Food, North America

Wine Time: Napa and Sonoma

There are so many fantastic wine producing wine regions in California, it is a delight to explore them all! And while less than 10% of Cali wine comes out of Napa and Sonoma, its dreamy location is hard to beat.


Fun Fact: Napa Valley and Sonoma Counties are famous for the quality of their wines. However, together they grow less than ten percent of California’s wine grapes. Most wine comes from California’s Central Valley, which produced 70 percent of California’s winegrape harvest last year.

Wine travel (& food travel in general) has become increasing popular as a main purpose to explore, and who wouldn’t? The twin valleys that constitute California’s most famous wine country are, together, the second most visited attraction in the state (only Disneyland is more popular). Though they’re just an hour’s drive northeast of San Francisco, the regions’ vine-covered hillsides—lush green in spring and summer, golden in fall—are reminiscent of Tuscany, and home to nearly 400 wineries (producing mostly Chardonnay, Pinot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot varietals). You could easily spend a week here flitting among tasting rooms, but that would mean forsaking some of the area’s other sensory pleasures—which include spas, idyllic sightseeing, and some of the country’s best locally sourced cuisine.

Don’t Miss

  • Getting out among the vines. Whether you rent a bicycle, take a farm tour, or join in a hands-on harvesting camp, experiencing the agriculture of wine can give you a deeper appreciation for it.
  • Savoring the region’s culinary hot spots. Some of the world’s best restaurants are set unobtrusively among the grapevines here. With all the locally grown, organic, and sustainable produce grown here, even the vegetarian and fast-food options are above and beyond.
  • Immersing yourself at a wine-country spa. Health and beauty sanctuaries abound here—and range from swanky vinotherapy sanctuaries to bubbling tubs of volcanic mud.

Author: Carrie Mitchell

Carrie A. Mitchell is the founder of L’Aventure Travel, the host of the Suitcase Sojourn Podcast, and author of the children’s travel book “To Be We”. Carrie is a global travel and hospitality expert who works with publications, brands and entertainment outlets on a number of travel related projects, from marketing consulting to editorial coverage to hosting & producing content for the web, TV and podcasts. She is always seeking to learn from people and places around the world, and share through her cultural exploration (40+ countries and counting)