California is blessed with a number of notable wine regions, from lesser-known spots like Temecula, up to Northern California’s powerhouses like Napa and Sonoma. If you are looking to plan a wine-themed getaway, here are several ideas for luxurious California wine country escapes to get you started.
Although there are fewer than 40 wineries in Temecula, this Southern California wine region has won its fair share of awards. With over 50 varietals produced in Temecula, you are guaranteed to find a wine that suits your palate. Tasting rooms are open year round, typically seven days a week. Temecula has a number of notable fine dining establishments, including the Vineyard Rose Restaurant at South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, a previous recipient of Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence. You won’t have the same selection of luxury hotels and bed and breakfasts as you will find in larger destinations like Napa, but the high-end options Temecula has are certainly worthwhile. South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Ponte Vineyard Inn and the Inn at Churon Winery are amongst some of the top luxury lodging options. To indulge in complete luxury while visiting Temecula’s Wine region, schedule wine-themed spa treatments or reserve a private sunrise balloon flight followed by a romantic picnic in one of the vineyards.
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Santa Barbara is a vacation destination in its own right, but thanks in part to the 2004 movie Sideways, the region has earned a reputation for producing some outstanding wines. Despite Santa Barbara’s quick rise to fame, the area is still very quaint, romantic, and laid back – ideal for a luxury wine country getaway. Santa Ynez, Los Olivos and Solvang are among the most popular wine tasting stops. In the movie Sideways, the main character, Miles, droned on about his love for Pinot Noir from the region and, for good reason. While Santa Barbara produces a number of top-notch varietals, the elegant and tricky Pinot Noir is certainly one of its best. Aside from its award-winning wines, Santa Barbara is situated along one of the most scenic stretches of California’s coastline. Consider enjoying some outdoor activities like kayaking, biking or hiking one of the area’s many trails. Or, take a day and go explore the neighboring Channel Islands. After a long day of outdoor adventure, allot some time for a signature spa treatment, like an exfoliating chocolate scrub or a deep-relaxation foot massage. Santa Barbara is home to a high concentration of spas and wellness centers, with nearly one spa every square mile.
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Photo courtesy of the Napa Valley Vintners Association
Napa Valley is synonymous with romantic luxury, but it obviously does not come cheaply. Hotels in Napa Valley can be extremely pricey, especially during peak seasons like the fall harvest. However, the splurge is worth it as nothing else quite compares to waking up in the heart of Napa Valley. Resorts like Meadowood, Auberge du Soleil, and Hotel Bardessono are amongst the most popular luxury lodging options in Napa. When it comes to fine dining in Napa, the options are endless; however, your choices are often dictated by what reservations are available. One of the most sought after reservations, which is nearly impossible to obtain, is Thomas Keller’s three Michelin-starred French Laundry. If you are one of the lucky few to secure a reservation, it is definitely a meal you won’t soon forget.
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Many people consider Sonoma County’s wine country to be more casual and laid back when compared to Napa Valley, but that’s not to say there’s a shortage of options for a luxury getaway. Spots like Healdsburg, Kenwood, and Sonoma itself offer a number of luxury lodging options. Check out properties like the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, MacArthur Place or Hotel Healdsburg to get a feel for what luxury hotels are available in Sonoma County. Sonoma County has over 500 restaurants ranging from casual bistro fare up to Michelin-starred fine dining establishments. Farmhouse Inn, Madrona Manor and Terrapin Creek are among Sonoma’s Michelin-starred establishments. Since Sonoma wine country is so spread out, splurge on a luxury private car hire to drive you around to the wineries of your choice. This allows you to customize your wine country e
Where would you start your California wine getaway?