google.com, pub-1971575927446776, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Summer Travel on California Wine Country Back Roads - Connoisseur Magazine
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Summer Travel on California Wine Country Back Roads

Written by Staff Writer

*Summer Travel on California Wine Country Back Roads

Wine Institute Series Highlights the Wine Roads Less Traveled

*WINE INSTITUTE OF CALIFORNIA CONTENT

SAN FRANCISCO — California is home to dozens of distinct wine regions, including some of the world’s most famous destinations. But hidden among even the high-profile appellations are the wine roads less traveled, featuring stunning rural scenery, delicious wines and, often, fewer visitors. To help wine lovers discover new wine roads and wineries this summer, Wine Institute’s California Wine Country Back Roads series highlights off-the-beaten path wine roads and regions. The five-part series begins with the back roads of California’s North Coast.

SONOMA COUNTY

Home to nearly 500 wineries, plus green valleys, rolling hills, regal redwoods and 55 miles of spectacular coastline, Sonoma County is one of the most well-known wine regions in California. Even so, there’s always something new to explore along Sonoma’s rural roads.

Guests enjoy the vineyard tour at J. Rickards Winery during Experience Alexander Valley June 22-23. Photo copyright 2018 J. Rickards Winery
TASTE: The region is best known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, but Sonoma’s diversity of climate and soils allows vintners to grow dozens of other varieties as well. You’ll find a more relaxed pace in the Alexander Valley where winding country roads lead to some of the county’s most delicious Cabernet Sauvignon wines, known for their elegant style. As one of Sonoma’s larger appellations in terms of vineyard acres, Alexander Valley’s back roads include more than two dozen wineries. Hidden treasures can also be found in the nearby Dry Creek Valley and Russian River Valley.

TOUR: On June 22-23, Experience Alexander Valley invites small groups of 20 or less to experience everything from blending seminars with winemakers to ravioli-making workshops to bocce in the vineyards. Also on June 8 – July 14 is the Art of Wine with a Vintage Palette at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts, featuring 60 artists celebrating the wine country culture of the North Bay. The free opening reception is June 8.

For more information on lodging, dining and upcoming events, see Sonoma Tourism.

NAPA VALLEY

A small region with a deservedly large reputation, the Napa Valley is known the world over for its acclaimed wines—primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and other Bordeaux varieties—and a thriving culinary scene that includes Michelin star restaurants, delicious food truck fare and every level of cuisine in between.

Guests enjoy the Calistoga Harvest Table event featuring local restaurants and 40-plus wineries. Briana Marie photo.
TASTE: Bordered by two mountain ranges—the Vaca on the east and the Mayacamas on the west—the Napa Valley is rich with less-traveled mountain roads that invite visitors to meander and discover. Spring Mountain Road, just a few minutes off busy highway 29, is a rural respite of family owned and operated wineries, along with 1,000 acres of gorgeous hillside vineyards. Likewise, Mount VeederAtlas PeakHowell Mountain and Diamond Mountainreward travelers with mountain vistas and limited-production wines. (Due to their remote locations, some wineries require advance appointments.)

Wine Institute is the public policy advocacy group for California wineries, which produces 80 percent of U.S. wine and accounts for more than 90 percent of U.S. wine exports. As the nation’s number one state for wine and food tourism with 138 American Viticultural Areas and 4,800 wineries, California attracts 24 million visitors to its wine regions each year.

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