What we in the United States refer to as “wine country” describes the area just northeast of San Francisco which emcompasses the Sonoma and Napa Valleys. This is probably the most extensive wine-making region in the country and certainly is the most visited.
We have been here twice, once on a day trip from San Francisco and once for four (4) nights as part of a lengthier trip through California.
Wine-tastings are the draw here, although they have gotten rather expensive (during our first trip in 1993, most vineyards offered free tasting).
During our first trip, a highlight was our visit to the Sebastiani Vineyard.
This is a pretty good illustration of how the wine industry has changed over the last 20 years — this vineyard, once one of the largest and most visited, is now seldom mentioned when top vineyards are discussed.
These days, vineyards have become much more upscale — the wines are more sophisticated and the vineyards are impeccably landscaped and geared toward tourists. Look at the grounds at the Ferrari-Carano Vineyard, for example.
Wine-tasting at the Ledson vineyard takes place in an elegant chateau.
Even more elaborate is the Amorosa Castle.
The town of Sonoma was particularly quaint and charming, with its interesting Town Hall
and its State Historic Site.
Napa is much larger and seems to have lost much of its earlier charm..