What is Wine Country?

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These days, you can consider a large portion of California as Wine Country. Traditionally, tough, most people think of the region north of the San Francisco Bay commonly referred to as Napa, Napa County, or the Napa Valley. All of these names are inadequate, in part because they do not account for the equally important Sonoma, Sonoma County, and Sonoma Valley.

When strictly speaking of the Napa Valley, the area that most commonly comes to mind is between Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, both connecting the 20 miles between Napa and St. Helena. However, St. Helena and Calistoga – further north on Highway 29 by about 15 miles – both have a huge supply of wineries open for tours. In fact, Calistoga is a destination in its own right for its hot springs and spa experiences.

If you jump from Highway 29 to Highway 12 (roughly 15 miles east), you enter Sonoma County. For about 25 miles, you can easily find as many wineries along Highway 12 through Sonoma, Glen Ellen, and past Kenwood as you would along Highway 29 through the Napa Valley area.

If you continue north to Highway 101 and the city of Santa Rosa, you enter another stretch of “Wine Country” through Windsor and up past Geyserville. That is about another 40 miles along Highway 101 with a 10 to 15 mile east-west span.

As you might expect, there are more wineries, restaurants, culture, sights to see, tours to take and shops to visit in Wine Country than anyone can taste, experience, or see in a day, weekend, or week. When you come to visit, be prepared for the fact that you will want to visit again and stay at the Candlelight Inn Napa Valley.

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