With more than 300,000 tons of grapes grown in California and over 17 million gallons of wine produced every year, California is without a doubt one of the best places in the world for a wine tour. Across the whole of the US, there are over 9,000 wineries, putting the nation as a front runner in the wine industry.
Now it’s not just countries like France, Italy and Spain that get the limelight in wine production. Premier wineries have put US wine regions such as Napa Valley on the map. Serious connoisseurs or enthusiasts are turning their attention to California wine, a category that offers incredible diversity and so much excitement for the palate. With so many styles, flavors and grape varieties in this vast wine making area, and multiple regions to explore, it’s hard to ever know everything about California wine. Every day, every winery visit is a new discovery – and our winery tours will give you a crash course on the best of the best.
As well being able to access some of the most exclusive wineries and vineyards in this state, you will also take in stunning surroundings and get to experience the wonderful gastronomy this state has to offer.
While the US boasts 9,000+ wineries, and around 4,500 of these are in California, that’s half of the entire nation’s wineries found within one state. The state with the second most wineries is Oregon, followed by Washington then New York. But these have only 793, 792 and 403 wineries respectively.
This prolific production and a booming wine industry is what makes the California wine regions so special. But it’s not just the incredible winery tours that make your experience so special. Californian lifestyle is famed for being enviably laidback, and wine culture is booming. And while Californians are known to be healthy, active and health-conscious, they are also lovers of quality wine and food.
There are many regions where the local wine culture can be experienced, but the best wineries are found in the main wine producing regions such as Napa and Sonoma. The North Coast area is home to the Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley, and it’s here where the most exclusive wine tours and tastings take place.
Napa Valley is known for its many boutique wineries but many discerning tourists also come here to enjoy the fine dining and Michelin star restaurants. There are just as many Michelin star restaurants in Sonoma Valley. However the atmosphere tends to be a bit more laidback in Sonoma, with excellent gastronomy delivered with the more relaxed ambience.
Overall, the wineries of California create a diverse and interesting portfolio of bottles, all distinct in their own flavor profiles based on the soil and climate of their grape growing area. With vineyards ranging from the eternally sun-drenched to locations with a cool sea breeze, the grapes all differ.
The wineries here produce more than one hundred AVAs in the state of California. AVAs are geographical locations recognized for their unique grape growing conditions, with each AVA having its own flavor distinctions. When visiting wineries, it’s important to know that even within specific regions, such as Napa or Sonoma, there are multiple AVAs within these regions.
The wine production is so diverse, with boutique producers and artisan wineries to established names. No two wines are ever the same here, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a wine connoisseur or a beginner, winery tours in California can delight and surprise you.
Each winery, regardless of region, may have its own particular style too. Two Chardonnay varietals from different regions can taste entirely different, in the same way that two Chardonnays from different producers can have their own unique characters.
Our winery tours will give you access to the secret world of grape growing and wine making in this sunny state. When touring the wineries, you’ll also learn about the AVA classifications and how to interpret the grape percentages based on the label on the bottle.
Our Napa Valley tours cover some of the most coveted wine destinations in the world, including family-run wineries, spectacular wine estates, iconic vineyards, and ultra-premium production sites.
Some of the best wineries to visit include Darioush, set within a visually intriguing location with 120 acres atop Mount Veeder, and Promontory, a winery that is accessible by private appointment only.
For a taste of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon in the US, we can take you to Round Pond Estate in Rutherford. This ultra-exclusive winery produces Cab like no other, with creations that re famed for being both pure and expressive in flavor.
Both Napa and Sonoma are outstanding locations for wine enthusiasts, so deciding between the two can be the most difficult part of your holiday. While Napa wins on being more high-end and expensive, Sonoma boasts an expansive and more spread out winery trail, with so many places to explore. It's almost double the size of Napa, and as a region grows more grapes in a variety of conditions.
Some wine purists will also tell you that Sonoma wineries are less commercialized, offering a much more authentic wine tasting experience for those ‘in the know’. Another reason to visit Sonoma’s wineries is the more relaxed atmosphere, which some of our clients prefer.
The best wineries and vineyards include Deloach Vineyards in the Russian River Valley area, GC Lurton Vineyards which is run by a family hailing from Bordeaux in France, and Buena Vista Winery which is set within a US National Historic Landmark.
All of our winery and vineyard tours include a chance to find out more about the production process, as well as tasting opportunities. Wine Paths aims to make your California winery holiday unforgettable, and so we always take an insightful approach to our winery visits, creating exciting yet educational and utterly exclusive wine tasting experiences.
Wine Paths aims to create perfect wine holidays for our clients, and can help to tailor travel packages for serious wine enthusiasts. Explore California’s wineries in style with us, and find out more about from our local travel expert Shelle.