Wine lovers know the value of tasting a vintage before buying the bottle, and visiting vineyards and tasting rooms has become an enjoyable past time. You no longer have to go to Europe to find great wine or visit a winery. California has taken the lead in introducing Americans to the delights of strolling the vineyards, sampling the wine in tasting rooms, and selecting the perfect wines for their tastes. At Mansion Vacation Rentals, we have compiled a short list of vineyards and tasting rooms in California that will delight your senses.
As the grapes ripen, the air becomes heavy with fermenting juices and the vines turn a luminous gold. Navarro Winery offers daily one-hour tours at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., which include free tastings of 15 award-winning wines, and picnic fixings at the deli. Many wine lovers make a day of it: sipping wine, eating cheese, and nibbling on deli meats in the refreshing, green Anderson Valley where the vineyard is located. Picnic tables invite visitors to linger and relax. In the last 30 years, Navarro has produced late-harvest wines from Riesling and Gewürztraminer grapes.
The wines at the Navarro Winery are so consistently delicious year after year that one wine reviewer proclaimed, “…this is a natural treasure.” The soil is clay-based, similar to vineyards in Beaumes-de-Venice in Southern France where some of the best sweet Muscat wines in the world are produced.
Navarro wines are seldom found in stores as most bottles are sold from the tasting room or through phone and mail orders.
You will be enveloped in the sweet smell of wine aging in rows of oak barrels in this urban tasting room of Dashe Cellars. This family-owned artisan winery was founded in 1996. The husband-and-wife winemaking team focuses on producing exceptional, single-vineyard wines using a traditional, non-industrial approach to winemaking. They ferment grapes in small batches, use indigenous yeasts, and employ little to no filtration.
The company partners with some of the finest small growers in Sonoma and Mendocino counties to craft wines with a distinctive sense of place. They seek out that perfect balance of steep vineyards, older vines, and ideal growing conditions. One of the most aromatic Rieslings that they have crafted uses organically-grown grapes from 30-year-old vines grown high in the mountains of Potter Valley. Just off-dry, the wine has a firm structure and a hint of sweetness in the finish. With its lush texture, perfect balance of fruit and acidity, and complex minerality, this wine is great to drink today and ages well in your cellar.
Their Single-Vineyard Zinfandel (2015) won a double gold medal in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, and their classic reds are favorites among wine enthusiasts. You can taste the fruits of several small California vineyards in this easy to reach—even by public transportation—urban tasting room.
Open Thursday to Sunday noon to 6 p.m. With an appointment, you can visit Monday through Wednesday.
Meander through the redolent vineyards and stroll through the cool, cavernous winery to see how grapes are turned into wine at Beckman Vineyards. Then, enjoy the best wines the estate has to offer in the tasting room, on the upper terrace, in the picnic area, or the gazebo where you are welcome to bring lunch and snacks.
The Beckmens’ family commitment to creating a world-class vineyard led them to purchase a ranch in Ballard Canyon more than twenty years ago. Today, the estate has two vineyards flourishing in this wine-friendly soil.
Their 365-acre Certified Biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard is clay and clay loam with varying amounts of gravel and limestone subsoil. Found in wine-famous Rhône regions such as Côte Rôtie and Châteauneuf du Pape, this type of soil produces smaller vines with lower yields and more intensely flavored fruit. This is the source of their white wines that include Sauvignon Blanc, Marsanne, Grenache Blanc, Viognier, and Chardonnay, as well as our Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Counoise.
The Winery Estate vineyard is 25 acres of rolling hills in a wide valley. This smaller vineyard produces Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Syrah. Through years of experimentation, the Beckmens have found the perfect soil and microclimate for each variety of wine they produce.
Their 2007 Estate Grenache was served at a White House State Dinner in 2009 paired with the main course. Their wines have won many awards.
Open Daily 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturdays 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas Day.