Wine Country After Dark
A recent trip through the north coast wine region resulted in some great new winery finds, a couple of good meals and some wonderful wine country hospitality. We found our days full, but our evenings a little on the quiet side until we ventured 25 minutes north of Calistoga to the wine village of Middletown, in Lake County. Here we found what we were looking for.
Better Wine Tasting: The Winery Advisor Tasting Room Personality Profile
As the Winery Advisor, I visit hundreds of California tasting rooms each year collecting information to prepare detailed winery profiles for the California Winery Advisor.com website. We document the wine tasting experience by cataloging the amenities, ambiances, tasting fees, pricing and wines. And, yes, we like our job. After visiting almost 600, I have found they fall roughly within five categories.
Taste of Pismo
Every year in April Pismo Beach hosts a weekend food, wine and music affair at the bluff-top Dinosaur Cave Park in Pismo Beach. Under the big tent just steps away from the beautiful Pacific local chefs and winemakers share their creations. It's where food and wine meet the surf!
Cottonwood Canyon Winery
Santa Maria-- At the northernmost end of the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail lies the unique and interesting winery of Cottonwood Canyon. Sitting on a small hillside, the rectangular tasting facility sits above the wine caves as it looks out over the Santa Maria Valley and their cool coastal estate vineyards.
Diversity in Sonoma
There are twelve distinct wine growing areas in Sonoma County producing a range of wines from large and small producers. Vineyards tend to be smaller here than in neighboring counties and are typically family owned. The tasting room staffs are frequently the winemakers, owners or family members and pleased to describe their philosophies, grape growing and wine-making techniques.