To experience wine tasting in California, you no longer have to go to the wineries.
Instead, a number of wineries have opened tasting rooms in smaller cities and towns, and that is something that gets a big “cheers” from PubClub.com.
The cool thing is that it’s not just one tasting room, but several. So you can bounce around to four, five or, in the case of Santa Barbara and Solvang, more than a dozen of them. This, obviously, is a multi-day adventure and it’s a win-win for the wineries while also providing a great tourism selling point for the cities.
Here’s a look at California cities with clusters of wine tasting rooms. Links provide reviews of tasting rooms in Monterey and Carmel and in the other cases, the tourism board’s site. Soon, PubClub.com will to all of them to review!
• BOONVILLE/MENDOCINO COUNTY WINE TASTING ROOMS
Would you believe this little no-stoplight town in Mendocino County, located between lush wineries and around the corner from the Anderson Valley Brewing Company craft brewery, has tasting rooms?
It does, and since the town is so small you can really take your time in the tasting rooms because you can be in the next one in 30 seconds. They are on Highway 128 and you get a card that’s stamped at each one, which is then entered into a monthly drawing to win four bottles for four cents.
The tasting rooms are Londer, Zina Hyde Cunningham Tasting, Philo Ridge Wine and Four Sight Winery. It’s all called, quite creatively, the Fratty Pike Wine Tour. The people who named it probably did so while on the tour themselves.
• CARMEL WINE TASTING ROOMS
There are nearly a dozen places to have wine among the art galleries in this quint European-style village. Featured are wineries from Monterey County, which is becoming known as the “new Napa.”
PubClub.com recommends going to the Chamber of Commerce and purchasing the Wine Walk pass. It’s $50 and is good for seven select tasting rooms. Most tasting rooms charge $10.
There are also 15 wine tasting rooms within a mile of one another on Carmel Valley Road, about 20 minutes from Carmel.
• MONTEREY WINE TASTING ROOMS
Taste of Monterey has the best view and features Monterey County wineries. You could make a mini vacation by combining Monterey with Carmel. It’s quite the one-two punch of wine tasting rooms.
Monterey has two wine tasting room areas, downtown with two tasting rooms and on Cannery Row with an additional three, with a fourth just up the hill.
All but one of the tasting rooms are direct from the winery. The one with the most spectacular view – it actually sits over the water on “the Row” – is A Taste Of Monterey which features wines from all over the Monterey County region.
• PASO ROBLES WINE TASTING ROOMS
Downtown Paso Robles has more than a dozen wine tasting rooms so plan on at least two days for your visit.
Among the tasting rooms are Burbank Ranch, Pianetta, Arroyo Robles, Asuncion Ridge, Bodegas, Grizzley Republicm Clayouse and Anglim .
• SANTA BARBARA WINE TASTING ROOMS
This city by the sea collectively calls its 17 whopping tasting rooms, all within walking distance downtown, the Urban Wine Walk.
And get this – you can also take a pedicab! Or bike.
Featured are wines from Santa Barbara and neighboring Santa Ynez Valley.
• SOLVANG WINE TASTING ROOMS
There are also 17 wine tasting rooms a bit to the north off the very scenic Highway 101 in Solvang.
The cute Dutch-style town is surrounded by wineries, and its tasting rooms mean you don’t have to drive to taste all the local wines from the Santa Ynez Valley.
The area is known for its Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but also produces Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.
• LOS ANGELES BEACH CITIES WINE TASTING ROOMS
Tasting rooms in some communities in Los Angeles are also starting to emerge.
In the South Bay Beach Cities, for example, there’s Barsha Wines And Spirits in Manhattan Beach (917 Sepulveda Blvd), Uncorked in Hermosa Beach (302 Pier Ave.) and Friends of the Vine in Redondo’s Riviera Village, which is more like a cozy wine bar (221 Avenida del Norte).