When it comes to exploring wine country, people are generally split into two different groups. There are some who like to travel alone, or with smaller groups, seeking out smaller, more intimate wineries where there is little chance of there being large crowds. Then there are those wine lovers who enjoy nothing more than being among as many other wine people as possible, which usually means seeking out the festival circuit. With California being the biggest wine destination in the US, it’s no surprise that they have more than their fair share of wine festivals. Let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular.
Wine Lands at Outside Lands – Located in San Francisco, the Outside Lands festival is now in its 10th year, and appears to be growing with each passing year. The festival is home to some of the biggest musical acts in the world, whilst also offering up a fantastic selection of Bay Area food. The highlight of this festival for wine lovers, though, has to be Wine Lands. There are usually more than 120 different wines waiting to be sampled here, and local winemakers are more than happy to talk about their wines and how they are made.
California Wine Festival – Head on over to Santa Barbara for this festival and be treated to wines from every single region in the state. You can usually expect there to be about 350 different wines to be sampled, which is why you may want to spread this one over the 3 days that it is open. You will also find reserve wine samplings held on a couple of the nights, so be sure to check out the schedule of events to ensure you get the perfect experience for your tastes.
L.A. Wine Fest – This is a 2-day event held on the Raleigh Studios lot in Los Angeles, and it is one of the larger wine festivals on the California calendar. There are usually 500+ wines on offer, including many from international winemakers, as well as the in-state varieties. Cheese sampling and craft beer tasting is also available at this event, and if you plan on being a designated driver, you can gain entry for a reduced ticket fee.
Auction Napa Valley – This festival embraces win tasting with charities in mind. You, of course, get to sample great wine and food during the 4 days of this event, but you also get the opportunity to bid on special wines, with all the money raised going to charitable organizations. This festival and auction has been going for 30-plus years now, and has extended to allow online bidding, just in case you can’t make it to Napa Valley for the event.
Paso Robles Wine Country Festival – For over 35 years, Paso Robles has been home to one of the best wine festivals in the state of California. There is a lot going on at this 3-day event, including tasting, food and wine parings, and auctions, but the highlight for many is when the wineries who usually only accept visitors by reservation throw their doors wide open to everyone.