When some people think of California, images of beautiful beaches and lively boardwalks might come to mind. Or maybe thoughts of trendy shops and restaurants under the bright city lights take over. But the true Cali is best represented with images of stunning vineyards and classic wineries. Anyone that takes a road trip through California should consider visiting some of the popular wine country destinations, such as Napa Valley!
But before planning your wine country road trip, be sure to secure car rental insurance if you choose not to drive your own personal vehicle. An exciting way to spice things up and make the drive through Cali worth your while is by renting a luxury car. Driving a brand new Mercedes or Bentley through the rolling foothills of the wine country will definitely make your trip more memorable.
Premium coverage from a reputable company like Bonzah is a crucial – especially when renting a luxury vehicle – and will cover you for things like car rental damage and theft, loss of baggage and other personal items, and emergency roadside assistance. So hop in your rented Mercedes-Benz and explore the magical wine country by visiting these wineries throughout your California road trip!
San Pasqual Winery
San Pasqual’s main winery is just ten miles east of San Diego, located in La Mesa, California. They also offer tastings at the Seaport Village tasting room, which overlooks the San Diego Bay. When you sign up for a tasting here, you’ll get the chance to try a variety of five wines. Many of the wines here have citrus undertones, and they even have a few passion fruit wines to try. Many wine lovers don’t consider southern Cali to be a producer of amazing wines, but this is not the case for San Pasqual Winery.
Fess Parker Winery
The best way to experience Fess Parker Winery in Los Olivos is to sign up for a tasting or tour. A tasting is $15 per person and groups of no more than five are recommended (although larger groups can be accommodated for). There is also an option to do a Tasting and Tour experience, and you’ll get to try some local artisan cheeses to pair with each wine. During the tour, you’ll be taken through a working barrel room and be taught wine ageing processes. These tours require reservations, and cater to larger groups (up to 12 people).
As far as specific wines go, many people find Fess Parker’s white blend – Marcella’s – to be a top seller. This wine is known for its blend of apricot and apple flavors, and is perfect for enjoying in the summertime. If you’re more a fan of red wines, be sure to try the Big Easy, which is a red blend with hints of cherry, blackberry, and vanilla flavors.
Broken Earth Winery
The most popular winery in Paso Robles is by far the Broken Earth Winery. Many travelers appreciate the philosophies of Broken Earth because this winery is focused on sustainable farming practices. Another perk of visiting is the great deal you get when you sign up for a tasting. The wine tasting here offers six wines paired with six cheeses, and is only $10. You also have the option to sign up for a chocolate and wine pairing. If the tasting isn’t for you, grab a bite at the winery’s cafe. The cafe serves food from 11am to 4pm every day except Saturday, and is best known for its meat and veggie pies.
Castello Di Amorosa (The Castle Winery)
Who doesn’t want to explore the inside of a castle while drinking delicious wine? When you visit Castello di Amorosa in Napa Valley, you’ll get the chance to do just this. The castle was built just about 20 years ago, but has the integrity of a castle built centuries in the past. The Tuscan-inspired architectural masterpiece is enough to bring people from all over, but the reason people choose to stay is the wine selection offered by Castello di Amorosa.
There are several options for tours and tastings depending on how you choose to experience the winery. You can do a basic tasting, but the main recommendation is to do a tasting and castle tour combination, which offers a private tour of the castle and six wine tastings and cheese pairings. There is a wine for everyone here, but one of the most popular ones is called Il Brigante, which is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Sangiovese.
Amador Cellars is located in California’s Sierra foothills, and the views are nothing short of breathtaking here. The winery is family owned and run, and it’s refreshing to see that the owners value family so strongly. Chances are you’ll actually get to meet several members of the family, including the two friendly dogs that roam the grounds. You can’t beat the $5 wine tasting deal offered by Amador; for that small price, you’ll get to try a variety of six wines.
One of the more popular wines here is the GSM blend, which is an interesting mixture of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Its popularity comes from its blueberry and lavender flavors, so don’t be surprised if you leave the winery with a bottle or two. People come to Amador Cellars to try the wine, but they keep coming back for the welcoming family-oriented atmosphere.
If you are pretty certain about your personal wine preferences, Renwood Winery offers great options for tastings. For example, if you know you prefer Zinfandels, you can choose a flight of tastings focused solely on Zinfandel and other white wines. The main recommendation for your tasting, however, is to try the Taste of Renwood collection – you’ll get the chance to try a wider variety of wines. You won’t go hungry when sampling wines here. Renwood offers finger foods from artisan cheeses to charcuterie platters, but also has heartier options like deli sandwiches and fresh salads every day of the week. If you’re interested in exploring the inner workings of the winery, sign up for an hour-long tour, where you’ll learn about wine making and aging processes.