From quiet vineyards bounded by lush redwood forests along the Mendocino Coast, to the sun-drenched rolling hills of rugged Lake County, the North Coast has about as varied a wine country as you can get.
Start near the Pacific, where summer fog and wet winters make for some of the coolest wine-growing climate in California.
Organic, sustainable farming techniques are the norm in this tucked-away corner of the state; You can chat about grapes and grape-growing with local winemakers, who are often the ones pouring the wines in relaxed, unpretentious tasting rooms.
On the county’s west side, Anderson Valley, cooled by ocean fog, produces sublime Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Gewürztraminer, while warmer Redwood Valley showcases hearty reds, especially Zinfandel.
See what it’s all about at Frey Vineyards, America’s first maker of certified biodynamic wines—they even say they are vegan and gluten-free.
(Frey was one of the few California wineries to sustain heavy damage during the wildfires of 2017, including its tasting room.
Be sure to stop at charming Boonville General Store in Boonville to pick up local cheeses and other artisanal foods for a picnic to go with your bottles.