Known for its incredibly rich soil, warm days and mild Delta breezes, California’s Yolo County yields unforgettable wines of great character and diversity.
There, you’ll find outstanding renditions of Syrah, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also lesser-grown varietals such as Viognier, Primitivo, and Albarino… not to mention sparkling wines and Port-style wines.
Virtually all of the wineries are family owned and operated — some for multiple generations — guaranteeing visitors an intimate experience with highly knowledgeable artisans.
Yolo County also is home to the University of California Davis Viticulture and Enology Department, as well as the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science. Clearly, local expertise helps put Yolo County on the leading edge of the industry.
From Clarksburg to Davis, and from Winters to verdant Capay Valley and Dunnigan Hills, you’ll enjoy gorgeous scenery, great dining opportunities, and comfortable, welcoming places to stay.
Among the wineries that are worth a visit:
- Route 3 Wines — Produced from 100% Dunnigan Hills AVA wine grapes, the handcrafted wines reflect the unique soils and terroir of the historic Hucke Ranch. The wines can be tasted at RootStock Tasting Room and Gift Shop in Winters. 530-794-6008.
- Putah Creek Winery — Crafting award-winning wines since 2006, Putah Creek has a newly-opened tasting room in downtown Davis. Founded by a grape farmer, it uses locally grown grapes to produce balanced, approachable wines. 530-601-9828.
- Bogle Vineyards and Winery — Located on the Sacramento River Delta, Bogle’s tasting room is open daily, and guests are invited to bring a picnic to enjoy on its grounds while unwinding and enjoying gorgeous vineyard views. 916-744-1139.
- Capay Valley Vineyards — Located in the beautiful Capay Valley, this winery produces award-winning wines, including a unique Sparkling Viognier, dubbed “the Champagne of Yolo County.” 530-796-4110.
In addition to wine tasting, the vibrant cities of Davis, Winters and Woodland, as well as the outlying communities in the gorgeous countryside, all have something to offer year-round.
Start with outstanding places to stay, from picturesque B&Bs to full-service hotels. Then explore the natural beauty by touring verdant farmlands or walking quiet creek-side trails. You also can enjoy great entertainment, from intimate theaters to the world-class stage of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
Sample just about any cuisine under the sun at one of the region’s many fine restaurants, and take time to shop for art, antiques, personal goods, and so much more. Yolo County also is known for its farmers’ markets.
Among our favorite attractions (when we’re not visiting tasting rooms) are:
- U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame — Housed in Davis, this world-class attraction features priceless bicycles, trophies, medals and memorabilia from the cycling world’s best. Changing displays highlight contemporary pros. Also on display is the prestigious Pierce Miller antique bicycle collection. 530-341-2363.
- Woodland Opera House — Built in 1885, the original Opera House burned down in the 1892 fire that destroyed much of downtown Woodland. It was rebuilt on the same site, using some of the remaining foundation and bricks for the walls. It reopened in 1896, and still hosts plays and musical acts each season. 530-666-9617.
- Reiff’s Antique Gas Station Automotive Museum — See a collection of antique gas pumps, gas station signs and car culture memorabilia from the 1950s and before. It just may be Yolo County’s coolest tourist attraction. 530-666-1758.
- U.C. Davis Arboretum Tours — A living museum of 22,000 types of trees, plants and shrubs. Located on the campus in Davis. 530-752-4880.
Yolo County may not be California’s most famous wine region, but it’s certainly among the most diverse… and fun.