Try Some Wine Road Trips Through Southern California

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Wine Institute’s California Wines Road Trip Series has announced its new suggested destinations for travelers to California in March, focusing on off-the-beaten-path regions.

For guests traveling on California's Central Coast, Wine Institute suggests a visit to Monterey County wine country and a visit to San Benito County's wine region, known for Syrah and Pinot Noir. In addition, situated east of the Santa Cruz Mountains region, Santa Clara County has 25 wineries, while Napa Valley visitors looking to venture off road can head just a few miles east to Suisun Valley, located in Solano County, midway between San Francisco and Sacramento.  San Francisco travelers are encouraged to head north over the Golden Gate Bridge to the Marin County wineries or east over the Bay Bridge to visit the Oakland Urban Wine Trail, which is walkable and accessible by ferry, BART, Oakland's free Broadway shuttle and Amtrak.

Travelers looking to experience both wine and wildlife can visit wineries in the far north of California, including Humboldt County wineries near the coast and Redwood National and State Parks. The Shasta-Cascade Viticultural Association represents the 25-plus wineries offering mountain views in five North State counties. Manton Valley wineries (Tehama County) span the Trinity Alps to the west and Lassen Volcanic National Park to the east. 

For travelers looking for places to stay, Wine Institute suggests heading to San Benito County and Santa Clara County on the Central Coast, while visitors to the San Francisco Bay Area should check out Marin County, Oakland and Solano County accommodations.

Santa Clara Valley recently launched a new wine trail with wayfinding signage. The next passport weekend runs March 17-18. Also tasting experiences will take place along the Marin County wine trail and San Benito wine trail, with the annual Suisun Valley Passport Sunday set for April 23, 2017. 

In June, Tehama County's agricultural producers along the Tehama Trail open for Passport Weekend. Culinary enthusiasts can visit wineries and vineyards along with family farms growing a variety of vegetables, fruits, nuts, beef, olives and olive oil.

Additionally, the California Cheese Trail runs through several of these regions. Many of the creameries offer cheese-making classes throughout Marin, which along with Sonoma has the largest concentration of artisan and farmstead cheese makers, second only to Vermont.  Marin's Cowgirl Creamery offers a Cheese 101 cheese making and tasting class. Reservations are required. Humboldt County's Artisan Cheese Factory also offers classes.

Several regions throughout California also offer travelers an opportunity to visit the surrounding farm country along farm trails. Examples include San Benito and Santa Clara county farm trails, the Happy Valley Farm Trail in Shasta County, the Tehama Trail in Tehama County, the Sonoma-Marin Cheese Trail and the Humboldt Bay Oyster Tours, where visitors can go to oyster nurseries and pick fresh oysters. Solano Grown also offers several wine experiences and events.

Visit www.discovercaliforniawines.com for an interactive map to search wineries by amenities such as tours, gardens, art and food.