Central Coast – San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge rises to greet you at the top of our Central Coast. Over the course of the next 500 kilometers (300 miles), the weather transitions from moody to mild, which makes for excellent diversity in both wine and surf. Grapes here are among the oldest in the state, planted by Franciscan monks as they made their way north on El Camino Real (“the royal road”, now Highway 101) in the late 1700s.
Livermore Valley– Pioneer Livermore winemakers C. H. Wente and James Concannon planted their vineyards in the early 1880s, having recognized the area’s winegrowing potential. Their descendants have maintained the tradition: today both wineries continue to thrive.
Monterey County – The Monterey peninsula is not only a popular wine destination; it’s also on the migration path of a number of whale species, making for spectacular seasonal sightings. And you’re likely to spot another species here: the American golfer. Pebble Beach Golf Links has been wowing pro and amateur golfers since 1919.
Paso Robles– Located halfway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, Paso Robles mixes the fun-loving energy of Southern California with Northern California’s sophistication and innovation. A hot spot for Rhône varietals and blends, it hosts the annual Hospice du Rhône, the world’s liveliest gathering of international Rhône wine producers.
San Benito County – Located along El Camino Real, or the King’s Highway, rugged San Benito County was settled by Spanish missionaries in the late 1770s. But it was French and German immigrants who established its wine culture, planting the first grapes there in the mid-1800s.
San Francisco Bay – With its world-renowned bridges, steep hills and regal Victorian architecture, San Francisco is often compared to European cities. Surrounded by mountains, valleys and fertile farmland, it’s also a cornucopia of food, wine and natural beauty.
San Luis Obispo County – The crown of San Luis Obispo County is Hearst Castle, the grand 165-room estate built by newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst in 1919. A popular wine region, San Luis Obispo continues to garner accolades and press, particularly for its Rhône blends, heritage Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.
Santa Barbara County – Santa Barbara has long been a favorite hideaway for movie stars, from Charlie Chaplin to Jane Russell, Nick Nolte and Oprah Winfrey. It’s also a famous wine destination, immortalized in 2004 by the film Sideways, which celebrated the area’s signature Pinot Noir.
Santa Clara County– Santa Clara is the most populous county in the Bay Area. Also known as Silicon Valley, it’s a hotbed for the world’s leading technology companies, including internet, computing and renewable energy. An area with rich soils and Mediterranean climate, Native Americans named it the “Valley of the Heart’s Delight.”
Santa Cruz Mountains– One of California’s first AVAs, the Santa Cruz Mountains growing area is rich with wooded peaks and small vineyards tucked into quiet hillsides. The region is known primarily for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.
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