We’re incredibly lucky to have one of the top locations in the world for wine tasting right in our own backyard. When people think of the best vineyards, they think of California. And why not? California boasts cozy caverns, scenic vineyards and more then 50 types of grapes. What better way to tour the top California wine regions then in an RV. Your home away from home is ready and waiting.
When most people think of So-Cal they think of Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Malibu. For the wine lover, winemaking has been taking place in these wine regions since the late 1700s. Grab some lunch and road trip up to the high elevation wineries in Malibu. Elevations range from sea level to 3,111 feet at Sandstone Peak. The newly granted Malibu Coast AVA is mainly in the Santa Monica Mountains and is about 46 miles long and 8 miles wide and includes 198 acres of vines for 52 grape growers. The high elevation in this “region’s climate, soils and unique aspects affect the taste of the wine produced.” Check out this post, by Wine Folly for an easy to understand write up of why that’s important. Why does this matter? It matters because the combination produces the delicious wine we know and love in Malibu.
While driving along the coast, don’t forget to stop by Mission San Diego de Alcala, as they are home to the oldest grapes in California. About an hour northeast of San Diego, off the beaten path, you can stumble upon Temecula. Best known for their Italian and Rhône varietals and the annual Balloon and Wine Festival. The Cucamonga Valley should also be on your hit list. Famous for preserving the past with historic vineyards and ranches and their old-vine Zinfandel and Portstyle wines.
HIGHWAY 1 – THE CENTRAL COAST.
If you’re doing a California road trip, how can you not drive highway 1? The coastal ocean views, the winding road, the wine along the way. Starting in LA, a quick two hour drive north make sure to stop downtown Santa Barbara for lunch and visit beautiful State Street and sample some of the regional wines at one of the street’s many tasting rooms. From there head inland. The Paso Robles wine region is unique as the day/night temperature swings create bold red wines that are a must. Paso Robles is about half way between LA and San Fran.
Continue heading north towards Monterey and stop by A Taste of Monterey, the regions ofﬁcial wine visitors center. You can learn all about Monterey Bay’s unique landscape and how it effects the vineyards, sample the regions wine, and maybe spot the whales migrating.
Next stop, San Fran. Home of amazing restaurants, fresh local foods and the urban wine movement. During the day, wine and dine on Fisherman’s Wharf, then head to Jackson Square and sample wines at the various wine bars downtown. Check out this half day tour.
Any road trip that’s centered around wine tasting isn’t complete without stopping in Napa Valley. Just an hour northeast of San Francisco, start the day wandering downtown Napa and enjoy some local wines at the Oxbow Public Market. Head up Highway 29 to ﬁll your sights with what Napa Valley has to offer, stopping at renowned wineries for tastings. Keep an eye out for the landmark sign “Wine is bottled poetry” as quoted by Robert Louis Stevenson after a visit to Napa Valley in the 1880s. Known for its life-change Cabernet, Napa Valley boasts tiered hillsides, wine caverns and illustrious estates, making for stellar scenery every wine lover will swoon over.
Sonoma Valley, also know as Valley of the Moon, offers a bit more laid back atmosphere in comparison to Napa Valley. However, there are still more than 400 wineries with some of the best being: Chateau St. Jean, Simi, Sebastiani, Rodney Strong, Marcassin, Paul Hobbs, La Crema, and Kistler. The Somona Valley is known for its cool-climate Pinot Noirs. Be sure to taste a variety. While in the valley, Sonoma Plaza lies in the heart and offers a historic view of the country.
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