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Pismo Beach Dune Buggy Experience
"Rent your dune buggy in Oceano just 5 minutes down the road from Pismo Beach at your selected time. Get fitted with your gear and receive a safety orientation. You will then hop on an open-air tram which will drive you a mile down the beach to the staging area. Hop in the driver's seat or passenger's seat of your fully automatic 4-wheeler dune buggy and zoom off through the Oceano Dunes.The Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area is among the most unique California State Parks as the only place where you can drive your own vehicle on a public beach. Spend two hours exploring first approximately 2 miles (3 km) of scenic beachfront before zipping and zooming through 1500 acres (607 hectares) or rolling sand dunes in your dune buggy — a fun exciting way to spend a day along the beautiful California coast!Upon completion of your dune buggy adventure
From $124.00
Wine Country Biking Tour in Santa Barbara
"Your group will be picked up by air-conditioned vans at a prearranged meeting spot at 10:00 AM. We will then shuttle by van to the Santa Ynez Valley. After getting riders fitted we ride along the scenic back-roads to our first winery. Once there the winery staff takes us for a tasting and your guide will prepare an enjoyable “deli spread” picnic lunch with lots of options. Cold beverages and water will be provided throughout the tour. Then we pedal on to the second winery. Your guides wil and several wineries extend discounts on wine purchases to our guests. This trip receives rave reviews from guests. We have done similar tours for wine and travel writers corporate groups bachelorette and birthday parties as well as families and tourists. This is the wine tour that was featured on the television show Giuliana and Bill."
From $159.00
Paso Robles Wine Adventure
"You can expect to meet other wine enthusiasts and get to know them over the course of the day. You'll spend the day with a small group and visit between 4-6 wineries. Your group will discuss various options with your guide and craft an itinerary of winer those that are family-owned historic and off-the-beaten path but there are no strict rules. Your guides try to avoid taking you to places you have already visited (unless you want to go back!). They will point out landmarks and wineries along the way tell stories and talk about the local history and of course wine making
From $69.00

Wine Country Tips (14)

A Taste of Napa County Wine

There are hundreds of wineries in Napa County, the heart of wine country in California. This area is ideally suited for growing grapes as it is warm but protected by fog and not prone to freezes. Many of the best wineries brought wine grape seedlings from the greatest wineries in Europe to thrive in California and produce amazing wines. Years ago wine tastings at the wineries were complimentary and the only thing you paid for was a bottle of the best wine you tasted, if you wished to buy one. Now the wine tastings cost but are still an experience to taste the best wines and decide which ones are to your liking before buying. Listed below are Napa County wineries that have tastings or special offers (check with the individual winery to make sure of their offer, current prices, etc).

Acacia Vineyard
tel. +1 707.226.9991
tel. +1 877.226.1700
2750 Las Amigas Road
Napa, CA 94558
Two for One Tasting Flight

Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards
tel. +1 707.963.8600
680 Rossi Rd.
St. Helena, CA 94574
Reserve Cave Tasting - $45 per person

Black Stallion Winery
tel. +1 707.227.3250
tel. +1 888.279.6272
4089 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
Two for One Tasting Coupon!

Bourassa Vineyards
tel. +1 707 254-4922
190 Camino Oruga Ste 5
Napa, CA 94558
Complimentary 2 for 1 VIP Tasting PLUS!

Beaulieu Vineyard
tel. +1 707.967.5233
1960 St. Helena Hwy
Rutherford, CA 94573
2 Tastings for the Price of 1

Beringer Vineyards
tel. +1 707.963.8989
tel. +1 1.866.708.9463
2000 Main St
St. Helena, CA 94574
2 for 1 Tasting in the Old Winery

Burgess Cellars
tel. +1 707.963.4766
tel. +1 800.752.9463
1108 Deer Park Rd.
Deer Park, CA 94576
Complimentary Tasting With Purchase

Chateau Montelena Winery
tel. +1 707.942.5105
1429 Tubbs Ln.
Calistoga, CA 94515
Reserve a Tour or Tasting

Chimney Rock Winery
Tel. +1 707.257.2641
5350 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
free seasonal treat with purchase of a tasting

Clif Family Winery at Velo Vino
tel. +1 707.968.0625
709 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
$5 Off Paso Gavia Tasting

