The California Wine Country
California is the state in the USA where the most wine is produced. Every year millions of litres of good quality table wine are produced in this USA state, as well as more and more of high quality vintage wines. The best-known wine growing regions in the state are the Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley along with the neighbouring regions of Mendocino and Lake County. They can be found 80 to 240 miles north of San Francisco. The Central Coast Wine Growing Regions are situated on the slopes and valleys of the coastal mountains from Monterey south to Santa Barbara. Some of the less well-known wine-growing regions are scattered throughout the remainder of the state. If you should require an ESTA Visa to enter the USA then you only need to fill out the United States ESTA application form.
The varied terrain of California with its mountains, valleys and deserts provides an almost limitless range of climatic zones, which are very suitable for many different types of vines. Nowadays California wineries produce many varieties of wines and they are always eager to add to their variety. The climates and soils in California are particularly suitable for a few specific types of grapes that produce the excellent wine. The California Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are excellent wines and Cabernet Sauvignon is a very good red wine. Zinfandel is a distinctive grape variety in California, which makes a very good red wine.
The best-known wine growing regions in the state are the Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley along with the neighboring regions of Mendocino County and Lake County. A visit to the California wine regions can be very interesting and fun. Many of the wineries offer free tours and free wine tastings. The scenery in the wine growing regions is very picturesque and there are a number of fine restaurants.
Sonoma Valley, California
The Sonoma County region begins in petuluma approximately 48 miles north of the San Francisco Bay area and extends to the north up to Healdsburg. Highway 101 bisects the area with the town of Santa Rosa almost in the middle. Sonoma County is divided into several sub-districts such as Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley. Santa Rosa and its neighboring towns in the farmlands and vineyards, offer the visitors some great restaurants, inns and spas. Some of the big name wineries include the Benziger Family Winery, which is family winery that’s certified sustainable and organic. It has beautiful grounds a tasting room, an excellent outdoor picnic area and a gift shop. Founded in 1857, the Buena Vista Carneros Winery is California’s oldest premium winery with beautiful grounds and a self-guided tour. Pinot Noir and chardonnay are their specialty.
North Coast Wineries
Mendocino and the Lake Counties can be found north of the Sonoma and Napa Valley regions. They are less popular with the tourist crowds than Napa and Sonoma, but they also contain many wineries that produce top quality wines. Mendowine is located, north of Napa and this winery is famous for its immense redwoods and good-value wines. The cool, sleepy Anderson Valley is perfect for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, while the tiny Mendocino Ridge produces exceptional Zinfandel. The High Valley in the Lake Countries is great for scenic sightseeing and affordable Cabernets and Sauvignons. The Brassfield Estate winery is a good starting point for tastings; other popular wineries are Steele Wines and Wildhurst Vineyards.
Central Coast Wineries
The Central Coast wine region extends from the Monterey Bay to south all the way to Santa Barbara. Its northern part is also known as the Monterrey Region and contains a number of wineries in the mountains and valleys near the city of Monterrey and Big Sur. The southern part is sometimes called the Santa Barbara Region and includes many wineries in the hilly landscape, and reaches from the north of Santa Barbara all the way to San Luis Obispo. Santa Barbara’s most impressive area is the Santa Ynez Valley, a region of incredible diversity with over 42 different kinds of wines, ranging from Rieslings to Syrahs nearer the coast. Sunstone Vineyards is a good starting point and then you can take a drive along Highway 246 and see vineyards and sleepy towns such as Solvang, Los Olivos and Santa Maria. If you prefer a different wine-tasting experience, then search for Santa Barbara’s “Funk Zone”, which is a revitalised warehouse district between Highway 101 and East Beach. Here you can find restaurants, galleries, and tasting cellars.
There are also the wineries in various other parts of the state and are less well-known. These include the Sierra Foothills, the Sakramento area, the Central Valley, the Los Angeles area and the San Diego area. Even Malibu, which is right on Los Angeles’ doorstep, has 50 independent vineyards located around the Santa Monica Mountains. Popular places in this area are the Hoyt Family Vineyards, the Dolin Malibu Estate, which produces some especially fine Chardonnays, and the Casa Dumetz winery. Alternatively, join the six-hour Malibu Discovery Wine Trail Tour, to safely discover the best wineries in the area.
If you want to explore all the incredible wineries California has to offer and you need an ESTA visa to enter the USA then please fill out an ESTA application before you book your flight. ESTA is an automated system that determines the eligibility of visitors, who want to travel to the United States under the USA Visa Waiver Program (VWP). The USA ESTA application form collects biographic information and replies to eligibility questions. The USA ESTA application form can easily be filled out and submitted online.