Get ready for one of California’s prettiest—and least crowded—areas to sip and swirl. Known for ocean-cooled climates ranging from rolling coastal hills to vineyards wrapped with towering coast redwoods, the Mendocino County wine region is not only beautiful, it’s cutting edge too. The area is home to some of the state’s most progressive winemakers, who perfect organic sustainable techniques in their boutique vineyards.
In fact, Mendocino County has the most acreage of certified organic vineyards in the country. See what it’s all about at Frey Vineyards, America’s first maker of certified biodynamic wines—they even say they are vegan and gluten-free. (Frey was one of the few California wineries to sustain heavy damage during the wildfires of 2017, including its tasting room. The winery plans to resume production in November, and then construct a new winery building, which had already been planned for another site, in Redwood Valley.)
For a bonanza of award-winning Mendocino County wines, head inland on Highway 128. In the vineyards surrounding tiny Philo, have your pick of varietals: Gewürztraminer at Handley Cellars or Navarro Vineyards, or Pinot Noir at Husch. Be sure to stop at charming Boonville General Store in Boonville to pick up local cheeses and other artisanal foods for a picnic to go with your bottles.