Spend The Year In CA Wine Country

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It’s the new year and we suggest you spend it in California wine country. We’ve highlighted some of our favorite places to spend the seasons. Whether it’s fall in Santa Barbara or spring in Napa Valley, we’re ready to welcome you to wine country!

Winter in Mendocino

Mendocino County lies about 150 miles up the coast from San Francisco and it is a winding and beautiful drive along the Pacific Coast Highway. Shop, eat, and enjoy the slow down, as you groove to the vibes of downtown Mendocino’s California hippy past and quaint New England style buildings.

Hike along the Mendocino Headlands Trail, to watch the migration of the Gray whales swim along the coast. Enjoy their coastal Pinot Noirs, bundle up and peruse the extensive art or cozy up in your B&B and watch the moody Northern California coast line from your large picture window.

Tuck Into These Lodgings:
Stanford Inn By The Sea
4850 Comptche Ukiah Road
Mendocino, CA 95460
800-331-8884
Trip Advisor Stars: 4.5

This AAA-Four Diamond eco-resort is located on 10 gorgeous acres overlooking the Mendocino Bay. It’s the perfect spot for health-conscious guests with holistic wellness center, spa, yoga classes, organic gardens and a farm and its acclaimed plant-based gourmet restaurant, The Ravens’ Restaurant.

Insider Tip: Pets are welcome at the inn and not just cats and dogs. The inn says they’ve even had Vietnamese pot belly pigs stay!

Little River Inn
7901 North Highway One
Little River, CA 95456
(707) 937-5942
Trip Advisor Stars: 4.5

Located next to the sea, the Little River Inn has been attracting guests from around the world for three-quarters of a century. The scenery is stunning—the Victorian inn is surrounded by green gardens and overlooks the Pacific Ocean. The rooms have gorgeous views and other amenities like private decks and/or fireplaces.

Insider Tip: The inn is a short trek from the stunning Van Damme State Park and the beach.

Our list of Mendocino County lodging

Wineries Worth The Sip
Toulouse Vineyards & Winery
8001 Hwy 128
Philo, CA 95466
(707) 895-2828
Trip Advisor Stars: 4.5

Known for its fantastic Pinot Noirs, Toulouse Vineyards is a welcoming and friendly vineyard located in the stunning Anderson Valley. The unique climate and daily weather make it the ideal location for Pinot Noir but the vineyard also produces Gewurztraminer, Riesling and more. Visitors do not need an appointment to visit (as long as your group is smaller than eight people) and taste wine.

Insider Tip: Buy a bottle of one of their wonderful Estate Pinot Noirs, plus they’ll waive the $5 tasting fee with a wine purchase.

Summer in Monterey

Summer in beautiful Monterey County is idyllic. Full of world-famous sites including Big Sur, Pebble Beach Golf Links, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and the 17 Mile Drive along the Monterey Peninsula, it’s a must-visit for any traveler.

The marine layer that covers the coast this time of years inspires the locals to cheekily refer to it as “June Gloom.” Despite the name, this is a beautiful time to visit. Need a respite from the intense California heat? Head to this mid-state coastal region that stays nice and cool.

Where To Tuck In:
Colonial Terrace Inn
13th and San Antonio Avenue
Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA 93921
(831) 624-2741
Trip Advisor Stars: 4

With the beach just 72 steps away from your room at the Colonial Terrace Inn, it’s the perfect spot to stay in one of the country’s best beach towns, Carmel-by-the-Sea. Built in 1925 and opened as the inn in 1930, the inn offers a quiet and private escape in a residential area close to the beach but within walking distances of downtown Carmel.

Insider Tip: Make sure you try the continental breakfast served each morning and eat it outside in the terraced gardens for a picturesque and peaceful start to the day.

Our list of Monterey County lodging

Wineries Worth The Sip
Paraiso Vineyards
38060 Paraiso Springs Rd.
Soledad, CA 9396
831.678.0300
Trip Advisor Stars: 4

Settled on the edge of the Santa Lucia Bench with stunning views of the Salinas Valley, the vineyard’s boutique and tasting room is a great place to start your wine tasting. The tasting bar serves all of the Paraiso wines including their specialty Pinot Noir plus Chardonnay, Riesling and Syrah. The deck offers great views and make sure you walk around the vineyard. If you’re in Carmel-by-the-Sea, check out their tasting room downtown and just steps from the sea.

