5 California Wine Regions to Visit in 2018!

As you begin to THINK about 2018, and where you’d like to TRAVEL to this year, I wanted to point out some GREAT California Wine Regions worth visiting.  This article focuses more on the smaller, wine regions throughout California that may GET overlooked, and may just showcase WHY they’re worth looking into:


  1. Santa Ynez Valley
  2. El Dorado County
  3. Amador County
  4. Livermore Valley
  5. Mendocino County


Santa Ynez Valley:

I absolutely FELL in love with exploring the Santa Ynez Valley this past May.  The area includes beautiful locations such as Solvang, Buellton, Los Olivos, Santa Ynez and towns on the outskirts of Santa Barbara County.  And this Wine Region is really starting to come into their own in terms of wine making.

Stop into OstrichLand While in Buellton, just outside of Solvang

The small town of Los Olivos is now host to over 20 Wine Tasting Rooms within walking distance of one another.  REALLY, it’s a one stop shop when you visit this town.  Stay at the beautiful Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa, and walk to the many surrounding tasting rooms through town.

The town of Solvang is the largest Danish Village on the West Coast, and its adorable buildings, wind mills, shops and bakeries make a GREAT Day Adventure while visiting the area.  Great Restaurants, Hotels and Tasting Rooms surround this town.  They have great festivals throughout the year including: Taste of Solvang (March 15-19), Old Santa Ynez Day (June 10), Solvang Danish Days (September 15-17), and their Holiday Wine and Beer Walk (December 9-10).

El Dorado County:

For those in the Bay Area that have made the trek to South Lake Tahoe, you may recognize the region known as Apple Hill, although just one part of El Dorado County. Apple Hill is an area full of Apple Farms, Fruit Growers, Wineries and Breweries within one area of El Dorado County. It is the perfect stopping location between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe.

This region is now home to over 42 Wineries within the El Dorado Winery Association! Each Winery having their own story and passion for Winemaking, it’s an entire region worth discovering.

Start your visit out with the Boeger Winery, one of the oldest family run wineries within the region, and continue your Gold Country Trek with a visit to Downtown Placerville, where great shops and restaurants await your arrival!

                                                            The Beauty of Skinner Vineyards in El Dorado County

Or take in the views at Skinner Vineyards, or get inspired by artist turned Winemaker at Chateau Davall, or explore the Rhone Varietal Wines at Holly’s Hill.  There’s a little inspiration at every turn in this fun wine country region!

Amador County:

After spending time in El Dorado County,  it’s time to take your wine tasting adventure to the next county over, just 20 minutes away in Amador County. It’s perfect to plan your wine country vacation by visiting both of these REGIONS.

Let this Gold Country County take you away to great wines just waiting to be discovered by you. This region, that sits in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas offers great views, hospitality, and a slower pace of life.

Andis Wines

Amador County is always a FUN LITTLE ADVENTURE, and a great place to escape any type of city life for a weekend or much needed time away.  The county is now home to over 40+ wineries that are small, family owned wineries, where often, you’ll see them pouring your wine, as you visit!

Mark the calendars for some of their BEST annual events including: Behind the Cellar Door (March 2-4) and their Big Crush Weekend Event October 6-7.

Livermore Valley:

I always LOVE reminding people about Livermore Valley, because, it is probably one of the closest wine regions within the Bay Area, just 45 minutes outside of San Francisco, and even closer to the South Bay.

Concannon House

Concannon House

This wine region is home to California icons such as Wente and Concannon, huge proponents in bringing Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to California, and a HUGE reason why EVERY wine lover needs to visit this area of California.  To honor the lineage to California Wine.

This region is now home to over 50 wineries that excel in making excellent Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and great Port Wines.  It’s the perfect weekend getaway!

Mendocino County:

For me, residing in Sonoma County, I always love taking a weekend getaway to Mendocino County.  It’s where I go when I need to get away for my everyday routine, and where I go to get renewed.  It’s a slower pace of life, but this region makes some incredible wines. And it’s just north of Sonoma County.

Yorkville Cellars within Yorkland Highlands of Mendocino County

Whether you’re visiting Anderson Valley, which excels in their Alsace style White Wines, or their cooler climate Pinot Noirs, and even Sparkling Wine, or whether you choose to explore more inland of Mendocino County and visit the small town of Hopland or north of Ukiah in the Redwood Valley, there’s a lot of GREAT wine meaning to be explored.

Greenwood Ridge Vineyards in Anderson Valley: Mendocino County

This region has quietly been making wine for the past 20-30 years, and the ones that know GREAT wine know to keep coming back here! It’s also a region that has always had great sustainability practices when it comes to wine thanks, in part, to the Fetzer Family, who has helped shaped so much of Mendocino County, and the future winemakers of this region!

