Father Junipero Serra, who is often referred to as the “father of the California missions.” Soon after barracks were created, however, the Bear Flag revolt occurred under Colonel John Fremont, declaring the state’s independence from Mexico and, eventually, our allegiance with the United States of America.
In the last 30 years, Napa and Sonoma Valley wine country has experienced an incredible boom in both wine sales and tourism. In the mid-1970s there were only a dozen or so wineries left in the area but following increased interest in the wines exported globally from the area and a dynamic advertising campaign, the California wine country was once again put onto the scene as a preeminent destination for wine connoisseurs and travelers alike. As a visitor, there are many activities in which to partake during your time in the valley.
In addition to visiting wineries that are almost always welcoming to visitors wishing to partake in wine-tasting sessions or tours, the cuisine, spas, and outdoor activities make for both a relaxing and exciting vacation. There are many miles of flat and hilly terrain in both valleys perfect for mountain biking as well as various National Parks open for the hiker in your family. The chic town squares of towns like Gyserville, Sonoma, and Healdsburg make for perfect places to kick back with a glass of wine and a good meal at one of the destination’s multiple famed eateries. The countless hotels and spas scattered across the landscape make getting treatments and going for a dip in a hot spring just an appointment away. In short, there is no end to the relaxing adventures you could have in California’s Sonoma and Napa wine country!
Top California Wine Country Regions
Sonoma Valley Wine Country
Sonoma Valley is a year-round destination for wine enthusiasts, foodies, outdoor adventurists, event and movies buffs, shopaholics, and even for cheese and beer lovers. Join us on a private custom tour to Sonoma Valley Wine Country to enjoy its serene vistas of rolling hills and vineyards, intimate family-run tasting rooms, lush farmlands, charming shops, and fine restaurants.
Sonoma Valley is home to California’s first wineries and is a top travel destination for wine connoisseurs and curious wine lovers. It is historically significant for being the birthplace of the Statehood of California in 1846 and, more recently, the city of Sonoma gained the added distinction of being named by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine as one of the top ten friendliest cities in America, receiving praise for its laid-back style, down-to-earth people, and amazing wines.
Sonoma Valley brings you to a range of wineries guaranteed to satisfy your palate. You may choose to do a wine tour and tasting at a winery – see first-hand the process of winemaking from grape to bottle, enjoy a food and wine pairing option, reserve a tasting experience in a wine cave or visit a large chateau-style winery style offering elegant wines and tasting experience. There are still small hidden wineries in Sonoma Valley where you may have the opportunity to meet the winemakers. Homewood winery is one of the smallest located in Carneros.
If you wish to learn more, you may for example consider visiting Benziger, an estate winery in the charming town of Glen Ellen. There, you can take a tram tour around their biodynamic and scenic vineyards, visit their wine cave, and end your tour in the tasting room where you will be served a selection of their carefully crafted wines.
If you are looking for an outstanding culinary experience with a wine and food pairing, we highly recommend St. Francis Winery in Sonoma Valley, whose restaurant was recently named no. 1 Diners’ Choice by Open Table reviewers.
Sonoma Plaza: For lunch , you may choose to dine or picnic in Kenwood or Glen Ellen, or you may wish to spend more time in the bustling town of Sonoma with its historic Plaza, City Hall, Sonoma Mission, and former army barracks. The town offers an amazing array of local and international restaurants including French, Italian, Portuguese, Californian, Mexican, Basque, Irish and much more. Plus, there are approximately 18 wine tasting rooms around the Plaza. Please note that we do not work on commission – these are simply suggestions. You may choose your own wineries or restaurants, and we will take care of the rest.
A Taste of Alexander Valley Wine Country
The Land of Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley, in the northeastern region of Sonoma County, is best known for producing world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. However, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot also express themselves beautifully in this volcanic and fertile valley. In addition, Zinfandel, Syrah, Viognier, Nebbiolo and Sangiovese grapes have proven to be well suited to the climate and soils of the region, so there is wine to suit everyone’s taste. This wine region us less commercial than Napa -you will have a relaxing, unhurried day tour. Options include visits to organic wineries, barrel tasting, cave tours and tram or horse-riding tours through the vineyards of your choice.
