Known during the Gold Rush as a spot for some of California's richest gold finds, this Sierra foothills town has grown into a winery-rich destination with an Old West feel. “I think we are pretty close to 24 tasting rooms within walking distance on Main Street, but frankly I have lost count,” said Jeff Stai, owner of the town’s Twisted Oak Winery. You’ll need a car to reach all the spots on the wine trail, but there is a good concentration of tasting rooms lining the town’s pleasantly walkable main thoroughfare.
Begin your tour at Lavender Ridge Vineyards, set in a beautiful old stone building. The winery specializes in Rhône-style wines, but you can also pick up artisan cheeses, olive oils, and other gourmet goodies. Next, hit Newsome-Harlow for some of the region’s best Zinfandel—especially the peppery Shake Ridge Ranch Zin—or its crisp Sauvignon Blanc, which tastes just about perfect on the patio. For wines with an irreverent sense of humor, stop at Twisted Oak and sample the *%#&@! (also known as “Potty Mouth”), a juicy Rhône-style red blend.