I loved Sonoma and Napa Valley when I went back in March. tonight i went to a wine tasting store, Put a Cork in It. they are great. I must have sampled about 10 wines. Some better than others. I dont care for the real sweet wines, although I occasionally like an Ice Wine. I forgot to bring my note card home, but i did like the Brushetta, i think it was, a light red, fruity, semi-sweet, great with chocolate too.
I've also enjoyed some wines in Florida, muscadine; and Kansas City has an interesting wine valley as well. ;-) More later when i can think coherently.
I agree with everything Kerry said - we prefer Dry Creek in Sonoma, although we have had fun in downtown Napa at Copia and the new Oxbow Marketplace.
We have also enjoyed tasting in Paso Robles, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara. And since we live close to the Santa Cruz Mountains, we enjoy going up there on random Sundays, especially Ridge, Bonny Doon and Byington.
On our list of places to visit is the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Of course my in-laws keep trying to talk us into tasting the "special" wines of Iowa!
We travel to wine regions whenever we can. We used to live in the Bay Area and traveled to Napa/Sonoma often. We actually used to do Anderson Valley which is on the way to Mendicino which was delightfully uncrowded at the time, but that was 8 years ago. The Husch winery was a favorite.
We did Santa Barbara/Santa Ynez this year for the first time. Rode bikes from winery to winery. Started in Los Olivos, rode down to Solvang, had lunch and then back. Great bike lanes both ways. Would recommend doing it in reverse though with a start in Solvang and lunch in Los Olivos.
On one fun trip we visited wineries on Victoria island in BC. Beautiful countryside.
We've also been through Virigina wine country. Wines were better than I expected and it's close to home in NC. We've tried a few NC wineries and I wish I could be more enthusiastic but they're just not "there" yet. Although Biltmore produces a few pretty good ones.
I had a wonderful experience at Napa-the Sterling Winery. We went their for our honeymoon. That was the only vineyard we visited, but it was beautiful. Perfect scenery in a gondola as it takes you up the mountain. The wine was good too! :)
I live in PA and we have visited all the wineries on the Bucks County Wine Trail and the Brandywine Wine Trail. If anyone is in the Bucks County area I highly recommend the Crossing Vineyard in Washington Crossing PA. It's fabulous! Over the Christmas holiday was started working on the Lehigh Valley Wine Trail and found some excellent vineyards! Our favorite this trip......Vynecrest. If anyone is in the area and wants to tour let me know.
We are heading to Napa next Thursday -- we never go into places where we pay or with tour buses.
On our schedule so far is Ladera, Barnett, Bravante, Schramsberg and Elizabeth Spencer. Any other recs? We are also going to the St Helena Mont. School auction (where many winemakers send their kids). It is usually a blast because you meet the wine makers in a casual setting.
I go to Temecula at least once every couple of months. There are alot of great wineries there: La Ceraza, Maurice Carrie, Briar Rose (my absolute favorite). I'm heading up there this weekend with a few friends so I'm really excited.
I have a friend who recently opened a winery in Walla Walla, so that's the first place on my list when I begin my official wine touring. :-)
Up front admission - I work for a Napa Valley winery, St. Supery. Some of my favorite Napa Valley wine tasting experiences are upscale, maybe pricey, but super charming with great service and terrific wines...all require appts: such as Swanson in Rutherford, Kelham Estate in St. Helena, Schramsberg is St. Helena, Round Pond in Rutherford, Nickel & Nickel in Oakville. Take your pick from multiple world-class (Michelin star winning) restaurants while you're in Napa Valley.