You can choose to spend your day at a variety of wineries in the valley or opt to spend a couple of hours in the valley and more time in the town of Healdsburg, where many of the region’s wineries have opened tasting rooms, affording guests the opportunity to taste and discover at their own pace.Brief history: Alexander Valley was named for the 19th-Century pioneer Cyrus Alexander, who moved here from Pennsylvania in 1833, and transformed it into an agricultural region. Fifty years ago, the valley was known for its prune and walnut orchards, and fields dotted with livestock and dairy farms. Today, Alexander Valley is an American viticultural area where the Russian River flows through spectacular vineyards bordered by Taylor and Sonoma Mountains. With the largest acreage of vineyards, and the smallest number of wineries, most grapes are sold outside of the valley, to Napa wineries in particular.
Neighboring Dry Creek Valley, where the first settlers arrived after the Gold Rush, is home to more than 70 wineries, and is best known for producing world-class Zinfandel, though Bordeaux and Rhone style wines are also widely available. The valley remains a rural countryside, where most of the small wineries are still family owned. Chalk Hill region, with its unique, chalky white ash soil, is known for its excellent Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs, and Bordeaux cultivars are also available.
The town of Healdsburg, at the southern end of the Alexander Valley and Dry Creek appellations, has become a very popular getaway destination for day and weekend visitors. With its European style charm, wide variety of chic boutiques, art galleries, wine tasting rooms and restaurants ranging from casual to Michelin-starred, Healdsburg is enjoying a gastronomical renaissance.
If you are looking for a culinary experience within a winery, and are a movie fan, look no further than Francis Ford Coppola winery with its ‘Rustic’ restaurant, renowned for fine dining and great atmosphere. Also check out the extensive museum filled with memorabilia from his movies, including the 1948 Tucker car, and Don Corleone’s desk from The Godfather.
Enjoy superb wines on Route 128, a gorgeous and scenic ‘wine trail’ road that runs through the Alexander Valley rolling hills, endless vineyards, and rural countryside. For the unique experience of ‘a flight within a varietal,’ (a taste of one particular type of grape from different wine regions) Geyserville offers this opportunity at its boutique wineries. This small town with old style western ambience, used to be a quick stopover for visitors to California Wine Country, but has become a destination in itself, thanks to its excellent boutique wineries and warm hospitality.
Selection of Wineries in downtown Healdsburg and Alexander Valley : In addition to visiting wineries in the Alexander Valley, the town of Healdsburg offers the option of strolling and tasting at 30+ wineries representing more than seven appellations and serving an extensive variety of wines from small production wineries to those with household names. The following is a partial list of some tasting rooms you may wish to visit:
La Crema – Best known for their excellent Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, with exclusive wines available only at this tasting room.
Murphy Goode – Serves a wide range of wines, some of which have the label ‘Homefront’ due to their partnership with Operation Homefront that helps military families in need.
Toad Hollow – Have you seen their whimsical wine labels and heard their story? A variety of wines, including sparkling, are available at very reasonable prices.
Rosenblum Cellars – Known for their Zinfandels that come from different vineyards around California and present different degrees of spice and dark berry flavors.
Williamson Wines Tasting Room – Features innovative wine and food pairing, served by friendly staff many of whom, like the winery owner, are from Australia.
Seghesio Family Vineyards – Specializes in Zinfandel that comes primarily from four estate-farmed vineyards: Home Ranch, San Lorenzo, River Road in Alexander Valley, and Cortina in Dry Creek Valley.
Ferrari-Carano and Lazy Creek Wineries at Seasons of The Vineyard on the plaza – A household name, and a small production under one roof. This wine tasting may include four Ferrari-Carano Cabernet-based wines and the delicious dessert wine, Eldorado Noir, paired with chocolates and dried fruit. Lazy Creek specializes in sustainable-farming and current wines include Pinot Noir, Rosé and Gewurztraminer
Along Route 128 wine trail, there are a number of small and famous wineries you can visit including Starlite Vineyards, Francis Ford Coppola, Frick Winery, Geyser Peak, Hanna, Alexander Valley Vineyards, De Lorimier Winery, Marietta Cellars, Meeker Vineyard, Pedroncelli, Raymond Burr Vineyards, Route 128 Winery, Trione Vineyards & Winery, Trentadue Winery, Clos du Bois, David Coffaro Vineyard and Winery. Let us handle your Alexander Valley wine tour for an unsurpassed experience.
Discover the Russian River Valley Wine Country
The Land of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
The story of small wine growers with big dreams
Are you looking for the perfect getaway and outdoor adventure to escape the hustle and bustle of the city? Look no more and visit the Russian River Valley to enjoy world class attractions and explore an authentic wine country.