Along Bonterra Vineyards: McNab Ranch: Mendocino County

Happy exploring in 2018, where are you headed off to first?



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My French Inspired Cheese Board!



I don’t know about you, but I’ve been in love with French Culture since I was a little girl.  It happened the first time I walked into my french language class in middle school.  From then on out, I’ve had dreams of visiting Paris, exploring the Louvre and dancing in the rain through Paris Streets!

Then, as an adult, as my love for wine and cheese began, a completely new love of France emerged, this one related to their incredible food and wine scene.  Dreams of visiting French Wine Regions dance in my head, along with amazing cuisine to pair with it.

But alas, those dreams have yet to come to fruition, however, in the meantime, at home, I can still envision and play with food and wine right at home.   And that begins with a cheese board:

With the incredible product offerings from Ile de France Cheeses, it’s so easy to create cheese boards you and your family and friends will love.  Great for holiday gatherings, a cold winter nights in, or whenever someone has a snack craving!

I know one of the first cheeses I grab whenever creating a cheese board at home is Brie, and lets be honest, the French know how to make incredible BRIE cheeses.  And, at the grocery stores, the Ile De France brand is one I rely on, and depend on with their creamy textured Bries, and of course, how delicious their cheeses are too:

See how pretty that is?  And, it comes out of the package just like that!  Add in your favorite pairings such as crackers, baguettes, salami, figs, dried apricots, jams, honey or more!  The ideas are endless… what are you thinking for your cheese board? The cheese in the back is the Saint Agur Blue Cheese, which is a perfect companion to salads, and yes, even cheese boards!

The Ile de France brand has other cheeses beyond just Brie too such as Goat Cheese (featured above on the right!) I love Goat Cheese, and am always looking for one to bring home with me.  Goat Cheese is a great pairing with a nice French Bordeaux or Beaujolais too! The Saint Andre is another soft, creamy cheese that is so delicious! and it’s a cheese that you can pretty much PAIR with any food item that is sweet or savory.  It’s the perfect companion on a cheese board loaded with crackers, nuts, and fruits!

BUT, lets be honest, with any cheese pairing, you really need a nice beverage to go along with it.  Lucky for us, we have 2 great examples of wines to have with your at home cheese boards, and these wines just happen to come from France too!

What I am recommending this time around are Easy to Drink, Affordable French Wines, and nothing says this than a wine coming from Georges DuBoeuf.  Lets be honest, the king of Beaujolais wines.  What I love about his wines are how easy they are to drink, and how affordable they are for my wallet.  Retailing anywhere from 9.99 (Pouilly Fuisse White Burgundy Wine) to 34.99 (A Red Beaujolais Wine.)

And nothing’s more pretty than drinking a glass of wine in front of the Christmas Tree this time of the year!

If you’re craving wines from the Bordeaux Region, I have you covered there, as well with these wines featured below:

The White Wine is a blend of Sauvignon and Semillion, a citrus, fruit forward white wine.  A great start to the evening wine when welcoming guests into your home.

For those that truly love Bordeaux wines, save the Red Wine for over dinner, or later in the evening, this Red Wine is a blend of beloved Bordeaux varieties of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot!  So whether you love the Left or Right Bank more, this wine has both banks covered! Also, recommended to enjoy when the lights are turned off, and its just you and your beloved Christmas Tree left in the room!

No matter what, I hope this post has inspired you to try a little bit of French Food and Wine, and to get creative while doing it!


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The Magic of Bonterra Vineyards!

Disclosure: This was a pre-excursion at the 2017 Wine Bloggers Conference… but well…  you will just see the beauty.

It’s been a few weeks now since the 2017 Wine Blogger’s Conference took place in Santa Rosa, California in Sonoma County… and since then, there’s one vineyard that has swept me away!  It was just one morning walk in the rain, and this vineyard captured my heart.  Because yes, it was that magical.

Now, see for yourself in the photos below.. and if you haven’t been to pay a visit to Bonterra Vineyards in Mendocino County, it needs to be on your must visit list now! It was even a bit more magical that morning because we were greeted with raindrops..

Lets begin our walk outside the Barnyard…

First Stop: The Gardens

Be sure to look all around you… to find all thats growing.. Olives…. almost ready to be harvested.

But first, lets meet our tour guide: Bonterra Vineyards Director of Vineyards: Joseph Brinkley

Just a typical fall day in Mendocino County:


Stop and Smell the Roses…

Old Rustic Feel

Thank you Bonterra Vineyards for a Magical Day:

I now know why Bonterra Vineyards won Vineyard of the Year in 2015!  Have you been?





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