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Calistoga
tel. +1 707.942.2468
tel. +1 800-253-9463
4550 Silverado Trail North
Calistoga, CA 94515
Complimentary Tasting for Two with Purchase

Cuvaison Estate Wines - Carneros
tel. +1 707.942.2455
tel. +1 800.253.9463
1221 Duhig Road
Napa, CA 94559
Complimentary Tasting for Two with Purchase

Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards
tel. +1 707.967.8032
tel. +1 800.913.1118
677 St. Helena Highway
St. Helena, CA 94574
2 for 1 Signature Tasting OR 10% off Vineyard Courtyard

tel. +1 707.967.3993
1178 Galleron Road
St. Helena, CA 94574
Tasting Offer!

Hall Winery - St. Helena
tel. +1 707.967.2626
tel. +1 866.667.4255
401 St. Helena Highway South
St. Helena, CA 94574
Special Offer

The Hess Collection Winery
tel. +1 707.255.1144
tel. +1 877.707.4377
4411 Redwood Road
Napa, CA 94558
Tasting Pass 2 for the price of 1

Jamieson Ranch (Reata)
tel. +1 707.254.8673
1 Kirkland Ranch Road
Napa, CA 94558
2 for 1 Cheese Plate!

Midsummer Cellars
tel. +1 707.967.0432
264 N Fork Crystal Springs Rd
St. Helena, CA 94574
Tour & Taste with Winemaker Rollie Heitz!

Merryvale Napa Valley
tel. +1 707.963.7777
tel. +1 800.326.6069
1000 Main Street
St. Helena, CA 94574
2 for 1 Signature Tasting

Mumm Napa
tel. +1 707-967-7770
8445 Silverado Trail
Rutherford, CA 94573
2 for 1 Tour Pass

Prager Winery & Port Works
tel. +1 707.963.7678
tel. +1 800.969.7678
1281 Lewelling Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
Premium Tastings for $20

Robert Mondavi Winery
tel. +1 707.968.2000
tel. +1 888.766.6328
7801 St. Helena Highway
Oakville, CA 94562

Rutherford Ranch Winery
tel. +1 707-968-3200
1680 Silverado Trail S
St. Helena, CA 94574
Chocolate and Wine Pairing Offer-2 for 1

St. Clement Vineyards
tel. +1 707.265.5000
tel. +1 866.877.5939
2867 St. Helena Hwy North
St. Helena, CA 94574
2 for 1 Tasting

St. Supery Estate Vineyards & Winery
tel. +1 707.963.4533
tel. +1 800.942.0809
8440 St. Helena Highway
Rutherford, CA 94573
Comp Library Taste with Purchase

Sterling Vineyards
tel. +1 707.942.3344
tel. +1 800.726.6136
1111 Dunaweal Lane
Calistoga, CA 94515
Discount Passport-$5 off

Silverado Vineyards
tel. +1 707.257.1770
tel. +1 800.997.1770
6121 Silverado Trail
Napa, CA 94558
10% Off Purchase Offer

V. Sattui Winery
tel. +1 707.963.7774
1111 White Lane
St. Helena, CA 94574
VIDEO & Wine Tasting Offer!

William Hill Estate Winery
tel. +1 707 265 3024
1761 Atlas Peak Road
Napa, CA 94558
Half Off Tasting or Vineyard Experience

Did you know each 5-ounce glass of wine took a little over half a pound of grapes to make?

JulieJueletha's Profile Photo
Dec 07, 2013

Sonoma: Wine Region

It is no small wonder that assorted artists including Jack London have found their creative juices flowing more freely in the land of grapes commonly known as the Sonoma Valley. Nor is it surprising that indigenous people basked in an idyllic slice of what was to become California for some 12,000 years before it was ceremoniously invaded by the Spanish, Mexicans, and finally American east coasters looking to expand their horizons. With its close proximity to San Francisco it is also far from startling that it can become quite crowded on any given weekend. But with some care like going midweek and stopping at convenient picnic areas along the road, one can enjoy a relatively peaceful outing in this most pleasant corner of our planet. It’s not likely you’ll visit northern California and miss this excursion even if you don’t enjoy wine and if grapey pleasures are among your leanings, you’re likely to want to linger too.

richiecdisc's Profile Photo
Oct 10, 2009

The North Bay - Sonoma, Napa, etc.