Why should you visit The Russian River Valley wine country? The Russian River is a premier wine region with a distinguished terroir, one of the finest terroirs in North America. Russian River Valley is a laid-back wine region with unmatched tranquility and serenity, where wine makers and winery staff are welcoming and hospitable. The Russian River Valley redwoods and wine country is an awesome destination that has a lot to offer – you can savor local organic cuisine, cruise along the riverbanks, enjoy breathtaking sights, sunshine and picturesque beaches or go kayaking or canoeing.
The Russian River Valley wine trail is filled with natural wonders, small and hidden off-the-beaten-path wineries, which you would never know about without your tour guide.
Top wine regions and wineries to visit in the Russian River Valley
The Russian River Valley was one of the first appellations to receive an American Viticultural Area designation in Sonoma County Wine Country in 1983. Home to 70+ wineries and over 15,000 acres of grapevines, the region is world renowned for superb Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sparkling Wines. This is due to the cooling fog from the Pacific Ocean that blankets the area overnight, especially during summertime. However, the cool climate and longer growing season also produces a broad range of aromatic, fruit-focused, rich wines including Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Gris and Gewürztraminer.
The region is named after the Russian sea otter hunters who settled on the coast at Fort Ross and moved inland to establish farms in the 1830s. Grapes were planted initially at the coast then later in Freestone, Graton and Sebastopol, although prunes, cherries and apple orchards dominated these areas up until the 1970s. The Russian settlers abandoned the area in the early 1840s and vines remained untended until European immigrants arrived prior to the Gold Rush in 1849. By the late 1800s, the Russian River Valley had become more of a viticultural area and a number of wineries had been established, including Korbel Champagne Cellars (1882) and Foppiano (1896), both of which survived Prohibition from 1920-1933 and are still in operation today.
Much of the Russian River Valley has a wild and bohemian feel to it, with sparsely traveled country roads shaded by redwoods, manzanita, fir and oak trees, making small wineries and hidden gems extremely hard to find on your own – this is where our tour guides shine as they have developed privileged relationships with wineries and wine growers.
The historic Korbel Winery, for example, offers a Champagne Cellar Tour where you can learn about the step-by-step process of making champagne in the French tradition, as well as a Garden Tour featuring 250 rose varietals along with other plants and shrubs. There is also a gourmet delicatessen, should you wish to have an outdoor lunch here.
For spectacular views across the rolling hills of Sonoma County, a visit to Iron Horse winery is a must. This highly acclaimed winery offers an informal, down to earth, fun experience. At the rustic, outdoor tasting room, take your pick of Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and their signature sparkling wines. In addition to special Cuvées produced for top chefs, Iron Horse sparkling wines have graced the dining tables at the White House for several presidential dinners, including the historic Reagan/Gorbachev summit meeting. Tour and tasting by appointment Monday-Friday at 10:00 for $25 per person. Tasting is offered daily from 10:00 to 16:30 for $20.Korbel Winery offers daily a 50-minute guided tour every hour from 11:00 to 15:00 through their historic champagne cellars and museum. If you wish to taste wines made by a renowned female winemaker, then be sure to visit Merry Edwards Winery. Merry was one of the first female winemakers in California, and a founding winemaker at Matanzas Creek in Sonoma County. Merry Edwards Winery was founded in 1997 with a focus on Pinot Noirs from Russian River and Sonoma Coast appellations and, over the years, Merry has added Chardonnays and Sauvignon Blancs to her repertoire. In her 40-year career as a winemaker, Merry has received many awards and, in 2013, was inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s Vintners Hall of Fame and won the James Beard Award for Best Wine Beer or Spirits Professional in the US.
Additional wineries you may enjoy visiting in the Russian River Valley include Gary Farrell, Russian Hill Estate, Copain, Hartford Family Winery, Moshin Vineyards, Arista Winery, Corks Restaurant tasting room at Russian River Vineyards, Emeritus Vineyards, Woodenhead tasting room, Porter Creek Vineyards, Thomas George Estates and Sonoma-Cutrer among others. If you have special requests or have had wine from this region that you enjoyed and would like to visit a particular winery, please let us know
The Green Valley: The Green Valley is the coolest and foggiest appellation and one of the smallest in Sonoma County, lies in the southwest corner of the Russian River AVA. While still famous for its Gravenstein apples, high demand and prices have led to an increase in viticulture in the valley, and there are now over 100 growers producing exceptional grapes. Due to its fine sandy loam soil, cool climate and lingering fog, Pinot Noirs from Green Valley are especially sought after for its fruity, lively acidity and beautiful structure. Wineries such as DeLoach Vineyards, Dutton Estate, Dutton-Goldfield, Emeritus Vineyards, Hartford Family Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, Miramar Estate and Orogeny, offer visitors exceptional wines and a relaxing experience in this off-the-beaten-path wine region.
