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Bevan Waite

Undiscovered Wine Regions

Expand your viticultural horizons with this journey that begins in San Diego County, traverses the Central Valley and ends in the Sierra foothills.

Start:Escondido
End:Scott Harvey Wines
2 - 4Days,9Stops,616Miles
Escondido
George Ostertag/Alamy
Temecula Valley
Ron and Patty Thomas/Getty Images
Cucamonga Valley
Chon Kit Leong/Alamy
Tehachapi
Ron and Patty Thomas/Getty Images
Kingsburg
Alexander Spatari/Getty Images
Madera
Kent Woo/Getty Images
Murphys
California Dreamin/Alamy
Sutter Creek
Maren Caruso/Getty Images
Scott Harvey Wines
Simone Anne/Stocksy
Stop 1

Escondido

201 N Broadway, Escondido

Californian wine country nearly reaches the Mexican border in San Diego County, where the proud winemaking tradition is the state’s oldest and dates to the 18th century. Just outside Escondido, acclaimed Hungry Hawk Vineyards & Winery grows 15 varietals on vineyards with spectacular views of the San Pasqual Valley. Rows of grapes stretch towards boulder-strewn hills in this beautiful valley, where you can also see animals from around the world in natural settings at San Diego Zoo Safari Park, less than 10 minutes from the winery. Alternatively, to discover Escondido’s urban wine scene, try the Vesper Vineyards tasting room and the BK Cellars Urban Winery & Tasting Lounge.

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Stop 2

Temecula Valley

41000 Main St, Temecula

Head out for a spin along the Temecula Valley’s DePortola Wine Trail to Robert Renzoni Vineyards, where you can savour the flavours of Italy thanks to its trattoria and acclaimed Montepulciano. An easy drive from both San Diego and Los Angeles, the Temecula Valley is Southern California’s largest wine region. With more than 30 wineries, including some with bed and breakfasts and luxury hotels, as well as a growing reputation for outstanding varietals, the valley was named one of Wine Enthusiast’s 10 best wine travel destinations for 2019.

Stop 3

Cucamonga Valley

10500 Civic Center Dr, Rancho Cucamonga

In the early 1900s, the Cucamonga Valley was one of California’s most important wine regions. While most of its vineyards have given way to suburban development, the valley’s wine tradition endures. The area is known for Zinfandel and warm weather varietals and has earned a designation as an official American Viticultural Area. At Rancho Cucamonga’s Joseph Filippi Winery & Vineyards you can take tours of this fifth-generation family operation, whose wine inspired the Grateful Dead song 'Pride of Cucamonga'. In Mira Loma, taste the Zinfandels and Rhône varietals at the historic Galleano Winery, which opened in 1933.

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    Stop 4

    Tehachapi

    115 S Robinson St, Tehachapi

    Grapes sometimes grow where you least expect them and even many Californian oenophiles don’t realise that there’s quality winemaking happening in the high country of Tehachapi (elevation 4,193 feet/1,278 metres). It’s an area better known for its apple orchards, but roughly halfway between the desert cities of Antelope Valley and Bakersfield in the Central Valley, Triassic Vineyards is celebrated for its Zinfandel and Syrah. And in spring, the view of poppies blooming in the Cummings Valley is positively spectacular.

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    Stop 5

    Kingsburg

    1401 Draper St, Kingsburg

    Kingsburg wears its Swedish roots proudly. Its Swedish-coffee-pot-shaped water tower can be seen from the motorway and the city centre is lined with gabled Nordic architecture. Bakeries sell buttery pastries and Kady’s Country Kitchen serves Swedish pancakes with lingonberry jam. This Central Valley town’s Northern European heritage dates back to 1873, when two Swedes arrived at what was then just a railway halt. Believing the local soil was ripe for farming they stayed on. Before long, their Swedish cousins and friends had joined them and by the early 20th century, 94 per cent of Kingsburg’s residents were of Swedish descent. Today you can shop for Swedish gifts such as, colourful wooden Dala horses and Swedish crackers and preserves at Svensk Butik. In May or June, fill up on fresh berries at Berry Lady Farms. And if you love raisins, you must pay a visit to the Sun-Maid raisin market (just look for the world’s largest raisin box). Plus, with Rhône varietals produced from its foothills estate vineyard near Yosemite National Park, Ramos Torres Winery offers a surprising destination for wine lovers. With its rich woods and casual atmosphere, the tasting room is an appealing setting to discover the wines of San Joaquin Valley native Oscar Ramos-Torres, including Cabernet Sauvignons made with grapes from Lodi.

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      Stop 6

      Madera

      300 Tamalpais Dr, Corte Madera

      Follow the Madera Wine Trail as it travels from the Central Valley and into the Sierra Nevada foothills. Considered one of the country’s oldest wine regions, Madera traces its winemaking heritage back to the late 1800s when settlers from Armenia, France and Italy brought their Old World traditions to the area. It’s definitely a diverse region. Since 1946, Ficklin Vineyards, located off of Highway 99 south of Madera, has produced celebrated ports in the Portuguese style, while Oakhurst’s Idle Hour Winery is in the foothills, only 14 miles from the south entrance to Yosemite National Park.

      Stop 7

      Murphys

      Murphys Creek Rd, Murphys

      Like San Francisco, Murphys was one of California’s richest boom towns but this appealing Calaveras County town feels closer to Mark Twain’s famous jumping frogs (celebrated yearly in neighbouring Angels Camp) than Michelin stars and super-prestigious wine tasting. Roughly halfway between Yosemite and Lake Tahoe, this Mother Lode town still has a richly historic look. Guided walking tours are conducted every Saturday at 10 am, starting in front of the Old Timers Museum on Main Street.

      Yet with all these nods to history, it’s not hard to see times have definitely changed. Stroll down Main Street to visit tasting rooms and restaurants featuring vintages from the more than two dozen family owned and operated wineries in the region. Sip an espresso and taste baked that morning croissants at Aria Bakery and look for artisan crafts at the farmers’ market (Thursdays in summer). Visit the sprawling Ironstone Vineyards to sip wines or catch an outdoor concert with stars such as Sheryl Crow. Then relax at the sophisticated V Restaurant, Bar & Bistro.

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      Stop 8

      Sutter Creek

      71a Main St, Sutter Creek

      The Sierra Foothills are full of towns whose fortunes rose and sometimes fell with their mineral output. The 'Jewel of the Mother Lode', Sutter Creek was dedicated to gold and quartz mining for almost a century. Today, its town centre makes for a charming stop, with a meal at Buffalo Chips best followed by homemade pie. Take the self-guided walking tour to see the buildings that housed the local saloons, theatres, shops and more.

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        Road Trip Snapshot

        Find out more about the amazing locations featured in this road trip. Ready to plan your trip? Print the itinerary or map your adventure to get started.

        Stop 1Escondido
        201 N Broadway, Escondido
        Stop 2Temecula Valley
        41000 Main St, Temecula
        Stop 4Tehachapi
        115 S Robinson St, Tehachapi
        • Visit Tehachapihttp://www.visittehachapi.com/play/555-tehachapi-loop.html#.WcqJKhNSy-V
        Stop 6Madera
        300 Tamalpais Dr, Corte Madera
        Stop 7Murphys
        Murphys Creek Rd, Murphys
        Stop 8Sutter Creek
        71a Main St, Sutter Creek

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