The Winter Pace of California Wine Country

    From cooking classes and blending seminars to art and wine festivals and meet-the-winemaker dinners, there are plenty of things to do in California wine country this winter.

     For those looking for something off the beaten path, there are appellation passport and cellar door weekends, opportunities to learn about pruning and winemaking, and even an event designed around sampling wines while whale watching.

     For wine lovers looking for something special to do with their sweetheart on Valentine’s Day, dozens of events all over the state — many involving chocolate! — will be held the weekend of February 14-15. And to make it easier than ever to learn about all these happenings — many of them free — consumers can log on to the Wine Institute’s Web site or the sites of regional winery and grower associations throughout California.

     “It’s an insider’s secret that one of the best times to visit California wine country is in the winter months,” said Nancy Light, Wine Institute Director of Communications.

     Added Karen Ross, President of the California Association of Winegrape Growers: “The scenery, with its tranquil winter beauty, is both breathtaking and soothing, the roads and tasting rooms are quiet, and the pace is very relaxed.”


     Indeed, many inns, spas and lodges offer reduced rates in the winter, and visiting California wine country at this time of year can be a great way to snag that hard-to-get restaurant reservation.

     “The world-renowned restaurants of our valley are less crowded and reservations are easier to secure,” noted Linda Reiff, Executive Director of the Napa Valley Vintners. “Plus, most places will have a warm and inviting fire burning in the hearth, so meals are cozy and relaxed.”

     The opportunity to meet growers, winemakers and winery owners is what draws many people to California wine country this time of year. And many of the events — both those held at individual vineyards and those that involve multiple wineries — are designed to give consumers a more personal and engaging wine experience.

     “The quiet of the vineyards and the wineries before spring allows visitors to really connect with local winemakers, chefs and tasting room personnel,” said Honore Comfort, Executive Director of the Sonoma County Vintners. “But for those seeking a little more activity, we have some wonderful winter and spring tasting events as well.”

     For a list of special events. follow this link:

Posted in Our Wine Travel Log
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