6 California Destinations For Wine Lovers

California has a great climate for growing grapes and is well known for its quality vineyards and tasting rooms. Whether you're a native of the Golden State or are planning a visit out west sometime soon, be sure to check out the six destinations listed here. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Places In California That Wine Drinkers Should Visit

Name Location
Corison Winery Saint Helena, CA
Lake County Northern California
Loma Prieta Winery Los Gatos, CA
Benovia Winery Santa Rosa, CA
Jordan Winery Healdsburg, CA
Dashe Cellars Alameda, CA

5 Wine Variants

  1. Red Wine: Made from dark-colored grapes & involves extraction of color from the grape skin
  2. White Wine: Usually made from green or yellow grapes & is not stained by the skins
  3. Rosé Wine: Incorporates some color from grape skins, but to a lesser extent than red
  4. Fruit Wines: Made from fruits other than grapes, like apples or berries
  5. Mead: Made by fermenting honey

California History & Facts

Gift Ideas For Wine Lovers

How Wine Is Made

In Depth

For lovers of vino, there are few places that supply as much tasting pleasure as California. One of the biggest wine producers on the planet, the state boasts a diversity of climates ideally suited to the cultivation of world-class grapes. From the South Coast to the renowned regions of Napa and Sonoma, its abundant estates and vineyards provide both delicious libations and memorable experiences for those coming to visit. In no particular order, here are six California destinations wine aficionados can't go wrong checking out.

For #1 we have Corison Winery, located in Napa Valley. Founded in 1987, this small family farm is owned and operated by wife and husband Cathy Corison and William Martin, who produce artisanal Cabernet Sauvignons esteemed for their consistency and longevity. Their estate, which has been a farm since the late 19th century, features an elegant Victorian-style barn, an old house, a water tower, and an arboretum. Cathy and William source their grapes from three vineyards located between Rutherford and St. Helena, areas that yield uniquely complex Cabernets.

Visitors to Corison can participate in three daily appointment tastings. The Discovery Tasting option begins with a walk in the estate's Kronos Vineyard, and continues with a showcase of new releases. The next option up provides guests with a flight of single-vineyard Cabernets and selections from the library. Finally, serious collectors can enjoy a flight featuring multiple decades of Cabernet, including rare, sold-out library vintages. Corison members, meanwhile, receive benefits such as access to exclusive events and discounts on purchases.

Corison members, meanwhile, receive benefits such as access to exclusive events and discounts on purchases.

At #2 is the Lake County wine region, one of six counties belonging to the North Coast American Viticultural Area. Boasting over 8,400 acres of wine-producing land, it's less recognized than Napa but equally worthwhile due to its high-quality grapes and reasonable price points. Significantly, the region encompasses the largest freshwater body in the state, Clear Lake, as well as the land surrounding it, which ranges in elevation from 1,300 to more than 3,000 feet. Varying soils and micro-climates contribute to the area's distinctive yields.

Lake County is home to a number of wineries that span from Middletown to Upper Lake. Many of these locations emphasize sustainable, organic, and artisanal practices, such as Beaver Creek Vineyards, Brassfield Estate, and Stonehouse Cellars. There are also several family-run enterprises including Mt. Konocti Winery and Hawk and Horse Vineyards, as well as innovative boutiques such as Olof Cellars, which specializes in uncommon varietals. Guests can visit these places directly, or taste their many offerings at the county's Wine Studio.

For #3 we have Loma Prieta Winery, situated at 2,600 feet in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Founded by attorney Paul Kemp and his wife Amy, it stands as North America's biggest producer of Pinotage, a signature South African grape that's rare in California. Kemp fell in love with the grape after discovering it in a Lodi vineyard, and subsequently acquired as much of it as possible. Reflecting this focus, Loma Prieta operates the first wine club in the world devoted solely to the unique varietal.

Reflecting this focus, Loma Prieta operates the first wine club in the world devoted solely to the unique varietal.

In addition to its prolifically award-winning Pinotage, Loma Prieta produces acclaimed Pinot Noir sourced from the surrounding region, plus Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet, among other popular varietals. While the winery doesn't give private tours, it does offer year-round tastings on the weekends, with Friday hours added during the summer. Visitors can sip their drinks while playing bocce or giant chess, at the same time as they take in panoramic views of the Santa Cruz coastline and Monterey Bay.

Landing at #4 is Benovia Winery. Comprising three estate vineyards in the Russian River Valley, this winery specializes in nuanced, limited-production Pinot Noir and Chardonnay made with eco-friendly agricultural processes. Its sites include the secluded, 58-acre Martaella Estate, which utilizes 171 solar panels, and Tilton Hill, which is located closer to the ocean. Meanwhile, Benovia employs fully organic farming at its historic Cohn Vineyard, one of the last extant heritage vineyards in Sonoma County.

Tastings offered by Benovia come in the form of seated, privately hosted engagements made by appointment. For Nosh Noir, guests are treated to estate wines that are paired with local artisan cheeses and charcuterie. Another option allows visitors to try a range of estate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, as well as single-vineyard wines from neighboring partner sites. Finally, a third option involves tastings held on the back deck of the Benovia Ranch House, which features sweeping country views.

For Nosh Noir, guests are treated to estate wines that are paired with local artisan cheeses and charcuterie.

For #5 we come to Jordan Winery, a family-run establishment in Healdsburg that's inspired by the famous wine estates of France. At the heart of its operations is its iconic winery chateau, which was designed to serve both production and hospitality purposes. The chateau overlooks scenic vineyards and preserved natural land, and houses everything from a dining room to guest suites and cellars. Guests are able to explore the location through a walking tour, which also includes a seated tasting of cheese and hors d'oeuvres.

Other unique visitor experiences include an estate tour, which covers Jordan's vineyards, lakes, and chef's garden, and takes guests to remote destinations where they can picnic in the countryside. Among the tasting selections are current release Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Russian River Valley Chardonnay, as well as estate extra virgin olive oil and a variety of food pairings. On top of this and other tours and tastings, Jordan hosts myriad themed events, dinner parties, and vineyard hiking excursions.

Finally, arriving at #6 is Dashe Cellars, an artisan winery started by husband and wife team Michael and Anne in Oakland's Jack London Square. Bypassing the typical pastoral locations, they chose an urban area so that people could taste their product without having to venture out to the country. Now located in Alameda, Dashe continues to produce single-vineyard wines using a non-industrial, traditional approach, with grapes sourced from a number of small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties, among others.

Bypassing the typical pastoral locations, they chose an urban area so that people could taste their product without having to venture out to the country.

Dashe Cellars treats its guests with flights of wine in its distinctive urban tasting room, which is housed in a historic airplane hangar on Alameda Point. Situated in the winemaking area among tanks and oak barrels, the room gives guests the opportunity to try all kinds of vino while observing the processes of the facility. Dashe also offers a cellar tour that concludes with a seated tasting, plus a rotating selection of food trucks that stop by its patio on specific Saturdays.