Like wine but cannot afford a trip to European countries? Then California is a good place to get the same European experience without having to obtain a passport and shots. From Chardonnay to Pinot Noir and from Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon, Southern and Northern California have want you like. No two regions are alike in the each have their own unique micro-climate because of the terrain they call home and each location is different ranging from rustic farm houses to grandiose modern architectural gems of building.
The mild winters and warm to hot summers are perfect tempuras to grow a large variety of native and imported grapes. Lets start in Southern California where two hundred years ago when Mission San Juan Capistrano produce the first bottles of wine. At the time, the mission had over 1,800 acres, but with today’s development, the land has considerably been reduced, but the product has not.
Temecula: The winery was established in 1971 and by all accounts is considered to be the youngest of the California Wineries. Cool breezes keep the smog away while the location enjoys the high intensity of the sun when compared to other wineries. Temecula wineries enjoy underground aquifers to help irrigate the grapes while decomposing granite soil help control the insects. The area’s highest peak and highest vineyard is Shadow Mountain which is 4,400 above sea level.
Santa Barbara: With its interesting orientation of its mountain range (East to West) it is open to Pacific breezes which offers several different climates in and of itself with warm days and cool nights which allows for stronger and proper sugar and acid levels in grapes. Further the climates allow working of the vineyards year around from planting in the Spring to harvest in the Fall. This area closely mirrors the Rhine Valley in France.
Northern California is better known for their vineyards and several have won many awards, thus making it a wine lover’s ultimate travel location. The total acreage of all of the wineries produces on average 150,000 tons of grapes per year.
Napa Valley: The area is only 35 miles long and five miles wide, it is the busiest of the winery locations for tourists, but it offers a lot more in the way of tasting tours as well as art galleries and shops as well as hot air balloon rides and the infamous Napa Wine Train.
Sonoma Valley: This winery only boasts 1,600 square miles of vineyards and is more laid back and quiet compared to Napa Valley. This winery was started in the 1800s by the Franciscan Padres and because of the fog and wind that is commonplace, this location is the best for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes.
Mendocino Valley: Located on 3,500 square miles, these vineyards were established in 1812 by Russian Colonists with the first plantings and the wine industry was founded by Spanish Franciscans in 1823. Before prohibition the area boasted over 256 wineries, however, today the area is only home to about fifty wineries.
While planning a wine tour can be stressful, there are two companies online that can help you with your needs and wants. They can further personally plan your trip to ensure a well thought out trip and provide you with any information that you need. Those sites are www.inetours.com and www.winetoursinc.com. It would be helpful to use a tour planner to make sure the one gets the most out of their experience in California wine country.