Heading north from the Russian River Valley, the drive along Westside Road towards Dry Creek Valley offers a scenic rural route lined with redwood, oak, eucalyptus, and bay trees, as well as rolling hills, and vineyards with beautiful panoramas of the distant Mount St Helena. Wineries along this route range from small family owned to large production facilities including Moshin, Porter Creek, Thomas George, VML, Arista, Matrix, and Armida.
Dry Creek Valley: At the end of Westside Road, you will reach the Dry Creek Valley appellation, renowned for its world-class Zinfandels. The Zinfandel grape is grown exclusively in California, and many of the vines in the Dry Creek region are over 100 years old. The route along West Dry Creek road is one of the prettiest in Wine Country with vineyards and wineries dotting the hillsides and valley floor. It is easy to wish one could stay here forever, ambling from winery to winery where winemaking traditions from the past blend with commitment to sustainable farming practices. With over 70 wineries to choose from, most still family-owned, you will have a chance to taste a range of Zinfandels from fresh and fruity to big, concentrated and intensely fruity. Sauvignon Blanc is the signature white grape of Dry Creek Valley, and Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay and Chenin Blanc from this region have also been gaining recognition. Wineries worth a visit along West Dry Creek Road include, Wilson, Lambert Bridge, Martorana, Quivara, Preston, Bella and Ferrari-Carano.
For lunch and dining , there are several options
Healdsburg – The southern end of the Alexander Valley and Dry Creek appellations, has grown from a country town to an upscale, sophisticated, yet still very relaxed destination. If you wish to do a mix of dining, sipping, strolling and shopping, you will find a wide variety of restaurants, many of them award-winning, as well chic boutiques, art galleries, and wine tasting rooms across a few blocks.
Sebastopol – The southern end of the Green Valley and Russian River appellations, offers small-town rural charm, with a liberal, progressive, artsy, vibe that is often compared to Berkeley. Like many towns in Wine Country, Sebastopol has seen many changes in the form of an increase in new restaurants (reflecting the farm to table trend), shops and live music venues. It is now considered the arts and culture hub of western Sonoma. While the town still hosts an Annual Blossom Festival and Gravenstein Apple Fair the decline of the apple business, which began in the 1970s, has led to the surrounding orchards being replaced with vineyards.
Forestville – Located in the northern part of the Green Valley appellation, Forestville is known as the town where the redwoods meet the wine country. It retains its western town vibe and architecture, and many of the old buildings have been restored. Dining options here have expanded due to the emphasis on locally sourced organic produce, so you will find a variety of menus offering increasingly creative food combinations.
Guerneville is the largest of the lower Russian River towns, located mid-way between Monte Rio, Occidental, Forestville and Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve
Picnic at a Winery – Several wineries offer salads and sandwiches onsite, while others welcome you to bring your own picnic (which can be purchased in towns along the wine trails and the Russian River towns) and enjoy it with a glass or a bottle of wine at the winery.
Graton Casino – Opened in November 2013, this gaming resort also offers a choice of upscale and dining options at four restaurants. So, if you would like to try your luck on the casino floor as well as dine, this is the place to visit.
Paso Robles Wine Country
A Wine Lover’s Paradise
Paso Robles Wine Country is an American Viticultural Area located in the San Luis Obispo County, California. It has approximately 33,000 vineyard acres planted with wine grapes, and is well known for its heritage varietal Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône-style wines.
Brief History: Grapes were first introduced into the Paso Robles area in 1797 by missionaries at Mission San Miguel Arcangel, where more than one thousand vines were planted. Commercial wine growing, however, wasn’t started until the 1880s with the establishment of Ascension Winery, later known as York Mountain Winery, and today known as Epoch Estate Wines. Among the winery’s early producers following prohibition was Polish pianist and composer Ignacy Jan Paderewski.
During a visit to Paso Robles Wine Country, you’ll discover award-winning wines, a historic downtown, delicious restaurants, and breathtaking views around each corner. There’s something to please every palate at 200+ wineries, plus beaches, hiking, cycling, golf, and the iconic Hearst Castle nearby.
