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Experience Wine Country’s Uncrushable Spirit

Experience Wine Country’s Uncrushable Spirit
Make these wineries, restaurants, and other attractions part of your next visit to the region

California Wine Country’s indomitable spirit is on vivid display in Visit California’s most recent spot, “Uncrushable,” which features numerous locals as well as celebrity chef Tyler Florence. Best of all, you can visit many of the locations shown in this ad. Here’s a quick guide to the bucket list destinations and attractions seen here—places worth considering on your next trip to the Golden State.

Located within the Rutherford appellation in the eastern Napa Valley, Quintessa offers an exclusive Wine Country experience that includes panoramic views, acclaimed wines and the sort of personalized customer service that stays with you long after your visit. Two different tours are offered, the $75 per person Estate Tasting and the $125 Quintessential Quintessam, and both include winery and cave tours as well as compelling narratives about the five different varietals grown on the property.

Across the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma County, Kunde Vineyards offers a diverse array of wine—ranging from a crisp $18 Chardonnay to a sumptuous $60 reserve Cabernet Sauvignon—and four distinct tasting experience options. Stop by the Main Tasting Room any day of the week to explore the offerings. Want something a bit different? Arrange a Mountain Top Tasting 1,400 feet above the valley floor, where you’ll soak up some amazing views as well as some top-flight wine.

Also in Sonoma, the historic Buena Vista Winery provides a glimpse into the premium winemaking world circa 1857, its first year in business. Tastes and techniques have shifted considerably over the last 150 years (which you can see for yourself if you take the $25 Historic Wine Museum Tour and Tasting). The range of wines available here is mind-boggling, and the beautiful grounds are ideal for picnics.

Wherever you find great wine, fantastic food is sure to follow—and that is certainly the case in California Wine Country. Acclaimed chef Christopher Kostow nailed his line during filming at The Charter Oak in St. Helena; he always seems to get it right at his approachable, family-style restaurant that celebrates local bounty and a deceptively simple approach to cooking. Kostow is no stranger to more complex culinary creations: His ground-breaking work at The Restaurant at Meadowood earned the chef three Michelin stars.

Of course, there’s more to this region than great grapes and elegant food pairings. Basque Boulangerie is situated in a perfect spot in Sonoma’s historic plaza—a cozy place for a coffee and pastry while you map out the day’s itinerary. That itinerary can, and should, include a visit to Kollar Chocolates in Yountville, where artisan chocolatier Chris Kollar creates all sorts of truffles, including a Sunflower Seed Praline and, of course, a Red Wine-inspired treat. And don’t miss out on the region’s burgeoning distillery scene: Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol creates bespoke vodka, gin, sloe gin, and whiskey, and a tasting room tour will give you a new appreciation of what goes into your glass.

And if your trip to Wine Country includes a flight to, or a stop in, San Francisco, do yourself a favour and order the fried chicken at Tyler Florence’s genial Wayfare Tavern. This always-humming Financial District hotspot possesses a feel-good vibe and specializes in crowd-pleasing plates—it’s a sure fire winner for lunch or dinner.

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Harriot Manley/ Sunset Publishing

Northern California

Discover the San Francisco Bay Area

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November
Average (°C)
Sept - Nov
26°
High
7°
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Dec - Feb
16°
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5°
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Mar - May
23°
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June - Aug
27°
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14°
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A crimson bridge, cable carriages, a sparkling bay and streets lined with elegant Victorian homes, San Francisco is undeniably one of the world’s great

"I left my heart in San Francisco. High on a hill, it calls to me." - Singer Tony Bennett

cities. Located in Northern California at the state’s distinctive bend in the coast, the region has an alluring magic that stretches beyond the bay to diverse cities with nightlife and trend-setting cuisine. The Bay Area is also home to some of the world’s finest wine country, including Napa Valley and Sonoma, plus waterfront towns, dramatic beaches and the tech-savvy southern end of the Bay known as the Silicon Valley, where lunchtime ideas at Google, Facebook and Apple, turn into the next brilliant innovation.

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Courtesy of NPS Photo

Port Chicago Naval Magazine National Memorial

Tour this military memorial that honours soldiers killed on the World War II home front and pays tribute to Concord’s role in civil rights history

California’s smallest national park service outlet covers a mere half-acre in Concord on San Francisco Bay’s east shore—but it tells a very big...

May

Rock rolls into the wine country with this three-day event in Napa that features 2019 headliners Imagine Dragons, Neil Young, and Mumford & Sons. With more than 80 performers in the May 24–26...

