Black Friday Alternatives: Spend the Day in California Wine Country


Tasting room at La Cetto WineryBy Kate Blake Admin, and Travel Advisor

If you hate crowds and shopping and find yourself doing most of your holiday shopping online why not skip the hustle and bustle of the mall and shopping centers and get out instead and do something much more fun – like going wine tasting?

Visiting wine country is the first suggestion I have for a fabulous way to spend the day after Thanksgiving. When I lived in California my friends and I used to make an annual event out of meeting up and spending the day wine tasting. A typical itinerary in Napa would start with a stop at Mondavi, then head to Beringers and then a stop at Sattui for lunch – they have great eats along with wine and a beautiful picnic area. Later head up and go to either Sterling and ride the tram up the hill or maybe go all the way into St Helena or Calistoga and visit some art galleries and small artisans for some civilized shopping options. Dinner in Yountville is always a good choice for rounding out your day in the Napa Valley. Check out the official website for more ideas!

If Sonoma County ( my old home stomping grounds) is more you speed Рyou can cruise up the 101 north of Santa Rosa and head into Healdsburg then take the Redwood Highway west to Guernville along the river road.  Get a map and check out local happenings here at the official Sonoma County Wineries site.

Want to head down the coast? The central coast wineries were made famous by the indie hit movie Sideways. Solvang , California is a great base for a central coast weekend of wine tasting as a bonus get a taste of Scandinavia while you are at it.

Want more wine and a different get away?  Carnival and Princess cruise lines offer fun 3 and 4 night cruises from Los Angeles and Long Beach to Ensenada. Ensenada has a burgeoning wine business with over 100 wineries in the area! You can do a fun day tour while in port for about $49 per person that will include a bottle of wine, tour and tasting. Really fun and worth it.


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