The vines are waking up and getting ready to enjoy summer, and you should be, too! Plan your next trip to Northern California wine country, and be sure not to miss these must-visit tasting rooms.
Robert Sinskey Vineyards, Napa Valley: Enter the tasting room under stunning vaulted arches and get ready to savor their wines along with a plate of perfectly paired small bites created by the winery’s chef. The wines are biodynamic, and if you’re not sure what that means, there is a fascinating display to teach you. Go there for the pinot noir — Carneros-sourced, it is elegant and delicious.
Sonoma Cutrer Vineyards, Russian River Valley: Specializing in chardonnay and croquet, Sonoma Cutrer is the place to be found on a warm Saturday afternoon. Order a flight of chilled Sonoma Coast chardonnay, pick a spot on the expansive patio, sit back, and watch your friends duke it out on the croquet lawn. The winery holds a croquet tournament once a month that anyone can participate in, whites not required (a good thing with all that wine around).
Iron Horse Vineyards, Green Valley, Russian River Valley: This winery, named after a local train, serves vibrant sparkling wine in a casual, outdoor tasting room ( "casual" in this case means a wooden plank across some barrels; "outdoor" means three of the walls are open air views of the vineyards). Grab a glass of bubbles and gaze across rollings hills, farm houses, and endless rows of grapevines. Pick up a picnic at nearby t Andy’s Market and enjoy it in the winery’s gazebo.
Lava Cap Winery, El Dorado Hills: Just 45 minutes north of Sacramento and on the way to South Lake Tahoe lies this hidden gem. The Jones family serves up warm hospitality in their small, rustic tasting room overlooking the steep slopes of their estate vineyard. A complimentary wine tasting pairs just right with the gourmet picnic baskets for sale, and the sun-warmed deck overlooking the vineyards is not a bad place to spend an hour (or three).
Langtry Estate and Vineyards, Lake County: Langtry overlooks a lake full of Snowy Egrets and Blue Herons, and when the wisteria is in bloom, it blankets the estate and hummingbirds may dive-bomb your wine glass. If this doesn’t deter you, then stop by their old-fashioned barn for a taste of their snappy sauvignon blanc and luscious cabernet sauvignon, and learn to relax, wine country style.