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Jessica S./Flickr
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San Francisco has only one drawback - 'tis hard to leave.
Rudyard Kipling
SPECIAL FEATURE
Taste the delicious dishes from these amazing California chefs

From a pastel coloured pastry shop to Michelin-starred dining rooms, top restaurants run by celebrity chefs dot the Golden State. And even if you don’t know these chefs from the TV...

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SPECIAL FEATURE
Kid-friendly fun zones, special kids' menus & amazing wine for the grownups

Sure wine country is romantic, but now it’s a surprisingly great destination for families too, with a growing number of vineyards trading in elegant tasting rooms for child-friendly fun zones that...

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John/ Flickr
July

Get the Spanish spirit at this colourful event. Stroll the grounds of Gloria Ferrer Caves and Vineyards with a glass of bubbly, and take in a whirl of passionate music, flamenco dancing and food....

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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
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SPECIAL FEATURE
World-class accommodations in world-class locations

Head to the heart of California’s cities for luxurious stays at world-class hotels and resorts. From San Francisco’s historic hotels to celebrity hot spots in Hollywood and Beverly Hills,...

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Lynn Gately/Flickr
San Francisco itself is art, above all literary art. Every block is a short story, every hill a novel. Every home a poem, every dweller within immortal. That is the whole truth.
William Saroyan
SPECIAL FEATURE
Farm-fresh produce, culinary adventures

Juicy heirloom tomatoes and just-picked strawberries. Super-sweet peaches shaped like mini UFOs. Artisan cheeses, emerald-green olive oils, local wildflower honey—California’s farmers’ markets are...

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Laura Flippen
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From Gold Rush history to 8th wonders of the world, visit these favorites

If there was ever a box of chocolates—and all of them delicious—it’s the rich collection of natural treasures, fascinating...

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Amy Meredith/Flickr
SPECIAL FEATURE
Make memories at some of California's family-favourite beaches

Sand, water, and children-it’s a natural combination for easy family fun. These sandy beaches offer appealing, family friendly features, such as calm water for new swimmers, tide pools for...

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Alex Farnum
It's simply a very romantic place. Just one look at any of those streets, and you couldn't be anywhere else -- it's so beautiful, and there's that location, and the sense of the free spirit. ... Who couldn't become ravenous in such a place?
Julia Child
SPECIAL FEATURE
Sample ultra-fresh, hyper-local, and downright amazing

When you come to California, come hungry. This is a state that really knows how to cook. Amazing and innovative chefs sprinkled with Michelin stars work with local farms and artisanal food...

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George's at the Cove
SPECIAL FEATURE
Old-fashioned fun in the Golden State

Historic oceanfront playgrounds, classic city park charmers and boisterous adventures - smaller theme parks and attractions offer an array of ways to play. These smaller parks offer...

Safari West
Tai Power Seeff
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According to legend, Winchester Mystery House's maze of passages and building oddities were designed to confuse the ghosts of those killed by Winchester rifles.
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Kids get an inside look at wildlife, space, and more

From cool ways for your children to learn about wildlife, to an insider’s look at a space station, to a chance to walk through a rain forest or learn about the night sky, there’s a...

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Check these amazing experiences off your bucket list

Kiss a beluga, see cool movie props, and learn about Walt’s secret hideaway on exclusive and behind the scenes tours at California’s theme parks and attractions. Here’s a roundup of actvities...

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Photo by Michael Saechang/Flickr
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Thomas H. Story/ Sunset Publishing

Golden Gate Bridge

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See one of the world’s most famous landmarks, spanning an elegant bay

With towers soaring 227 metres into the sky, its span arcing across the mouth of San Francisco Bay and all of it painted bright red-orange, the...

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Where to release your inner fashionista

Shopping is an art form in California. Whether you are in search of the perfect cocktail dress or an authentic Mexican piñata, you will find it here. Want to sample fresh fruits and...

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Tai Power Seeff

Livermore

Ranches, vineyards, and relaxed appeal east of San Francisco

With warm sun and wide open spaces cradling vineyards, ranches, and wine country estates, the Livermore Valley makes an appealing destination just...

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Eiojo Torpe/Getty Images

Sausalito

Explore this quaint town that’s just over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco

Just north of the Golden Gate Bridge, a steep hillside covered in brushwood and eucalyptus drops from Highway 101 to a flat, sunny shoreline, two...

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Chao Kusollerscharlya/Shutterstock

Spotlight: Berkeley

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See a stunning museum, shop, and feast in the Bay Area’s most outspoken city

A haven for backyard artists and coffee-shop philosophers, Berkeley has deep roots in the Flower Power movement of the 1960s and ’70s. But...

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San Francisco's cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.