Silvadore is all about creating better wine experiences. A fun part of enjoying wine is learning about where it came from. At some point in our lives, we all realize a time has come to plan a wine trip to California. A favorable time to plan a visit is during harvest season. Getting tickets and planning in advance will save you time and money once you arrive in wine country.

Naturally, there is “little doubt” that Napa and Sonoma should be on your automatic list of places to visit. If you haven't been to either of these regions, then I would strongly encourage you to visit them. You hear about Napa and Sonoma often and there is so much to take in. Visiting Napa and Sonoma also gives you a sense of how far the domestic wine industry has come.  Taste the wine and meet the people that come from all over the world for the experience.

Wine Cave with Barrels

What if we've already visited Napa and Sonoma...?

For you lucky ones that have already been to Napa and Sonoma, I'd like to open your mind to additional or alternative options for a variety of reasons.

If you are a seasoned California Wine Country visitor, maybe it's an opportunity to discover a new region and new grape varietal characteristic to that region and/or to simply explore.  We all enjoy experiencing something that we can share with others. This is your chance. I will bet that you will be surprised at the names and brands that you will come across.

For those new to California wine travel, this may an opportunity to learn the basics from regions that provide a different, yet pleasurable introductory experience. Many of these alternate regions offer fewer crowds, a more laid back setting and more value priced (or even free) tastings. A few years ago, I visited Amador County and in one winery there were only a few other visitors in the tasting room and yet the proprietor, Jo, would not accept any money for my sampling their wines...virtually all of them!

Other Northern California Wine Regions to visit

If you've "done" Napa and Sonoma, or maybe like to experience smaller and less crowded places, here's my recommendations for next places to visit:

Amador Wine Country
  1. Amador County  – about an hour east of Sacramento, I was drawn to this region due to a wine tasting I experienced last year. Solid wines from a region I was unfamiliar with. Was enough of a draw with 40+ wineries present for me to check it out.  Laid back with great people (and wine). Forgot to mention, if you are in to history, this is GOLD country. A fun place to learn about both wine and gold!
  2. Livermore Valley  – only 30 miles east of the San Francisco in a region not far from the every day world, but yet it feels so far away from it... 50+ different wineries. Some of the bigger names you see but never realized were here (i.e. Wente and Concannon). Plus, plenty of local activity and easy Bay Area access.Livermore Wine Country Map
  3. Mendicino County – a little more “out of the way”, however, well worth it! Go for several days to explore the 100+ wineries. The wineries are generally smaller, but the breadth of settings between inland forest and rugged coast is so worth the trip! Visit and stay in the town of Mendocino to see where they filmed Murder She Wrote (yes filmed in CA and not Maine). Added fact...Mendocino County was - and I believe still is - home to the world’s tallest living tree. It's a massive 377 feet tall.

So Many Choices!

Pick a wine region that seems to fit you. Make plans and go. Visiting a Northern California wine region will enhance your knowledge and understanding of wine.  And even better, you'll Enjoy More and Better Wine! These were just a few recommends for alternatives in CA northern regions. In the future I’ll plan to cover some of the ones as you head south in the state.

Want to enjoy a great "wine by the glass" experience in the meantime? Check out our wine essentials collectionfor items that help you create a Better Wine Experience.

Silvadore Wine Essentials - wine gift sets


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