Wine Regions

Napa Valley and Sonoma County Winery Map

Napa Valley and Sonoma County Winery Map

Plan your wine country trip with IntoWine's interactive map of California's wine country. Includes winery profiles and pictures as well as articles listing the best wineries for picnics, tours, beautiful views, wedding receptions, and more.

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The Onset of Southern Oregon

There is a saying that when people think of Oregon, they think of the three “Ps” - Portland, Precipitation and Pinot. Yes, there is rain; yes, Portland is a the largest city in the state, and yes the Willamette Valley, south of Portland, is known for Pinot Noir. But Oregon, specifically Southern Oregon, also excels at under-the-radar grape varieties and has an advantage that no other wine region could ever possess – a climate scientist who knows the best possible sites to plant the right varieties on the right soil under the right conditions.

Featured Contributor

Benjamin Spencer is a diploma student with the Wine & Spirit Education Trust. He writes for IntoWine about wine from a winemaker's perspective.

Recent Articles for Wine Regions

Which California Cabernet Sauvignons Deserve "First Growth" Status?

In 1855, the Exposition Universelle was held in Paris to showcase all that was good in France.  Emperor Napoleon III requested the leading Bordeaux merchants to rank the best wines.  The top wines were rated as First Growths.  Over the years, many people in the rest of the world have discussed what wines from their country would be First Growths.  I am often asked what I think the First Growths of California are.  It is an interesting conversation with lots of room for debate.

Beaujolais Nouveau - The Wine List - November 2014

There is a wine phenomenon every November when the cry goes out:  Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!  For more information about this phenomenon, go here.   

Beaujolais Nouveau is a popular wine to serve at Thanksgiving for a few reasons.  First, they are prominently displayed on the store shelves at the same time people are shopping for their Thanksgiving groceries, 2) they are affordable wines that should cost less than $15 per bottle and can often be found for under $10, and 3) they match surprisingly well with Thanksgiving Turkey, cranberries and stuffing. 

I find most Beaujolai Nouveau falls in one of two groups.  They are either fun wines or wines that I wouldn’t drink.  A good Beaujolais Nouveau will have lots of cherry fruit, perhaps a bit of banana aromas and should be smooth and easy to drink.  Here are ten in the first group; wines that are fun, taste good and provide value.  There are others out there as well, but these are go-to wines for me.  One bit of caution, don’t buy too many.  These should be consumed by the end of the year.  The best thing about them is their freshness.

Top 10 California Syrahs - The Wine List - October 2014

Syrah is a grape that most wine merchants will tell you is a difficult sell.  It seems it’s always going to be the next big thing, but never is.  For consumers, that’s a good thing.  A great Syrah usually will cost far less than a comparable quality Cabernet or Pinot Noir.  For my money, I tend to buy more Syrah than any other grape.  A disclaimer here – I liked it so much, I started to make it. 

In any event, as the temperatures start to drop, fall is great time for a hearty red with dinner or next to a warming fire.  Syrah is a grape that really changes its personality depending on where it is grown.  Cooler climate Syrahs can be quite different from warmer climate ones.  California has plenty of each.  While I love many of the cooler climate Syrahs, most of the ones listed below are warmer climate Syrahs.  In my opinion, that is where the very best of Syrahs from California can be found.

Sonoma’s Celebrity Wineries: Of Emmy’s, Grammy’s and Writer’s Block

It's nice to be a celebrity - people treat you well, you get what you want, you own nice things, and you drink expensive wines. Beyond that you usually have the money to do most anything you would like, say, starting a winery for instance, so you can drink your own expensive wines. Though we have a handful of celebrity-wineries here in Santa Barbara, it is Sonoma that seems to have a lock on celebrities-turned-vignerons. A visit to the bewitching wine country of Sonoma shows the diversity of celebrity styles and their wineries, offering diverse experiences from theatrical to tranquil amid the still rural setting of the Sonoma countryside.