North of San Francisco is the area often referred to as the "Wine Country" but which is really much more diverse and includes the southern part of the Redwood Empire, a coastal region stretching up to Oregon.

This region includes many wineriers and was not only the home of the recent wine boom starting in the 1970s, but was long a major wine-growing region starting by the 1850s.

In addition to wine, the region, particularly Sonoma County, has recently grown as a significant destination for craft beers and beer tasting. There are, at last count, 7 microbreweries and brewpubs in Sonoma County, 2 or 3 in Napa, 2 in Marin, and 4 in Mendocino, not to mention some in neighbouring counties. Some in particular, most notably Russian River Brewing and Moonlight Brewing in Santa Rosa and North Coast in Fort Bragg, have become major beer destinations.

In addition, it has numerous interesting towns and cities with history and historical architecture. The largest is Santa Rosa in Sonoma County, a northern Mexican outpost in the 1830s, home of Luther Burbank and Charles Schulz among others, and a major regional industrial and commercial centre. Napa is the largest town in Napa County and has a number of interesting old buildings. Sonoma was the northernmost major Mexican settlement, home of the last Spanish/Mexican mission, the site of the Bear Flag Revolt of 1846, and has many historical buildings, with a unquely well-preseved Mexican pueblo layout and feel. Petaluma has the largest collection of ironfront Victorian commercial buildings on the West Coast after Portland, Oregon and was home to the modern poultry incubator and poultry industry. The oldest roadhouse in California, the Washoe House, sits near Cotati in Sonoma County and has been in operation since 1859.

The area includes rugged, cool, foggy coast as well as dry inland valleys and low monatain ranges that often see some snow in the winter.

WulfstanTraveller's Profile Photo
Jul 15, 2009

Wine Tasting

California presents excellent opportunities for wine tasting. Napa and Sonoma Counties offer some of the best tasting available. One way to explore the wine country is to head north on U.S. 101 from San Francisco to River Road just past Santa Rosa. Head west on River Road and look for the winery signs that resemble road signs. Then explore the wineries as your adventure unfolds.

Other fantastic places for tasting surround the cities of Healdsburg, Sonoma, and Napa. I personally like the Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and Chardonnay from Sonoma County. In fact, the Pinot Noir from Sonoma's Russian River Valley can be exquisite. I also find the Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay from Napa County to be among the best.

Some wineries offer free tastings, others charge a small fee. Usually tasting rooms are located right at the vineyards. Tasting rooms are also available in cities like Sonoma and Healdsburg that may feature one winery or offer tastings from selected regional wineries. Fortunately, wine tasking is not limited to these areas, and wineries can be found through most of the state. Even the gold rush era town of Nevada City has wine tasting. Keep your eyes open for them in California. Be careful not to overdo the tastings if you are unlucky enough to be driving.

SteveOSF's Profile Photo
Mar 20, 2008
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Napa Valley

The Napa Valley deserves its reputation as the greatest wine region in the Americas. This valley and the mountains around it are packed with unique wineries, architectural gems, great restaurants, and more. However, this place also has a reputation for being being overly serious and snooty because many parts are such a tourist trap. The geography of the valley is deceptive enough that many tourists visiting in a hurry end up being trapped by larger wineries along either highway 29 or Silverado Trail, both routes of which run from south-north along the valley floor. To properly unlock the secrets to this complex geographical region and for more of an "insider" view to a carefully organized trip, see my pages for NapaL%*, Saint Helena, Calistoga, Oakville, and Angwin. I've got tons of images and tips for these communities of the Napa Valley.

atufft's Profile Photo
Feb 15, 2008

Taste the Wine

California has more than one wine country. Napa valley is the place everybody knows, but just as nice (and far less crowded) is neighbouring Sonoma valley, and farther south near San Luis Obispo is the wineland of Paso Robles (if anybody saw Sideways, that's the area). I've been winetasting in all of those places, but my favourites are in Sonoma County. The scenery is reminiscent of, dare I use this over cliched place, Tuscany, with a bit of Provence thrown in, and many of the wineries do not yet charge for tastings (that is changing, however, so beware). You get some really great Pinot Noirs in this part of the world, and California is the only place that grows the grapes for Zinfandels.

