Do you long to be transported to another world full of wine, cheese, and charming estates? Do you want to feel like you are in the French countryside without paying thousands of dollars to get there? Are you craving a quiet picturesque getaway surrounded by vineyards and charming architecture?
You don’t need to fly all the way to Europe for an incredible vacation in wine country. You can taste the fruity tannins of delicious wine right here on the west coast of the United States.
California and the Pacific Northwest are known for their stunning landscapes, rich soil, and commitment to sustainability and agricultural preservation—the perfect setting for producing delicious wine and cultivating memorable experiences with those you love.
Whether you are visiting California’s infamous Napa Valley, the Willamette Valley in Oregon, or the Columbia Valley in Washington, endless charming destinations exist.
What can you expect from the West Coast wine country?
Wine from California
When you think of wine in the US, you most likely think of Napa Valley, California. California is the premier wine-producing region in the US and ranks fourth in the world, alongside Italy and France. It has held its position as a premier wine destination for decades, and with good reason.
The state’s Mediterranean-like climate, with warm, dry summer months and wild, wet winters, make it an ideal location for growing wine grapes. The weather in the region provides the perfect conditions for the grapes to grow steadily and retain the acidity that creates a fresh and balanced flavor. The region’s variety of microclimates, exposures, and elevations allows winemakers to capitalize on the potential.
California’s wine country has countless incredible wineries and vineyards, including Napa Valley, St; Helena, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara.
Wine from Oregon
The Willamette Valley hosts Oregon’s wine country and its 600 or so wineries. They produce delicious Chardonnay, Cabernet, Sauvignon, Pino Gris, and Reisling wines. However, the region’s Pino Noirs has earned its recognition in the last few decades.
Many wineries in the valley hold biodynamic farming standards and take a holistic and organic approach to farming. Willamette Valley is known for having the highest sustainability standards to preserve the natural environment and produce pure and delicious wine.
It is the ideal climate to grow earlier-ripening grapes thanks to its mild weather year-round. An ocean breeze and surrounding mountains offer the perfect atmosphere for producing and drinking tasty wine.
Wine from Washington
The world is just discovering the incredible potential for delicious wine found in the region. The unique soil, sun, and climate blend creates the perfect formula for a wide range of fruit. It wasn’t until recent years that the region made significant advances in its international wine presence.
Washington’s wine country in the Walla Walla region in the southeastern part of the state is the premier wine region. This region has a similar climate to France, one of the premier wine regions in the world. It sits 46 degrees north of the equator, allowing it to run parallel to Burgundy, Rhone, and Bordeaux, France.
Unlike Oregon and California, Washington has dramatic daily temperature fluctuations, which allows for a mixture of Old World and New World styles. The warm summer days create ripe fruit flavors. The sizeable diurnal shift and rapid cooling at harvest preserve the natural acidity. The state has multiple terriers, which allows it to produce diverse wine varieties.
Stunning Wineries to Visit on the West Coast
For idyllic scenery and a serene experience, check out the Far Niente winery in Oakville, California. Since 1979, Far Niente has been known for its quality chardonnay and cabernet wines and picturesque property. The stone winery, lush gardens, sprawling vineyards, and historic wine caves make the perfect date or girls’ getaway!
Far Niente has a deep history of winemaking in the region. They are respected for their passion, precision, and history of excellence.
There are multiple wine-tasting experience options, and prices start around $100. If you are interested, make sure you reserve your spot in advance.
Chehalem is a vineyard winery aiming to accurately represent the wine grapes’ pure flavor. They deeply respect their vineyards and strive to represent the land well.
The winery was founded in 1990 but gained no recognition until early 2018, when it became the 6th Oregon winery to achieve a B Corp status. This rigorous certification process ensures that the winery meets the highest verified social and environmental performance standards, public transparency, and legal accountability.
They are known for their single-vineyard Pinot Noirs and progressive white wine approach. The climate of the region and its winemaking style produces wines that are balanced, elegant, and rich in texture.
There are multiple wine-tasting experiences available, and prices start at $24. Like every winery on this list, you’ll want to reserve your spot in advance.
The Adelsheim family founded the Adelsheim Vineyard in the 1970s. This family winery has become a benchmark for Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and was the first winery in the Chehalem Mountains. They have sought “to create world-class wines in an undiscovered wine region, the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon’s Willamette Valley.”
The price of tastings starts at $35. For $95, you can indulge in their celebrated limited-production wines. Make sure you reserve your spot in advance because there is limited availability.
Stags Leap is one of California’s oldest wine estates. It is located in an intimate valley inside the greater Napa Valley. The stone-faced Manor House was built in the 1890s. The castle-like house has an English Renaissance-style exterior and an Arts and Crafts interior showing off a coffered redwood ceiling and white oak floor.
The estate grounds are full of charming agricultural and architectural features for you to explore, including a Carriage House, stone cabanas, and Moon Garden. You might also come across the Old Stone Cellar ruins. The original owners built the Cellar a few years after the manner, and it hasn’t been used since a fire destroyed it over a century ago.
Multiple tasting experience packages are available, all of which are only available with appointments. Prices start at around $85 per person.
Founded by one of Washington’s wine pioneers, Allen Chester Shoup, who enjoyed a distinguished 20-year career stirring multiple wineries to international prominence. Establishing Long Shadow was Allen Shoup’s retirement plan, but it became his most ambitious and personal project.
Located in the Columbia Valley, the world’s youngest premier wine region, this charming winery’s tasting room was voted America’s #1 Tasting Room in 2022 by USA Today. They strive to showcase their passion for wine through exclusive wine offerings and personalized attention and insights.
Multiple packages are available, and tasting costs around $20 per person. You will need a reservation.
When planning your next wine retreat,
Imagine waking up in a charming 2Xcape.com home exchange (no daily rates) in the heart of wine country. The savings you enjoy as a 2Xcape member allow you to treat yourself like a king or queen! You take a lazy morning, head to the local winery to sip some wine in a cozy wine cellar, then stroll through the estate grounds at sunset. It sounds perfect if you ask us!
Whether you are planning your next girls’ weekend or a romantic trip with your boo, the various wine regions along the West Coast are perfect for a quiet getaway.