5 Places To Find Great Wine In California

There's a reason California is renowned for its wine: from Temecula to the North Coast, its wide and varied microclimates provide the perfect conditions for cultivating rich, delectable grapes. For lovers of vino looking for their next obsession, here are, in no particular order, some companies in the Golden State offering exceptional wines.

Landing at #1 is Santa Barbara Wine Collective, which brings diverse fine wines from throughout the county into a shared tasting room experience. Highlighting the region's unique terroir, the group showcases its favorite, family-owned establishments that operate locally within the county's six official A.V.A.'s.

Highlighting the region's unique terroir, the group showcases its favorite, family-owned establishments that operate locally within the county's six official A.V.A.'s.

Customers at the tasting room can order Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and mixed flights, or they can build their own flights by selecting from the wine list. Additionally, Santa Barbara Wine Collective accommodates various private events, from intimate dinner parties to large cocktail receptions. Catering is provided by one of its on-site caterers.

For #2 we find Broc Cellars. Located in Berkeley, this company makes all of its wines with spontaneous fermentation, using only native yeasts and bacteria that exist on the grapes. Emphasizing natural ingredients and techniques, it forgoes synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, and fertilizers, and adds no popular fermentation agents.

Among Broc Cellars' offerings is a line called Love Wines, which features vino that's both affordable and made with minimal intervention and sustainable farming. Love blends are available in cans as well as traditional bottles. Broc Cellars also partners with BREA Wine Company to produce Cabernet, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay.

Coming in at #3 is Woodenhead, a Santa Rosa-based winery that describes its process as "Burgundian done California-style." It offers varietals such as Charbono, French Colombard, Syrah, and Zinfandel, plus sparkling wines and special blends. The company stresses the use of inoculated yeast and malolactic cultures, hand-punching, French oak, and locally and sustainably grown fruit.

Situated just west of Highway 101, Woodenhead's tasting room deck features views of the vineyards and hills of the Russian River Valley. Customers wanting more can join a Woodenhead Wine Club, and receive discounts, pre-releases, special vintages, and invitations to member-only events. They'll also get biannual shipments curated by winemaker Nikolai Stez.

For #4 we have Halter Ranch, located on the west side of Paso Robles. With a storied history and a commitment to sustainable methods and environmental conservation, today it spans over 2,000 acres. Less than a quarter of the Ranch is dedicated to farming and structures; the rest is left to natural landscape, specifically oak woodland and wildlife corridors.

Halter Ranch produces a number of varietals, including Picpoul Blanc, Grenache, and Viognier. At its tasting room, guests can try a seasonal food and wine pairing menu prepared by the executive chef. They can also embark on vineyard horseback tours, or discover the history and culture of the Ranch in a private, behind-the-scenes look at the company's operations. For members, there are self-guided hikes on trails that encircle the property.

Finally, arriving at #5 is Seavey. Based on a historic vineyard in Conn Valley, this winery was started in 1990 by Bill and Mary Seavey. Focused on small-scale production, the estate maintains 40 planted acres, with all of its grapes grown entirely on-site. One of the company's most important goals is to serve as an environmental steward by preserving its open space, developing sustainable farming practices, and investing in green technologies.

Seavey's flagship offering is its Cabernet Sauvignon, which is crafted for classic Bordeaux-style richness, finesse, and balanced cellar aging. There's also a Caravina Cabernet meant for earlier drinking, plus plenty of Merlot and Chardonnay. Visitors to the estate can choose from two private tasting experiences, both of which include tours of Seavey's winemaking facility and historic stone barn.