Paso Robles Wine Country is centrally located between San Francisco and Los Angeles along California’s Central Coast.
With a greater day-to-night temperature swing than any other appellation in California, distinct microclimates, diverse soils, and a long growing season, Paso Robles is a unique wine region blessed with optimal growing conditions for producing premium and ultra-premium wines. More than 60 wine grape varieties are grown in Paso Robles, ranging from Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to Syrah, Viognier and Roussanne, to Zinfandel, the area’s heritage wine varietal.
DAOU Family Estates: Is a picturesque winery and vineyard offering wine tastings, pairings ,and picnics on extensive grounds with amazing views.
Lake County Wine Country
California’s best-kept secret wine region
Lake County wine is an appellation that designates wine made from grapes grown mostly in Lake County, California and located north of Napa County. Although each region within Lake County has unique viticultural attributes, all are influenced by Clear Lake, the largest inland body of water in California. Lake County enjoys a reputation for bright, concentrated red wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Zinfandel, and fresh, aromatic whites made from Sauvignon Blanc. Cabernet Sauvignon has the most acreage, with Merlot a distant second.
Directions: Drive to Lake County Wine Country through Napa Valley, Calistoga, and the scenic Highway 28, to visit California’s best-kept secret wine region with unmatched serenity and beauty. Enjoy Lake County’s stunning scenery, dramatic landscape and gorgeous rolling vineyards overlooking the beautiful lake. As you wind and twist along the uphill roads in Lake County, you will make several stops on the way to sip on local vintages and chat with local wine makers. Many are among the top wine makers in Napa Valley and have since relocated to Lake County where they started their own wineries.
Enjoy champagne and wine in a rustic winery while admiring the serene views of Lake County. Or take a tram or 4×4 jeep ride to reach more remote vineyards located at higher elevations. You also have the option of a picnic lunch with a glass of refreshing wine at a winery. Visit old caves where wines are aged, and you can taste your favorite wines directly from the barrels, presented by a wine connoisseur. You will be pleasantly surprised by the number of small and charming wineries that are tucked away in Lake County.
Apart from the wine tasting, there are several fun outdoor activities like hot-air balloon riding, hiking, biking, golfing, sailing, mountain climbing and wildlife watching that can be included during this tour. If you are visiting during harvest season, be sure to set time aside to watch these noble grapes being harvested manually.
Lake County, best known for its Cabernets and Merlots, is popular for its climate, volcanic soils, and elevation (1,550 feet above sea level) which creates a drier environment, resulting in less pesticides required. Lake County Wine Country consists of over 8,300 acres of vineyards, found on rich slopes of coastal volcanic mountains and in the fertile soil of the valley floor. It is very warm during the day but cools off significantly at night, which makes Lake County an ideal environment to grow grapes and produce top wines.
Mendocino County Wine Country
The Mendocino County wine is an appellation that designates wine made from grapes grown mostly in Mendocino County, California. The region is part of the larger North Coast AVA and one of California’s largest and most climatically diverse wine growing regions.
Mendocino County is one of the northernmost commercial wine grape regions in the state with two distinct climate zones separated by the Mendocino Range. Ten American Viticultural Areas have been designated within Mendocino County. Mendocino is one of the leading wines growing regions for organically produced wine grapes. Nearly 25% of the acreage in Mendocino County is grown organically. In 2004, the residents of the county voted to become the first GMO-free county in the United States in an initiative that was supported by many of the county’s largest wineries. The county’s widespread focus on organic viticulture has inspired journalists to describe it as “California’s organic wine Mecca”.
Mendocino County is home to 54 wineries within 15,5000 acres of rolling hills and vineyards. The Russian River Valley (which includes Redwood Valley, Ukiah Valley and Anderson Valley) is considered, by locals, to be the best within Mendocino’s wine country. Your tour guide will give you a more in-depth presentation on Mendocino County’s many wine regions as you travel to the wineries and enjoy the many tastes of this wine region.
Brief History: The Pomo Native Americans lived in Mendocino for thousands of years before the Spanish explorers, Cabrillo and Mendoza discovered this area in the 17th century. Wine grapes were first planted in Mendocino County a few years after the California Gold Rush by European immigrants. After the Prohibition of Alcohol (1920-1933), Mendocino’s wineries were revived and beginning in the 1960’s, became a leader in the wine industry.
