Category

Wine

Sonoma County and Wine Tourism: A Love Affair

By Wine No Comments

We at Taste Vacations and Zephyr Adventures have had a love affair with Sonoma County for 17 years.

Believe it or not, our first-ever tour in the area was a 1998 inline skating tour of “San Francisco and the Wine Country” that included, among other routes, a beautiful loop in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. We then expanded to include biking tours that combined Napa and Sonoma and this naturally led to us choosing Sonoma County for the first-ever Wine Bloggers Conference.

We have since run a number of Sonoma Hiking Tours focused on the wine country and continually offer one-day Sonoma Vineyard Walks.

So it is no mystery why we think Sonoma County is the perfect place for our new Sonoma County Wine Tour. Here are a few reasons why we love the area:

  • Sonoma County has vast, varied, beautiful terrain ranging from the Pacific Ocean on the west to the Mayacama mountains on the east.
  • The county has 16 distinct grape growing areas such as the Russian River, Alexander Valley, and Sonoma Valley, all of which produce amazing fruit for delicious wines.
  • The Sonoma County Airport is super convenient, in the middle of the county and such a time saver. But you also have options to fly in through San Francisco, San Jose, Sacramento, and Oakland.
  • Santa Rosa, the county’s largest town, is hip and fun. If you get tired of wine, you can visit the acclaimed Russian River Brewing Company to taste their famous Pliny the Elder beer.
  • Cute small wine towns are a must for a good wine vacation and Sonoma County has three gems: the towns of Sonoma, Healdsburg, and Geyserville.
  • The people in Sonoma County are extremely welcoming and warm. For the most part they are genuinely happy to have visitors and to take the time to pour wines and explain their county.

Our Sonoma County Wine Tour is October 27 -29 and we welcome you to join us! You can also plan your own private Sonoma wine tour with a group size as small as four people.

The Wine Wrangler header

Wine Touring in Paso Robles

By Wine No Comments

I was recently in Paso Robles, California running our Wine Tourism Conference. This conference, now in its fifth year, gathers approximately 200 wine and tourism industry leaders from throughout North America and beyond to learn about the current state of wine tourism.

Meeting industry leaders at this conference is one of the many ways the events side of our business contributes to the tours side of our companies – for both Taste Vacations and Zephyr Adventures. Not only do we learn about what is hot and new in the world of wine (and food and beer) tourism but we meet people who help us provide unique, intimate experiences on our wine tours or help us create brand new tour itineraries.

Paso Robles is one of the cutest small wine towns in the country. The town of 30,000 is situated between LA and San Francisco, about 30 minutes from the Pacific Ocean, and is considered part of the Central Coast region of California. Paso (as many locals call it) has a cute main plaza, excellent restaurants, and fantastic wineries in the area.

We don’t yet run a tour in the Central Coast region but if you find yourself in the Paso Robles area, I can strongly recommend doing a little wine touring with The Wine Wrangler. Coy Barnes, the owner, is an ex-teacher turned wine educator who is competent, organized, and friendly – just want you want from a tour company.

Coy spoke at the Wine Tourism Conference and I had a chance to sit down to lunch with him. It is always a pleasure meeting attendees at our conferences but Coy and I, naturally, had a lot in common. The beauty of taking a day tour with Coy or one of his guides is they select the wineries to visit – with 170 in the region, it helps to have expert advice – and handle all the driving.

So until we at Taste Vacations create a Central Coast trip, look to Coy and The Wine Wrangler for your wine touring in the Paso Robles area!

Malbec Red Wine Glass

Argentina’s Flagship Wine – Malbec

By Taste Vacations, Wine No Comments

When you think of Argentine wine, you most likely think of Malbec, and for good reason.  Though Malbec is grown in at least 7 different countries, Argentina is the clear leader in production –  accounting for over 75% of Malbec acres grown. The grape originated in France but found its way to Mendoza, Argentina in the mid-1800s where it has thrived ever since.  This is mainly due to Argentina’s broad temperature ranges and clay soil along the Andes mountain range.

Argentina Vineyard

Malbec has a wonderful blackberry, plum, and black cherry fruit flavor with a peppery, sweet tobacco finish. It pairs nicely with red meats, hard cheeses, and earthier flavors such as grilled meats and mushrooms.  It has grown in popularity over the past several years and even has its own holiday, the Malbec World Day, that occurs every April and is celebrated around the globe. If Malbec is one of your favorites, you might want to look up a local event in your area and join in the fun.

Or better yet, visit the source of this delicious wine on our Chile and Argentina wine tour. Since most of Argentina’s wine regions are located just off of the Andes, you’re treated to beautiful and breathtaking mountain views while enjoying the country’s most renowned varietal.  For more information about our Taste Vacations wine tour, visit the Chile and Argentina wine tour page.