There’s nothing quite like driving the back roads of California’s wine regions and sampling local wines at the source. But a growing number of wineries and winemakers are opting for setting up shop in surprisingly urban settings. Tasting rooms are now concentrated in cities, towns, and communities, creating often pedestrian- and bike-friendly wine trails with an appeal all their own.
“Urban wine trails are definitely a growing trend across California,” says Nancy Light of California’s Wine Institute, with sometimes just a pleasant stroll between stops. Though these in-town tasting rooms “don't replace the experience of visiting beautiful wine country destinations,” notes Light, they do offer an intriguing new option, letting you ditch concerns about traffic and designated drivers. Here’s an introduction to California’s urban wine hubs, listed south to north.