The name “Mendocino” comes from the family name of Mendoza in honor of the 16th century Spanish explorer Lorenzo Suárez de Mendoza, 4th conde de la Coruña who explored the Mendocino coastline and his cousin, Antonio de Mendoza the first viceroy of New Spain. The first vineyards in Mendocino were established in the 1850s in the Redwood Valley by returning farmers who failed to find their wealth and prosperity during the California Gold Rush. Most of these winery operations stayed small and were completely eradicated by the enactment of Prohibition in the United States in the early 20th century. With the commercial production of wine banned, vineyards were ripped out and replaced with tree nut and fruit orchards.
The oldest continually operating commercial winery in Mendocino County is Parducci Wines founded in 1931 while Prohibition was still in place. Parducci remained the only commercial winery in Mendocino until the late 1960s. Part of this was due to the relative isolation of the region from the major wine market and business center of San Francisco (more than a 100 miles/160 km to the south), which was so pivotal to the development of the wine industries in nearby Napa and Sonoma County. In 1968, Fetzer Vineyards was founded and would eventually grow to be the largest wine producers in the county. Fetzer would also become a leader in steering the viticultural practices of the county towards more sustainable agriculture and organic wine production.
Today nearly 25% of all the vineyards in the Mendocino County are certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers-the largest percentage of any county in the state of California.
In 1971 wine production started in the Anderson Valley region. Approximately half of the wine brands produced in Mendocino County are now based in this Western AVA within Mendocino County.
Edna Valley Wine Region
The Edna Valley AVA is an American Viticultural Area located in and around Edna, near Pismo Beach and San Luis Obispo in Central California. It is part of the larger Central Coast AVA. The valley is roughly bounded by Lake Lopez to the south and Islay Hill to the north. The valley runs east to west, bounded to the west by the Santa Lucia Mountains. It is surrounded by volcanic mountains and characterized by black humus and clay-rich soils. With moderate sunshine, cool maritime fog, and rich oceanic and volcanic soils, the Edna Valley appellation has California’s longest growing season. The valley is kept cool by breezes from the Pacific Ocean and morning fog. The extended growing season gives complex flavors to the grapes.
The coastal climate and rich soils make Edna Valley perfect for growing cool-climate grapes and producing award-winning chardonnay and pinot noir. Taste these and dozens of other locally grown varietals, with more than 27 distinct tasting rooms across this bucolic American Viticultural Area (AVA). Each vineyard tasting room has its unique character and varying views of the scenic valley set against rolling hills and a mountain backdrop. Take in rural landscapes of strawberry fields and pumpkin patches. Embark on a vineyard tour to learn the history. Or discover reserve tastings in a swank private lounge.
Livermore Valley Wine Country
Livermore Valley is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) that surrounds the city of Livermore in the Tri-Valley region. This AVA and the city were named after Robert Livermore, a landowner whose properties and land encompassed the valley.
Livermore Valley has over 46 wineries all located within 5,000 acres. Wine has been produced in Livermore since the 19th century and Cresta Blanca Winery, which was founded in 1882, is one of the earliest and most respected wineries still operating today. Its first vintage (first produced in 1884) won the Grand Prix at the 1889 Paris Exposition, which made it the first California wine to win a competition in France. In addition to Cresta Blanca Winery, there are a number of notable accomplishments that wineries within this valley can proudly showcase including Wente Vineyards, which is the largest producer in the Livermore Valley and produces around 300,000 cases of wine annually.
Livermore Valley Terroir and Appellation are governed by Livermore soil and the east-west geographically orientation of the valley. Livermore Valley’s climate is unique: the valley is usually hot during the day and cools down by night (due to the fog and breeze that roll through from the coast). The soil is characterizing by a particular type of gravel that provides excellent drainage and reduces the wines’ vigor while also increases the flavor concentration of the grapes. Grapes that are grown here are made into aromatic and beautiful Cabernets, Syrah, and Zinfandels.
