Something about studying wine in a classroom doesn’t feel right. It doesn’t take much to pack up your wanderlust and head to the wine country. As a San Franciscan, heading to the wine country for the day or even lunch is way too easy. It’s also terribly hard to get tired of your options because there are so many different wine regions within reach. Even if you are the adventurous type, you’ll find plenty of unique characteristics in wine regions just an hour outside the Bay Area.

My sense of adventure got me to venture beyond the well known wine regions in search of trailblazer winemaking folks, smiles that outnumber attitudes, and that farm fresh food that goes with great wine. The further I got from the beaten path, the more I learned. Most water cooler conversations about my wine roadtripping went like this:

“What did you do this weekend?”

“Visited the wine country” I’d say.


“Nope” I’d say.

“Ah, Sonoma…” was pretty typical from friends or colleagues who know a thing or two about wine, some even California natives who have driven past vineyards on the way to Santa Barbara or Sacramento. After shaking my head again, the most common response was, “What else is there in California?”

The next 24 months of my life might just make them drink those words. Rented out my San Francisco apartment and I’m spending a month or two at a time in one of California’s wine pockets. Some are new and undiscovered while others are this wine scout’s favorites.

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