We use cookies to enhance your experience on our website and personalise content and adverts. By clicking 'Accept', you consent to the use of all cookies. To find out more about our cookie policy click here.

wine regions in california, usa

Napa County

Napa Valley is the superstar of the California wine world, consisting of replica Tuscan castles, Michelin-starred chefs and 240 wineries serving some of the world’s most sought after vintages. All this sits an hour north of San Francisco in a four-mile wide, thirty-mile long valley. Napa’s sought-after soil is especially well known for its rich, fruit-forward Cabernet Sauvignon.

Cellar doors consist of big names like Mondavi, Diamond Creek, Opus One, and Joseph Phelps, most of which are on Highway 29. Fans of Cabernet Sauvignon should have an eye out for Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, and Stags Leap on labels. The Chiles Valley is perfect for Zinfandel lovers, while fans of white will find the valley flooded with magnificent Chardonnays, Sauvignon Blancs, and Semillons.

An alternative to self-driving, you could book a seat on the Napa Valley Wine Train, an antique Pullman where you can sip a Napa Cabernet and enjoy a wonderful fine dining experience. Experiences like this make Napa Valley a top destinations for a California honeymoon.

Sonoma County

Sonoma County is the mecca for fans of Pinot Noir. Recognised as one of the best wine regions in California, Sonoma’s 400-plus wineries bottle more of this elegant red than any other county in the state.

Sitting to the west of Napa, between the Pacific and the Mayacamas Mountains, Sonoma’s climate allows over 50 grape varieties to grow at often optimum conditions. Northerly Alexander Valley is known for its Cabernet, while its neighbour, Dry Creek Valley, is Zinfandel country. Fertile Russian River Valley is the jewel of the county, ensuring ideal conditions for fine and intense Chardonnay as well as superb Pinot Noir.

Los Carneros

Straddling the southern ends of both the Sonoma and Napa valleys, Los Carneros offers the indecisive connoisseur the most enticing two-for-one of all of California’s wine regions.

Known for its superb, crisp Chardonnay, the region also specialises in Pinot Noir, Merlot, and Syrah. Not to be left out sparkling wine fans will delight on Gloria Ferrer’s panoramic terrace with top quality bubbles.

Los Carneros is an easy day trip from San Francisco and can be combined on a scenic tour including the Golden Gate Bridge, Golden Gate Park, Twin Peaks, and Land’s End near Cliff House.

Santa Cruz Mountains

Santa Cruz Mountains is the most dramatic of California’s wine regions. Beginning about half an hour’s drive south of San Francisco, you will find smaller-sized vineyards planted from Half Moon Bay to Mount Madonna and the friendly city of Santa Cruz. Expect stunning coastal views.

Seaward you’ll find Pinot Noir and Chardonnay planted, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, and Merlot planted inland. There’s a focus on Old World wine techniques among many of these smaller, more isolated vineyards, leading to lower alcohol wines with distinct tannins and minerality when young. Make time for Bonny Doon, Rhys, or Monte Bello-based Ridge. For a superb collection of wineries, the Santa Cruz Mountain Wine Trail is a fantastic resource.


Quality winemakers have relocated to Monterey and in turn released the true potential of one of California’s most underrated wine regions. Producers such as Chalone, Lockwood, and Morgan have created prized wines in this region from multi-layered Pinots to unconventional Chardonnays that reflect the terrain’s complex geology. You will find the renowned Cabernet Sauvignon region in the historic Carmel Valley. Round off your tour here with a tasting on the panoramic terrace of Chateau Julien Wine Estate.

Paso Robles

Paso Robles is one of the best wine regions in California to explore, being a longstanding destination for quality Zinfandel, and having a reputation for excellent Rhône-style wines. Additionally you’ll also find smooth, plummy Merlot grown in the warmer spots around Paso. The cellar door at Peachy Canyon Winery offers a great education in what a Zinfandel wine should really be about.

Santa Barbara County

Santa Barbara’s main wine-growing centres are the Santa Rita and the Santa Ynez Valleys. You’ll find high-quality Syrah in the picturesque hills of this Californian wine region, and fruity Rieslings and Chardonnay closer to the coast. The eclectic abundance of Santa Ynez can be best approached with a guided tour, where you can meet winemakers to help you unearth the best vintages to taste while you learn about this tranquil region’s intriguing viticulture and history.

Los Angeles County

Los Angeles is the most surprising of California’s wine regions, offering a wealth of good wine to taste at source. There are over 50 vineyards in the coastal Malibu region - follow the Malibu Wine Trail to lively tasting terraces with incredible ocean views like that of Rosenthal before descending to cool off in the surf of iconic Malibu Beach.

Riverside County

A couple of hours drive inland, beyond LA county limits, you’ll reach the Temecula Valley. As a wine destination, it offers highly drinkable Syrah, Grenache, and Zinfandel, as well as less common wines like refreshing Vermentino and peppery Counoise.

There’s a sense of collective energy here that’s not always typical of wine regions. Follow De Portola Road for a wine trail with spectacular views of the surrounding mountains, including the convincing Tuscan-style estate of Robert Renzoni.

San Diego County

One of the state’s most historic wine counties, vines were first planted in California in 1769 at Mission San Diego De Alcala, now a part of the city of San Diego. Today, it’s been a matter of refocusing attention on here after the extraordinary success of the north. With 115, mostly smaller, family-run wineries, dedicated to quality, San Diego’s boutique wine scene doing just that.

Orfila in the bucolic hills of Escondido is leading the way with superb Pinot, Sangiovese, and Zinfandel, while Hawkwatch in Warner Springs offers delicious Rhône and Bordeaux styles.

Contact us to plan your wine tour in California USA

Enquiry Call Back
Enquire now for your next adventure
We've been there!
Machu Picchu
Why Choose Us?
 We Have Been to Over 50 Countries And We Love Planning Holidays
 Adventures Designed Exclusively For You
 Fully Personalised Service
 Experts Who Are Passionate About Designing The Perfect Experience For You
 All Aspects Of Your Journey Covered
 ABTA & ATOL Protected

Enquire About wine regions in california, usa

When do you want to go?

100% Privacy Guaranteed

We would love to help you find the perfect holiday

Working with an extensive range of suppliers enables us to tailor the adventure to your needs

Complete the below details to get your journey started

When would you like to travel?

Benefits of using Destination Seekers
  • ABTA protected & ATOL bonded
  • Part of Hays Independence Group
  • Tailored impartial advice
  • We support you at every stage of your journey
  • Available 365 days per year
  • 100% privacy guaranteed

This form is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply

Thank you. Your enquiry has successfully been submitted.

One of our travel experts will be in contact shortly, however if you’d like to book a time that’s convenient for you, please click here

Let us know about what is important to you, please detail this below, such as:

  • The best day/time to contact you
  • The type of experience you are looking for
  • Your priorities for this holiday
Thank you, your info has been added.