Directory of Livermore Valley Wineries
All Seasons Cafe & Wine Shop
5455 Greenville Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone: (925) 455-6320
Big White Horse Winery
S L St, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 449-1976 585
Bodegas Aguirre Winery & Vineyards
8580 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 606-0554
Boaventra de Caires Winery
9309 Tesla Rd
Livermore Valley, California 94550-9748
Telephone (925)606 -9672
Cedar Mountain Winery 7000 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 373-6636
Charles R Vineyards
8195 crane ridge road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone: (925) 454-3040
33853 Palomares Rd, Castro Valley, California
Telephone (510) 582-9900
4590 Tesla Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 456-2500
Crooked Vine Winery
4948 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 371-8156
Deer Ridge Vineyards
1828 Wetmore Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 743-9427
Eagle Ridge Vineyard
10017 Tesla Rd., Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 447-4328
Eckert Estate Winery
2400 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 371-8606
463 Kilkare Rd, Sunol, California
Telephone (925) 862-2377
El Sol Winery
8626 Lupin Way, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 606-1827
83 Vallecitos Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 862-2292
Garre’ Vineyard & Winery
7986 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 371-8200
Hidden Creek Wine
21 S. Livermore Avenue, Suite 101, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone: (925) 872-3319
John Christopher Cellars
25 S Livermore Avenue, Suite 103, Livermore , CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 872-7481
La Rochelle Winery
5443 Tesla Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 243-6442
Les Chenes Estate Vineyards
5562 Victoria Lane, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 373-1662
Little Valley Winery
5700 Greenville Rd., Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 862-9006
Livermore Valley Cellars
1508 Wetmore Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 447-1751
35 Rickenbacker Circle South, Suite B, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 551-3673
McGrail Vineyards and Winery
5600 Greenville Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 373-6214
Mitchell Katz Winery
1188 Vineyard Avenue, Pleasanton, CA, 94566
Telephone (925) 931-0744
Murrieta’s Well Winery
3005 Mines Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 449-9229
Page Mill Winery
1960 S Livermore Ave, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 456-7676
Red Feather Winery and Vineyard
5700 Greenville Road, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (510) 861-2722
Red Skye Winery
21 S. Livermore Rd., #101, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (510) 795-7725
1356 S Livermore Ave, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 447-8941
6500 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 443-0434
3053 Marina Ave., Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 447-4280
Ruby Hill Winery
400 Vineyard Ave., Pleasanton, CA, 94566
Telephone (925) 931-9463
Ryhan Estate Vineyards
5385 East Avenue, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (408) 712-1984
Stony Ridge Winery
4952 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 449-0660
5489 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 456-2380
633 Kalthoff Commons, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 960-1006
5143 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 606-9463
The Steven Kent Winery
5443 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 243-6440
Thomas Coyne Winery
51 Vallecitos Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 443-2603
5565 Tesla Rd, Livermore, California
Telephone (925) 456-2300
34329 Palomares Rd, Castro Valley, California
Telephone (510) 885-1501
White Crane Winery
5405 Greenville Rd, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 455-8085
Wood Family Vineyards
7702 Cedar Mt Drive, Livermore, CA, 94550
Telephone (925) 606-7411
Livermore Valley List of Restaurants
Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar
4301 North First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-606-4300.
Open daily for lunch and dinner
Castle Rock Restaurant
1848 Portola Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-456-7100 . open Wednesday through
Sunday for dinner only; closed on Monday and Tuesday.
Riata Diner and Tavern
190 South J Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-443-0494,
open Tuesday through Sunday for lunch and dinner, plus they serve breakfast on Saturday and Sunday.
Wente Vineyards Restaurant
5050 Arroyo Rd, Livermore, California,
phone (925) 456-2450
Wente Vineyards Restaurant provides regional American dishes, influenced by Italian, French and California cuisine
1100 East Stanley Boulevard 925- 373-3900
Korean BBQ Tofu
2570 Old First Street 925- 454 -1244
4510 Las Positas Boulevard 925-449-6689
Pick Up Stix
4353 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-606-6007
LBlue Jean Bistro & Bar
39 South Livermore Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-449-7000, Nestled right next to Lizzie fountain
Open daily .
Delis & Sandwich Shops
4444 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-443-0494
Zephyr Grill & Bar
1736 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-961-1000,
Open Monday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and open on Sunday for dinner only.
2220 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-606-6191,
offers an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet everyday
Campo di Bocce
175 East Vineyard Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 408-210-6945.
open daily for lunch and dinner
4034 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-456-3333.
