Travel Guide to California

2015 Travel Guide to California

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24 2 0 1 5 T R A V E L G U I D E T O C A L I F O R N I A CA.WINE COUNTRY Festivals in Wineland A year-round celebration BY MARCY GORDON There are so many wines, varieties and regions in California (the fourth largest wine producing area in the world after Spain, France and Italy) that figuring out where to go and what to taste can be daunting. Aside from taking a tour, one of the best ways to get acquainted with an area is by attending a local wine festival. Think of it as Wine-Recon, a most delightful way to gather insight and infor- mation on local wineries in a short span of time. From large-scale food and wine fests to small, quirky events focused on specific wines such as Pinot Noir, sparkling, or Rhônes, wine festivals can cater to both the casual wine fan seeking a few hours of food and fun, as well as to the experienced wine enthusiast determined to discover the next great grape producer. NORTHERN CALIFORNIA COAST Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Livermore, Santa Cruz Mountains The most famous California wine region by far is in Northern California. Napa Valley is known around the world for its exceptional wines, and draws more visitors than any other area. The quintes- sential wine country experience was perfected here, with more than 300 MENDOCINO WINE TASTING Sampling local wines is a popular activity, whether in Mendocino, above, or in the many wine growing regions up and down the state. California wines became famous when a Chardonnay from Chateau Montelena in Napa Valley won the Judgment of Paris in 1976. It was an event that rocked the wine world, and the quality of California wines has only grown since then. ERIC LINDBERG. OPPOSITE: ALEXEY U/SHUTTERSTOCK ; LEONARD ZHUKOVSKY/SHUTTERSTOCK ; VICTOR MASCHEK/SHUTTERSTOCK

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