First Trip to the Wine Country of California written

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If you have never been to North California, the much-acclaimed wine country, then you have been missing out on great fun. If you are a wine aficionado, then you have been missing out on some tantalizing tastes. Napa Valley and Sonoma County in North California are home to the most coveted grapes in the world. If you have never been to these destinations, don’t worry, it is not too late. This article will inspire your itinerary to the wine country. Below is a run-down of the wine country’s must-visit destinations:

Silverado Trail

This country road is hedged with shady oaks and the finest wines. There are so many wineries along the way; so many that you cannot visit them all even if you travel the road for one week uninterrupted. You can opt to drive or pedal a bike along the tranquil, picturesque route.

The real difficulty is deciding where to begin your itinerary. You will obviously be spoilt for choice when choosing from amongst the prestigious wineries the place to begin your wine sampling experience. The most prestigious wineries along the Silverado Trail include Joseph Phelps, Miner Family Winery, and ZD Wines. If you are a lover of sparkling wine, then make a stop at Mumm Napa.

Wine Country of California

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You can take your lunch at the Meadowood Napa Valley, and, in case you have a lot to spend, a dinner at The Restaurant at Meadowood. The Restaurant at Meadowood is famed for its excellent service as well as its farm-to-table offerings which are served with choice and exquisite wines.

There is a slew of country inns and resorts around the Silverado Trail; for example, the Solage Calistoga and the Auberge du Soleil.

Dry Creek and Sonoma Valleys

Do you continually hunger for spicy Zinfandels? Well, if that is so, then the Dry Creek and Sonoma Valleys are your ultimate destination. These valleys that flank the Russian River abound with spicy Zinfandels as well as an impressive array of other varietals.

Sonoma Valley is not like any other place in California: it is regarded as the cradle of California’s commercial wine industry. It especially abounds with Zinfandels.

While here, you can head to the home of wine pioneers at the Buena Vista Winery- which was founded in 1857 as the first premium winery in California. For more picturesque views, climb to the villa-like Chateau St. Jean. Here you can sample a wide variety of wines, buy charcuterie, have an on-site picnic as well as tour formal gardens.

On the west bank of the Russian River is the Dry Creek Valley which is resplendent of Tuscany and Piedmont in Italy. It is said that the early Italian wine-grape farmers found a home here, thus, planting the Carignane grapes, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah. The sunny weather of this region is suitable for those big reds.

You will find great respite in the well-manicured lawns of the very friendly Bella Vineyards. You can also learn about biodynamic agriculture techniques at the beautiful organic gardens of Quivira.

St. Helena 

This is regarded as the ideal place to go for a massage, dining and shopping. It features a bumper crop of cute cafes, art galleries and shops. This is the perfect place for the wine connoisseur to go to sample the most potent of wines. The Merryvale Vineyards has daily tasting seminars’ in its cask room. There are plenty other tasting rooms where you can quench your thirst for wine with palette-charming vintage tastes.

You can head to the Hall Vineyard and revel in fine wines while admiring edgy art. The Hall Vineyard is bedecked with sculptures and other beautiful installations.

Back in town, you can visit the Health Spa Napa Valley for a massage by a skilled masseuse, and when done, get ready for tantalizing dinner prepared by upcoming chefs at the Culinary Institute of America in the Magnificent Greystone estate.

Yountville

Gourmets will be home in Yountville. This is the ideal place to munch on mouthwatering cuisines that will leave you hungering for more. Some little history: The man who made Yountville famous as a gourmet’s ultimate destination is called Thomas Keller, a very refined chef. He practiced his culinary skills at The French Laundry, a restaurant whose control he took over in 1994, thus, making The French Laundry a go-to restaurant in Napa wine country. This restaurant is still a rocking success in Napa wine country.

There are a couple other restaurants that feature enviable culinary expertise, for example: Redd, Bistro Jeanty, Bottego and Etoile. You can also visit some in-town wine tasting rooms and sample wines from over 20 vintner partners.

Healdsburg

From swanky restaurants that glow at dusk, boutiques that tempt at every turn, tasting rooms teeming with wine connoisseurs to the picturesque town square that has every nature lover captivated, Healdsburg is just as amazing as everyone says it is.

And there are plenty of things you can do here: you can stop at Healdsburg Shed that features a miscellany of cookbooks, kitchenware, and an impressive range of garden tools; or you can visit the farmers market that is twice-a-week crowded with farmers who come with their fresh, local and sustainably cultivated fruits and vegetables. You can try any other thing from a variety of many other activities in Healdsburg.

Downtown Napa

This town teems with tourists and other visitors all-year round. The visitors come to sample fine wines at the many tasting rooms that can be found at every corner, or sate their appetite at one of the many celebrity-chef restaurants here, or enjoy viewing the scenic parks.

The major highlights in this town include the Oxbow Market, a food hall where folk can slurp in fresh oysters, chocolate truffles etc. Or you can head to Morimoto Napa and enjoy seafood at Celadon.

Calistoga

In Calistoga you can enjoy a hot air balloon ride- float above the morning mist, look out across the still valley as the sun casts its rays on the surrounding hills, then, once on the earth again, cap it all off with a stimulating glass of bubbly wine. There are also a range of spas and resorts that provide a rich variety of services.

North California, the wine country, awaits you to immerse yourself in all its offerings.

Feature Image Credit: en.wikipedia.org

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