Some of the wineries are small affairs, run from renovated barns, while others are the cheek of opulence, such as Sonoma's Ferrari Carrano, or Napa's Domaine Carneros, a stunning French-style chateau on the hillside. More extravagant still is the Niebaum Coppola winery, owned by film-maker Francis Ford Coppola; above the lavish tasting room are exhibits from his movies, including the desk behind which Don Corleone sat while ordering his men to make people offers they cannot refuse. It's great stuff for the wine-tourists, but give me a nice quiet winery any day.

rickyvilla81's Profile Photo
Dec 14, 2006

Over-rated Napa

Avoid Napa valley if you are a first time wine tourist. The wineries started offering tastings to capture the tourists and to show that their wines were just as fine as those found overseas. The vintners soon found that it was too expensive to get the tourists drunk and started charging for tastes. Now the tasting is so limited, so generic... it's not worth it unless you have a specific winery you'd like to visit.

Instead... go to the Livermore Valley. As you cross over the hayward hills you'll find all kinds of little valley's full of small, independent wineries, staffed by the vintner him/herself. As you enter into the tri-valley get off on Stanley Blvd and head to Ruby Hills to start your wine experience. Here you'll find Mitchell Katz, Ivan Thomas, Wente, Concannon, Stony Ridge, and over 60 wineries tucked away in the hills. This is the true wine experience. Growers coming out of the fields, wiping their hands of dirt to pour you a glass of their finest.

These wines do not disappoint. Boutique wineries offer you an experience that the big boys in Napa do not. If you want lines, indifference, and high prices, then head to Napa. If you want to relax, converse with the vintner and discover some new wines without the snobbery, then head to Livermore Valley.

zoefraser's Profile Photo
Dec 26, 2005

Napa Valley

If you love wine, Napa Valley is the place for you. It's located about an hour drive north of San Francisco, an easy day trip from the city. I don't know if it's the largest wine area in California (my guess is that it isn't) but it is probably the most famous. Which makes it very touristic and at times very crowded. The good part is that there are so many wineries to choose from, that you'll be able to find a place to your own liking. I personally like V. Sattui winery. Their wine is good, they don't charge for tasting (which most wineries do) and they have a large garden where you can picnic. But it can be crowded on weekends.

If you're interested in wine-making, most wineries offer tours in which they explain the process. Some wineries have art on display. In general the theme throughout Napa is wine, food, and art. The Napa Wine Tasting train is a popular attraction. It offers a tour via train of the Napa Valley wineries and it can include dinner.

If you are not a wine lover Napa is not for you. There are other things that can be done at Napa like a hot air balloon ride over the valley but in general everything revolves around wine. The countryside is beautiful you can take great pictures here (especially if you visit when they harvest the grapes). And if you get bored with touring wineries, there are some hiking opportunities nearby.

Andraf's Profile Photo
Jul 08, 2004

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Vineyards in Sonoma

Visiting the Vineyards of Napa and Sonoma is quite an experience. The landscape is picturesque and you can spend days visiting the Vineyards and tasting the wines. Just keep driving until you pass by one that interests you. Many of the vineyards sell delicious food that pairs well with the various wines and offer you tours of their land. Definitely a great way to spend a day!

laosa13's Profile Photo
Feb 08, 2004

Nappa Valley We had quite bad...

Nappa Valley We had quite bad weather in San Francisco but just few miles in the north the weather was great.. and the wine as well. So, if you like to taste vine you should visit the vineyards in that area.

socrates_07's Profile Photo
Sep 07, 2002

The Napa valley, about 55...

The Napa valley, about 55 miles from San Francisco is where you will find many wineries like Mondavi, Domaine Chandon, Niebaum-Coppola, Beringer and many others. Just follow highway 29 through the small communities of Napa, Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Calistoga. Try not to go on a week-end when the traffic is heavy.

Jeannette1's Profile Photo
Aug 25, 2002

Napa Valley California wine...

Napa Valley California wine country very romantic and beautiful. Great for a honeymoon.

San Francisco is Awesome! This Picture was taken from the Transamerica building. Lots to see and do. Check out the Golden Gate Bridge and Lombard street. Very easy to get around. Walking friendly.

Aug 24, 2002

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