Is December too late to do a North California winery tour?
November 14, 2007 9:19 AM   Subscribe

I'm considering taking a 4-day weekend trip out to California's North Coast to do some winery-hopping and hiking. Is this a mistake? My wife has vacation time the first couple weekends of December. Is it going to be too cold? Are the wineries even open this time of year?
posted by Plutor to Travel & Transportation around North Carolina (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Actually this is a great time for a winery visit, because there wont be any crowds and you can probably even chat with the winemakers if you like. If you find some wineries on the route you plan to take, couldnt hurt to give'm a call and see if their tasting room is open.

Generic link to North Coast Winery info.

It may be chilly. Bring warm clothes and wind/rain gear.

Not sure of your itinerary but Point Reyes is a nice place for hikes etc.
posted by elendil71 at 9:29 AM on November 14, 2007

It's a great time of year because there won't be millions of people. Some of the more vacation oriented places will be quieter. Last time I was in Mendocino in the winter all the hotels were open but a few of the better restaurants were closed or on limited hours.

Wineries should generally be open. You should probably try to verify that for yourself.

It won't be cold so much as maybe wet and grey.
posted by Nelson at 9:39 AM on November 14, 2007

I would add that it has the potential to be seriously rainy, and the temperature may never get above the 40s. That's not necessarily terrible -- Northern California in the rain is utterly gorgeous, and I highly recommend a visit to the redwoods in a light rain -- but it's something to consider. The rains in Northern California can be pretty unpredictable too. Some years, they never come, and some years they don't stop for weeks on end.
posted by Palaverist at 10:07 AM on November 14, 2007

It'll be cold but wineries are open and like someone else said, a great time to taste without the crowds. I'd suggest skipping Napa and going to Dry creek/Alexander Valley (couple of hours north east of Napa).

There are redwoods to hike and great wine to be drunk (I'd personally recommend Preston and Pedroncelli).
posted by special-k at 10:17 AM on November 14, 2007

Might be rainy, or ir might be gorgeous and 70 degrees. You never know.

Hie thee to the Navarro Vineyards in the Anderson Valley. Their wine is essentially unavailable in retail outlets - they sell at their (free) tasting room, online, and to restaurants only. I love both their dry Gewurz and their Pinot. And everything else I've tried there.

Conveniently, the Husch Vineyards are right up the road.

The Anderson Valley is gorgeous and still pretty off the beaten winery track. And if you're a beer fan, you can stop in Boonville and have some beer made by the fantastic folks at the Anderson Valley Brewing Company.

And if you love brandy, do call the Germain-Robin brandy-making folks, who are in Ukiah. They do tastings by appointment, and they're wonderful and friendly and their brandies and liquers are out of this world.
posted by rtha at 10:19 AM on November 14, 2007

Please don't leave out the Russian River appellation in Sonoma County! A huge amount of small, out-of-the way wineries.
posted by roderashe at 10:36 AM on November 14, 2007

Didn't mean to leave out the Russian river valley (I work near there). Thanks roderashe.
posted by special-k at 12:29 PM on November 14, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks for the great answers. I know that Napa is the most popular winery area, and probably not necessarily the best, but given our limited time limit and the fact that we'd like to visit with some friends and family in San Fran and San Jose, I think we'll stick to it.

But you guys settled my fears. I booked the trip last night!
posted by Plutor at 4:40 AM on November 15, 2007

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