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8 Must-See California Wine Country Destinations in 2020

by James Stevenson

A trip to California wine country is the perfect way to learn more about the wine and spirits industry as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this idyllic destination. Because the region is so vast and diverse, it can be challenging to create a travel itinerary that hits all of the top spots. You can use this guide to help you to plan an exciting and informative trip through California wine country in 2020 and its many venues to enjoy.

Palmaz Vineyards

This sprawling winery stretches across the iconic rolling hills of the Napa region. A highlight of a trip to Palmaz Vineyard is a stop at The Cave. This subterranean winery is built 18 stories into Mount George and is home to the unique gravity-flow wine-making procedure. In addition to a full array of wine varietals, Palmaz Vineyards also produces olive oil and unfermented grape juices, capitalizing on the bountiful harvest of this rich agricultural region. This family-owned business is a true delight to visit.

Chardonnay Golf Club

Golf enthusiasts delight in all of the offerings of the upscale Chardonnay Golf Club. This full-service club is an 18-hole semi-private facility located southeast of Napa in Jameson Canyon. The grounds of the course cover 150 acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Pinot Noir vineyards. Along the way, golfers will encounter scenic lakes and creeks. During the high tourist season, it is necessary to book your tee time well in advance. And, if you end up golfing, consider buying the longest golf ball retriever to better enjoy your game.

Sonoma Plaza

The heart and soul of this bustling region are in the Sonoma Plaza. As the largest plaza in California, there is no shortage of amazing restaurants, retail options, or entertainment opportunities in this vibrant area. Of course, no retail center in Sonoma is complete without a wide array of tasting rooms. You will find yourself gravitating to this lively area many times when you are visiting California wine country.

Simraceway Performance Driving Center

Located at the renowned Sonoma Raceway, this driving center is a must-see destination for thrill-seekers. Not only can you catch a race, but you can also participate in the popular racing school or the performance driving courses. Or experience the ultimate adrenaline rush by speeding up to 70 mph on California’s longest go-kart track.

Domaine Carneros

This incredibly scenic winery specializes in sparkling wines. The chateau and lush gardens have an obvious French influence, making it a perfect setting for a glass of bubbly. Along with your wine tastings, you can enjoy caviar, a variety of artisan cheese plates, and charcuterie boards. Since it’s a popular destination you may need help arranging reservations. Be sure to plan your experience well in advance so that you get the best choice of times.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Known as the Disneyland of California wine country, this estate is fun for the whole family. Located in the scenic Alexander Valley, this winery is more than just great wine. Visitors of all ages will enjoy the swimming area, offering two pools and an abundance of chaise lounges to soak up the sun. You can reserve your spot on the pool deck or splurge for a private cabana. The venue also boasts numerous dining options, a movie gallery featuring artifacts from Coppola’s Hollywood career, four regulation-size bocce courts, and much more. You can spend an entire day at this popular complex and never get bored.

The Silverado Trail and Calistoga

Traversing the eastern side of Napa Valley, this historic highway bridges the towns of Calistoga and Napa. Many cyclists love to hit this road to take in the rolling countryside. The road is dotted with a host of smaller wineries as well as some larger destinations. If you want to take a trip off of the beaten path, be sure to consider a journey down the Silverado Trail. You also want to make time to stop in Calistoga to enjoy the thermal springs and many spas that dot the landscape of this tranquil destination.

Santa Rosa

Many visitors miss out on the beauty of Santa Rosa because they see this town as a mere gateway to wine country. However, this bustling destination is an attraction in its own right. Santa Rosa is home to both the Sonoma County Museum and the Charles M. Schulz Museum. The town is also a good home base if your goals include taking advantage of all of the outdoor recreational opportunities in the area. The downtown Railroad Square is where you want to head out for a drink or a bite to eat.

This list of top eight must-see attractions will help to provide a framework as you set off on your California wine country adventure. Be sure to take the time to soak in the natural beauty of the valley as you enjoy the stunning setting. Cheers!

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