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Wine Country
 

California Wine Country

Vineyards

Renowned throughout the world for its miles of vineyards, charming small towns, and easy-going lifestyle, California's wine country is perfect for anyone looking to truly "get away from it all". Napa, Sonoma, and their countless surrounding small towns like Geyserville and Calistoga - these oases of calm and relaxation lie only an hour or two's drive from San Francisco's bustling city center. Wine enthusiasts and regular visitors alike flock to the area, eager to experience the Northern California wine country culture. You, too, could have your very own getaway in this gem, complete with fun outdoor activities, wine tasting, and just plain living the good life in one of the area's many, many spas.

The phrase "wine country" can be somewhat ambiguous to those not from the Bay Area. What locals refer to as wine country is an area of Northern California about 45 miles north of the city of San Francisco. It is primarily compromised of Napa and Sonoma counties, and gets its name from the rich tradition of wine-making that permeates the area. Many refer to it as the "birthplace of California viticulture." Although quaint small towns with big personalities and lots of activities also dot the area, it is for wine that the region is most well-regarded. The reason there is so much wine grown in the area is namely because of the climate, topography, and soil; these three factors combined have created conditions that grow grapes fine enough to challenge those of France itself in the international market! That is quite a claim to fame! The most notable factor in the success of wine country's burgeoning success is the region's Mediterranean climate: a temperate climate characterized by warm and dry weather for most months out of the year along with a steady amount of rainfall. All that sunshine makes the grapes just as happy as it makes the wine country's visitors and residents!

Street

But the wine country's past is almost as exciting as its present. The wine country has contributed much to California's rich history, serving as the site of many significant moments in the state's development from Indian territory to Spanish colony to independent state. The city of Sonoma was especially essential in this development. Tracing its earliest settlers to several Miwok, Pomo and Wintun Native American tribes, the area's rich soil and temperate weather was a much-desired commodity even thousands of years ago. These settlements remained until 1823 when Father Joseph Altimira, a Mexican church leader, effectively colonized the area. Altimira created Mission San Francisco Solano under the orders of Father Junipero Serra, who is often referred to as the "father of the California missions." Soon after barracks were created, however, the Bear Flag revolt occurred under Colonel John Fremont, declaring the state's independence from Mexico and, eventually, our allegiance with the United States of America.

In the last 30 years, Napa and Sonoma Valley wine country has experienced an incredible boom in both wine sales and tourism. In the mid-1970s there were only a dozen or so wineries left in the area, but following increased interest in the wines exported globally from the area and a dynamic advertising campaign, the California wine country was once again put onto the scene as a preeminent destination for wine connoisseurs and travelers alike. As a visitor, there are many activities in which to partake during your time in the valley.

Countryside

In addition to visiting wineries that are almost always welcoming to visitors wishing to partake in wine-tasting sessions or tours, the cuisine, spas, and outdoor activities make for both a relaxing and exciting vacation. There are many miles of flat and hilly terrain in both valleys perfect for mountain biking as well as various National Parks open for the hiker in your family. The chic town squares of towns like Geyserville, Sonoma, and Healdsburg make for perfect places to kick back with a glass of wine and a good meal at one of the destination's multiple famed eateries. The countless hotels and spas scattered across the landscape make getting treatments and going for a dip in a hot spring just an appointment away. In short, there is no end to the relaxing adventures you could have in California's Sonoma and Napa wine country!

Wine Country Sightseeing Attractions

    1. Los Carneros Region
    2. Sonoma Plaza
    3. Missions of California
    4. Napa Valley
    5. Sonoma Valley