There are 2,843 wineries in California (before I just blinked, anyway). Fortunately, not all of them have tasting rooms.
But hundreds and hundreds do, which can make choosing which ones to visit — even in a rather compressed geographic area — a real conundrum. So it’s easy to understand why so many of them offer amenities beyond wine tasting to attract visitors (otherwise known as potential customers).
According to a new Web site developed jointly by Wine Institute and the California Association of Winegrape Growers:
* More than 100 wineries offer art displays or fine art museums.
* 65 wineries have restaurants.
* More than 50 wineries present music and/or theater performances.
* 118 wineries offer food and wine pairings — and by food, we’re not talking crackers.
Other draws include unique architecture, guided tours, wine-related classes and seminars, cooking classes and gorgeous gardens.
And now, thanks to DiscoverCaliforniaWine.com, it’s easy to learn about what each winery offers, enabling you to plan a trip around your specific areas of interest. Best of all, you’ll still get to sample some very nice wines along the way.
Another resource — and please pardon us for this shameless plug — is VinesseTODAY.com. Yours truly posts a new “Editor’s Journal” column on this site each Monday, and many of the postings deal with wine-focused festivals and other events. Most are in California, since the Golden State produces about 90 percent of all American wine, but I also share information on events in other states. So, check out the “Editor’s Journal” archives.
There are plenty of other resources available, too. In fact, there probably are too many. At any given time, if you Google “California wine,” between 23 million and 46 million results will appear. Then you’re right back at square one: not knowing where to begin.