Get a Fold Up Wine Road Map for Reference
Each wine area in California, Oregon and Washington will have at least one advertiser supported “wine road” map. We recommend you pick up one of these nifty fold up paper maps when you first arrive in your area. Often there is a version of the web site for the area. These maps usually are an exhaustively complete listing of wineries in the area. And therein lies the problem — too much choice, too little time to visit them all.
Don’t Use Google, Bing, or Other Mapping Apps
Heresy from two techies. But Google and everyone else is a bit too eager to promote their advertisers. Once, when we were staying in San Mateo, we tried Google maps for nearby restaurants. We got two — two — recommendations. One was in Pacifica, approximately 15 miles and half an hour away. Granted this was quite a few days ago, but we remain suspicious. Click here to see a more recent example.
Which Wineries Get on Our Maps
California Wine Fan has been online for seven years. We have visited over 1,000 wineries. We narrow the choice for you. We have kissed the frogs so you won’t have to. Our first priority is finding excellent luxury or at least fair value competent pinot noir. Next we give priority to competence with other reds – for CWF than means cabernet sauvignon, red blends like meritage or rhone-style. Last we do take note of wineries that have a special setting or a back story. We believe winery tasting is not just a quest for the best tasting wine but is also tourism. Scenery, architecture, ambience, sociability and novelty all count towards the day’s experience. We do not list wineries that did not have enough positives for CWF to want to return or to recommend to a friend. We would be happy to learn about your picks in case we missed a goodie.
How to Make Your Own Map[quote_left]We narrow the choice for you. We have kissed the frogs so you won’t have to.[/quote_left]When we are going into a wine area that is new to us we do the research. For example, to prep for our trip to the Willamette Valley, Oregon area we subscribed to Wine Spectator and used the database to search for wineries that had had a least one 92 point noir in the last 10 years. Then we ranked each wineries by the number of 92 bottles over the years. The most consistent winners were the back bone of the list. We realize most of these are on wine lists of the $$$$ restaurants in NYC, SF, and LA. We cross checked this list with friends for some additions. Of course we realize, Wine Spectator is unlikely to be aware of a new up and coming small lot pinot producers or of good values. So when we arrive in an area we ask the people on the ground for more names. Find them on maps and see which wineries are near each other. Plan routes for as many days as you have time, money and energy for tasting touring. We usually can’t do more than 5 winery visits a day.
Be sure to Check Winery Days and Hours —
if it’s not a summer weekend
The majority of wineries are open Saturday and Sunday 11 to 4 in summer months. However, some are open only by appointment. Days and hours are usually on the fold out “wine road” map as are the phone numbers for making appointments or getting last minute directions. (Or use your smart phone).
Future Tour Maps
CWF plans to develop maps for additional areas including, Napa, Monterey, Santa Cruz, Nothern Sonoma, Paso Robles westside, Santa Maria, Santa Barbara, Willamette Valley. In the meantime, please enjoy our…
Sonoma Pinot Map, updated August 2011
Livermore Reds Map, created September 2011