January 5 2011 by Claudia Kunkel
My husband and I decided to make the trip back to the Napa and Sonoma vineyards with friends and visited in November. The weather was perfect; the leaves on the vines had turned into breathtaking autumn colors and best of all, no crowds. At times it seemed we were the only ones traveling up and down the scenic roads in search of the smaller, quainter wineries. Another positive in touring at this time of the year is that with fewer people, the wineries have more time to tutor you in the fine art of wine tasting.
A few tips when traveling to Napa and Sonoma - try to plan your route and the wineries you would like to see before you begin. Napa and Sonoma are right next to each other and there are approximately 250 wineries in Napa and 200 wineries in Sonoma. It can be daunting to decide which wineries you want to visit, but if you can narrow it down to your own personal tastes in wines and selecting vineyards that range from the very large corporate owned vineyards in Napa to Sonoma with its rural, family-owned vineyards, it will make your trip much more enjoyable.
By no means does Napa and Sonoma have the market cornered on excellent wines and charming wineries. All across the United States you can find unique and excellent wines, including Oregon, Washington, Arizona, and throughout the Eastern states. In interest of time and space, I've limited my selections to the ones in Napa and Sonoma, having recently visited the area. I'm also partial to big, earthy Cabs, so I could be a tad bit biased.
Kamen Estate Wines
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard
Santa Rose, CA
Chateau St. Jean
St. Helena, CA
St. Helena, California
Start planning your wine tour now. You'll find renowned restaurants and gorgeous scenery to accompany your leisurely drive through miles of vineyards. There are also great hotels to help make your stay less hectic including the Best Western Sonoma Valley Inn & Krug Event Center in Sonoma. If you have a favorite vineyard around the United States, let me know!