It wasn’t until the 1970 and a blind tasting competition in France (As depicted in the film “Bottle Shock”) did the wineries of California gain recognition. Since then the California wine industry has grown to become one of biggest industries in the state as well as US at large. Today California offers some of the finest wines and wine tasting experiences.
Although wine is produced all over California, there are two primary regions considered the most recognized. The first region is the notorious Napa Valley. Napa Valley is known for producing high quality grapes enriched by the ancient mineral deposits found in the Napa river valley soil. As a result, Napa is most widely known for it’s Cabernet Sauvignon. However, given the prestigue surrounding Napa Valley, everything from tours and tasting to accommodation and dining out is on the pricy side.
The second region, is California’s Central coast. The morning fogs, a warm sun and cool afternoon breez provides the perfect setting for slow-ripening pinot noir and other superb varietals. Although the Central Coast is a lesser known wine producing region, it makes high quality fine wines as good if not better than Napa. This makes the Central Coast an ideal destination for any wine lover on a budget.
One of Best Wineries On The Central Coast
Kelsey See Canyon Vineyards – Avila : Kelsey Winery is a smaller and lesser known winery but that’s what makes it so special. It’s located in a lush valley just outside of San Luis Obispo near the seaside town of Avila.
Here you can taste fine wines and even take a wine tour with head wine maker, Jac Jacobs. Few other wineries offer such a quaint atmosphere or a personal introduction and insight into the wine making process. Definitely a must visit Central Coast winery.
Wine Tasting Etiquette
If it’s your first time touring wineries, you’re going to want to know some of the etiquette when it comes to wine tasting. Wine tasting should not be rushed. Once you’re poured a glass allow the wine to breath for a few minutes. During this time, you can and should smell the wine. As you inhale slowly, immerse yourself in the aroma of the wine. When it comes time to sip, do just that. Take small sips and try to identify all the flavors in the wine. Remember wine tasting is completely subjective. Whether you taste barn yard, almonds, orange peel, or chocolate, there’s no wrong taste or wrong way to describe a wine. Because at the end of the day, who’s to tell you what you taste. For more info check out The Essential Guide To Wine Etiquette.
When To Go
The warm climate of the Central Coast makes any time of year a good time to go. However if you want to experience the wine making process the best time to visit is during the annual crush. Crush refers to the process of crushing the newly harvested grapes and this occurs in the fall from between Sept-Nov depending on the location. At this time the weather is also quite nice but can still be on the hot side with day time temperatures often reaching into the upper 80’s and 90’s.
When it comes to winery tour and tastings in California there is no better region than the central coast and in particular the wineries around San Luis Obispo/Paso Robles. Here you can taste some of the finest wines at a great value. Not only is the Central Coast cheaper than Napa but it’s also a bit more laid back and country. The slow pace and humble wine makers make it a relaxed and un-superficial wine tasting experience.