Insider Tip: Explore the Carmel Valley Road in Carmel Valley and River Road in Salinas Valley provide an array of tasting rooms with stunning backdrops of vineyards and rolling hills while Carmel-by-the-Sea hosts over 10 tasting rooms within a one mile radius.

Fall in Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara shines in the role of the “American Riviera.” With it’s red-tiled residences, Mediterranean-like weather, beautiful beaches, and cameo in films, it fits the bill. Santa Barbara County wine country, especially its Pinot Noir wines, will always be associated with the movie Sideways. But the county was a thriving wine region long before the movie with its first wine grapes being planted by missionaries in the late 18th century. Santa Barbara is also well-known for its great Chardonnay and Rhone varietals.

Fall weather in Santa Barbara is incredibly underrated. Foggy days are ever present in the summer months but September and October usher in 70 degree weather, with little rainfall. Not to mention the vines begin to erupt in riotous colors during their fall change.

Where to Tuck In:
The Agave Inn
3222 State Street
Santa Barbara, CA
(805) 687-6009
Trip Advisor Stars: 4

Wanting to create an experience for guests rather than just a place to sleep for the night, The Agave Inn has achieved a perfect place to call home while in Santa Barbara. This is one of the best deals you can get in Santa Barbara for a clean, tidy, colorful place. It’s not fancy, but attention was paid to making it feel happy. With bright, fun room decor and paint, Agave adds a personal touch without overwhelming. Think Mexican pop meets modern.

Insider Tip: Renaud’s Patisserie & Bistro is located right across the street. While Agave has a continental breakfast, this bakery is worth a morning stop.

Our list of Santa Barbara County lodging

Wineries Worth The Sip
Sunstone Vineyards & Winery
125 N Refugio Rd.
Santa Ynez, CA 93460
(805) 688-9463
Trip Advisor Stars: 4.5

Driving just 35 minutes north of Santa Barbara to Sunstone Vineyards & Winery transports you to a secluded retreat resembling the French countryside. There’s even a wine cave to explore. Wine flights are available in addition to wines by the glass and a fun wine and brownie pairing menu.

Insider Tip: Looking for other wineries? Explore the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail.

Spring in Napa Valley

The best part of spring in Napa Valley is it starts in February! Come between Feb through May and the valley erupts in the bright yellow mustard flower than blankets the vineyards throughout the 26 miles. The weather is mild and perfect for hiking and enjoying the lovely scenery. If you can visit on a weekday, Napa is decidedly quiet, with tasting room staff ready to welcome you with a tasting room all to yourself.

Where To Tuck In Hotel Yountville
6462 Washington Street
Yountville, CA 94599
(707) 967-7900
Trip Advisor Stars: 4.5

This luxury resort and spa is located in one of the most convenient and best locations in Napa Valley, downtown Yountville. Stores, acclaimed restaurants, cafes and wine tasting rooms are just walking distance from the hotel. Despite its downtown location, the hotel is still surrounded by lush vineyards. The rooms are welcoming, tasteful and elegant with hardwood floor, stone fireplaces and an outdoor patio or balcony.

Insider Tip: Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday evening, the hotel hosts a complimentary wine tasting with partner local wineries in the lobby lounge.

Wineries Worth The Sip
Rutherford Hill Winery
200 Rutherford Hill Rd.
Rutherford, CA 94573
(707) 963-1871
Trip Advisor Stars: 4

Rutherford Hill Winery is known for its hand-crafted, high-quality wines and its amazing views of Napa Valley. Public winery tours are offered three times a day. The tour takes guests from the rose garden to a mile of wine-aging caves in the cliffs and to the reserve cellar. Wine tasting flights are available and highly-recommended.

Insider Tip: Guests can picnic in the grove and choose a package including three bottles of wine to enjoy.