California: Wine, Californian Wine Regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & More Profiled

50 California Central Coast Wines You Should Be Drinking Right Now


The California Central Coast, identified as Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo (and its main wine region Paso Robles) and Monterey is California the way it used to be, or at the very least, California the way people want it to be: small towns, charming architecture, varied history of Missions and Indians, and coastlines for miles; a slow pace, clean air and a belief that no one real really works very hard. But the area has been home to grape growing since the Spanish brought vine cuttings from Spain via Mexico in the late 1700s and winemakers and vineyard managers have been working hard ever since.

To celebrate this beautiful region offers these 50 wines that represent the diversity of the California Central Coast.

Napa Valley Wineries with the Best Wine Caves

Discovering the interior of Napa Valley wineries is as exciting as experiencing the exterior of this magnificent place. Napa Valley wine caves offer visitors a chance to see a winery’s inner beauty, you’re able to witness the more refined details pertaining to the production of Napa Valley wines. Whether they’re chiseled into famous Napa Valley mountainsides or dug deep into the rolling hills, the Napa Valley’s wine caves are very cool (literally and figuratively speaking). The views from the depths of these hidden spaces are intriguing and provide insight into the complexities of winemaking; the bottling and aging, the importance of a wines environment, the temperature and storage. All these aspects of different wine making styles offer a glimpse into how a vineyard produces unique characteristics for their wines. Historically, wine caves reach as far back in history as wine itself, the idea of storing wine in an underground cool climate apparently made a lot of sense then as it does now, and the art of constructing highly functional modern wine caves has now been perfected. In order to cruise around in a Napa Valley winery’s wine cave, you’ll need to plan in advance and make a tour and tasting reservation, most tours include a wine cave excursion but feel free to ask. Here is a list of the Napa Valley’s five best wine caves:

Best Napa Valley Wineries for Sauvignon Blanc

Sauvignon Blancs grown in the Napa Valley region have striking aromas that translate into even more specific palate characteristics. This varietal is extremely versatile and the characteristics change from region to region, for instance, in France Sauvignon blanc is labeled “Sancerre” or “Pouilly-fume” named after the actual places and can take on grassier aromas then one would find in the Napa Valley. Sauvignon Blancs grown in the Napa Valley provide visitors with such specific tasting profiles and these easily diversify your wine tasting. Experiencing a Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc will give your wine flights a more well-rounded wine range ultimately aiding in furthering your wino knowledge (sometimes a goal among visiting wine novices). Here in the Napa Valley our Sauvignon Blanc is fully ripened in the heat creating bright citrus, grapefruit, and passion fruit aromas, alongside juicy peach, nectarine and melon nuances. These flavors and tastes contrast perfectly with the rich oaky chardonnays that are often highlighted in Napa Valley wine tasting. Also, Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc is known to make many ladies swoon with excitement, women tend to be its biggest fans. These Five wineries produce the best Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc in addition to the perfect place to taste them.

Napa Valley Wineries with the Best Zinfandel

Napa Valley Zinfandels are celebrated for their easy drinking allure and bold juicy flavors making this varietal a total crowd pleaser. Zinfandels made in the Napa Valley are iconic, although some may say a little forgotten, however, it’s a flavor profile known for intense black fruits and spice which render Napa Valley Zinfandels as the most epically jammy varietal produced. The Napa Valley’s warm California climate is fundamental to winemaking and Napa Valley Zinfandels are a great example of how winemakers utilize that heat, skillfully harnessing the temperatures to produce some of the most intense wine the Napa Valley has to offer. Zinfandels crafted in the Napa Valley region, especially old vine Zinfandels, have exploding flavors that ripen outrageously giving life to wines that create an exceptional food and wine experience. When you find a way to always have excellent Napa Valley Zinfandel around it’s sure to illuminate any meal because Napa Valley Zinfandel is, more than anything else, a food pairing wine. These Napa Valley wineries with the best Zinfandel are recommendations specifically known for their outstanding, award-winning Zinfandel.

Napa Valley’s Best Boutique Wineries

A Napa Valley boutique winery is always a good time. Finding a unique, family owned, small production winery to visit can honestly set fire to your wine desire. The best boutique wineries in the Napa Valley give you the opportunity to taste the most captivating, passion driven, and rare wines Napa has to offer. A noticeable factor about boutique wineries is that your visit may include a tête-à-tête with the winery owner or vintner themselves (sometimes both!). Boutique wineries are exclusive and are small production which means they produce a fraction of the wine larger more industrialized wineries produce in a year, this is the defining factor in finding a proper “boutiquey winery.” Spending time at one of these quaint boutique Napa Valley wineries will help you to understand how incredible wine truly is (if you didn’t know that already) because boutique wineries respect the art of winemaking and seek to convey their passion and love for what they bottle!

Best Napa Wineries for Sipping by the Fire

Wine tasting in the Napa Valley is an experience that’s more than the exploration of wine, it’s also about ambiance. Good wine can be even better when you’re sipping fireside and nothing sounds cozier than warming up by a fire while tasting delicious Napa Valley vintages.

Napa Valley Wineries With the Best Views - Wine Tasting Recommendations

The Napa Valley’s landscape is renowned for its rolling hillsides and lush valley floor where endless waves of vineyard create glorious stretches of views. The Napa Valley’s terroir gives life to vines that produce famous California wines and this place is where prestigious wineries and estate vineyards make their homes. When you encounter the Napa Valley it is impossible not to be enraptured by the beauty, abundance, and romantic atmosphere this place exudes. Visiting wineries adorned with the best views of Napa’s luscious landscape pairs perfectly with the extraordinary wine produced by them. Napa Valley wineries place an immense value on the sweeping vineyard scenery thus securing it as one of the many Napa Valley luxuries sought out among wine novices and connoisseurs alike.

Top California Pinot Noir: Which California Wine Producers Make the Best Pinot Noir?

California has actually been making outstanding wines from the Pinot Noir grape for a long time.  Sure, not long in the Burgundian sense but going back at least to the middle of the last century there were good bottles of Pinot Noir being produced in California.  Not many to be sure, but there were some.  Starting slowly, in the 1990’s, and then exploding when the movie Sideways came out, there are now more and more offerings of good to excellent Pinot Noir being produced in California.

Best "Kid-Friendly" Sonoma Wineries - 2015 Best of Sonoma

For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma.

To help wine-loving parents involve the whole family in the beauty of Sonoma we surveyed 100 local vintners and asked them their favorite kid-friendly area wineries. The results were the three wineries below that provide an excellent family atmosphere that will keep the kids—and the adults—thoroughly entertained.


Best Sonoma Wineries for Those Interested in Historic Sonoma - 2015 Best of Sonoma


For the 2015 Best of Sonoma Lists we surveyed hundreds of local vintners asking for their inside perspective of the best wines, tasting rooms, and restaurants in Sonoma. 

For wine enthusiasts intrigued by the rich history of the area, we surveyed over a hundred local wine producers for their top historic winery experiences. The results are the below list of Sonoma wineries that offer a historically-infused experience.

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