Ask anyone on the street to name the best wine tours in California, and they'll probably say Napa or Sonoma without giving it any thought. While its true those regions established the reputation of California wine to the world, four decades later, the state has a growing number of standout winegrowing regions offering an amazing breadth of diversity to the California wine tasting landscape.
These are the top five wine tasting tour locations in California, that aren't in Napa or Sonoma county.
Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tours
Combine the gorgeous Southern California climate with award winning wines, golden hillsides, and a dash of old stagecoach history, and you get the Temecula Valley wine country. More than forty wineries practice the art of winemaking in Temecula, ranging from elegant, multi-million dollar winegrowing estates, to laid back mom and pop vineyards. As So Cal's favorite wine tasting getaway, it takes many return visits to find the best wine tasting rooms in Temecula. But we tend to think the best way to go about it is to hop into a jeep, and cruise the rolling hillsides in style, stopping at a hand-selected list of vineyards offering top wine tasting experiences.
Santa Barbara's Urban Wine Trail
Wine tasting in California isn't all about hillsides. Where the Amtrak cuts through Santa Barbara, between the wharf and a freeway overpass, there's a repurposed warehouse district known as the Funk Zone. Surprisingly, these ten blocks of asphalt are home to more than a dozen winery tasting rooms on the city-wide Urban Wine Trail, highlighting nearby growing regions in the Santa Rita Hills and Santa Ynez Valley. You may grab a local tasting room map and easily walk between the cluster of small locations for a modern, gritty take on a wine tour.
Foxen Canyon Trail
The Central Coast of California is one of the country's most fertile agricultural regions, and between the copious sunshine and cooling sea air, it's almost a given the place should have some of the state's best wine tours. Best known as the setting of the oenophile movie comedy Sideways, the region is bracketed on the south by Danish-styled tourist trap, Solvang. But Foxen Canyon Road in Los Olivos comprises a seventeen mile stretch of well-regarded hillside wineries, offering California wine tours conducive to designated drivers and passenger shuttles. Nobody will make you drink merlot.
San Luis Obispo
Further up the coast, a newer wine-growing region is just beginning to make its mark as a California wine tour destination. The region southeast of San Luis Obispo, just past kitschy landmark hotel The Madonna Inn, has become fertile ground for over a dozen tasting rooms, representing an even greater number of regional winemakers. Mostly surrounding the old township of Edna, the best wine tours here are taken as California wine tasting day trip while staying in the nearby town known to the locals as SLO.
Carmel-by-the-Sea Wine Walk
While Santa Barbara has an Urban Wine Trail, Carmel-by-the-Sea has the Wine Walk. Both feature a dozen winery tasting rooms within easy walking distance of one another, but that's where the similarities end. Carmel Village is the farthest thing from urban. It's a quaint little beach town furnishing upscale galleries and boutiques, doing business in converted Tudor homes just a block or two from picturesque coastline as far as the eye can see. Local wines here are still building a reputation, but it's tough to beat the scenery.
The best is still a Temecula Valley Jeep & Wine Tour
For the perfect weekend getaway no matter where in Southern California, let us show you what the Temecula Valley is all about. Contact us today to schedule one of California's top wine tours.