Open daily for lunch and dinner
2205 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-456-2200
Terra Mia Italian Restaurant
4040 East Avenue, Livermore CA94550, 925- 456-3333
4363 First Street Livermore, CA 94550 935-371-9038
235 South Vasco Road, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-373-3822
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
4363 First Street Livermore, CA 94550 925-245-9662
Piccola Casa Restaurant
945 Bluebell Drive, Livermore, CA 94551, 925-960-1028,
Located across from Springtown Golf Course
Mexican & Southwestern
4076 East Avenue, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-371-0690.
open daily for lunch and dinner
325 South L Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-449-3045
Cielito Lindo Restaurant & Bar
2389 First Street, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-371-8757 .
Chevy’s Fresh Mex Restaurant
4685 First Street, Livermore CA 94550 925-960-0071
Steaks & Chops
2882 Kitty Hawk Road, Livermore, CA 94550, 925-447-1224,
Livermore Valley List of Hotels and Lodging
Best Western Vineyard Inn
7600 Southfront Road, Livermore, California, 94551-8227 US
Phone: 925/456-5422 Fax: 925/456-3055
2625 Constitution Dr. Livermore, CA, US, 94551
Phone: (925) 606-6200 Fax: (925) 606-6014
Courtyard by Marriott – Livermore
2929 Constitution Drive Livermore, CA 94551-7613
Phone: (925)243-1000 Fax: (925) 243-1010
Doubletree Club Hotel
720 Las Flores Rd, Livermore, California 94550, United States
Tel: (925) 443-4950 Fax: (925) 449-9059
Extended Stay America – Livermore
2380 Nissen Dr Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: (925)373-1700 Fax: (925)373-1710
Hampton Inn Livermore
2850 Constitution Drive Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: (925)606-6400 Fax: +1-925-606-6410
Hawthorn Suites Livermore Wine Country
1700 N. Livermore Avenue, Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: 925-606-6060 Fax: 925-606-8050
Hilton Garden Inn Livermore
2801 Constitution Drive, Livermore, California, 94550 USA
Tel: +1-925-292-2000 Fax: +1-925-292-2100
Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites Livermore
3000 Constitution Drive, Livermore, California 94551 USA
Hotel Front Desk: 1-925-9619600 Hotel Fax: 1-925-9619500
La Quinta Inn
7700 Southfront Road, Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: 925-373-9600 Fax: 925-373-9601
Purple Orchid Inn Resort & Spa
4549 Cross Road Livermore, CA 94550
Phone: (925) 606-8855
Quality Inn & Suites Livermore
right off I-580 at South Vasco Road
Phone: (925) 606-7171
Residence Inn by Marriott – Livermore
1000 Airway Boulevard Livermore, CA 94551
Phone: (925)373-1800 Fax (925) 373-7252
933 Bluebell Drive Livermore, CA 94550
Livermore Rodeo Cowboy Headquarters
029 1st St.Livermore, CA 94550
Telephone: (925) 447-3008 www.livermorerodeo.org
Altamont Raceway Park
17001 Midway Rd., Tracy, California
Home to several NASCAR divisional events throughout the racing season
Greenville Rd., Livermore, California
Tels. (925)443-6686 or (209)833-1375
A premier motocross track that’s open to the public, Club Moto in Livermore holds dirt track motorcycle races
The Livermore Municipal Airport (LVK)
Livermore has a Municipal Airport located at
TDD (925) 960-4104/(925) 373-5280
2400 Kitty Hawk Rd., Livermore, California
A sprawling family fun center in Livermore for birthday celebrations or just a fun filled day
Campo di Bocce
175 E. Vineyard Avenue, Livermore CA
A unique and exciting place for dining and playing bocce ball.
Del Valle Regional Park
7000 Del Valle Rd., Livermore, California
Set deep in a valley with a five-mile lake as its centerpiece, Del Valle Regional Park is a scenic 3,997-acre park for hiking, horseback riding, swimming and camping.
2500 Stanley Blvd., Pleasanton, California
For waterslides: Tel. 925.829.6230. Shadow Cliffs Park is a haven during the sweltering Central Valley summer months, with facilities for swimming, fishing, picnics and waterslides.
Las Positas Golf Courses
917 Clubhouse Dr., Livermore, California
Tel. (925) 443-3122.
Las Positas Golf Courses is comprised of a par 72 18-hole 6,800-yard course with plenty of natural hazards and an executive 9-hole that is also challenging for golfers of all skill levels.
Poppy Ridge Golf Course
4280 Greenville Rd., Livermore, California
The 27-hole Poppy Ridge Golf Course is a challenging test for golfers of all skill levels consisting of three aptly named nine-hole courses (Merlot, Chardonnay and Zinfandel).
939 Larkspur Dr., Livermore, California
The Course at Wente Vineyards
5050 Arroyo Rd., Livermore, California
Wente Vineyards Golf Course is an 18-hole 6,934-yard championship golf course that also plays host to a prestigious PGA event.