Keep These Wineries on Your Radar or Bucket List


Starting from San Francisco? Here are some spots to add to your itinerary…

Balletto Vineyards – Just a two-hour drive from San Francisco is Balletto Vineyards, owned by John Balletto and his wife, Terri. A family of vegetable farmers turned wine grape growers, the Balletto team makes site-specific wines from their estate vineyards. Their vineyards, located in the Russian River Valley, span 700 acres of which only 10% of the top grapes are used and bottled under the Balletto label. Visitors able to enjoy the estate-grown wines out on the patio overlooking the property. Reservations are required with daily tastings at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Address: 5700 Occidental Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401

Bread & Butter Tasting Room – Opening Summer 2021, this beautiful, relaxed setting in Napa Valley, was designed to feel like an elegant and comfortable home. Visitors will have the opportunity to experience the newly released Napa Valley wines from winemaker Linda Trotta.
Address:  3105 Silverado Trail, Napa, California

If a road trip down to Big Sur is on your list, don’t miss…

Hahn Family Wines – Pioneers in the Santa Lucia Highlands, celebrating 40 years of winemaking, Hahn Family Wines is an independent, family-owned wine company. Their wines comprise of six estate vineyards in the Santa Lucia Highlands and Arroyo Seco appellations. Travelers can visit the estate or the tasting room in Carmel, which is located just blocks away from Carmel Beach and the Pebble Beach Golf Course. A visit to the estate includes a tasting with panoramic views of the vineyards. You can’t go wrong with either choice! Reservations are recommended and can be made online.
Estate Address: 37700 Foothill Rd, Soledad, CA 93960
Carmel Address: Ocean Avenue and Mission Street on the Ground Floor, Carmel-By-The-Sea, CA 93923

Just an hour drive south…

SLO and Paso Robles – An up-and-coming wine destination that has caught steam in recent years, Paso Robles is unlike any other and should not be compared with other California spots. People gravitate to the area because the locals are laidback and there’s a strong sense of community. It’s the gift that keeps giving with its diversity in varietal expression – you can go to two vineyards right across from each other growing the same grape and have two completely different experiences. Visit Baileyana Winery in SLO and Chronic Cellars in Paso while you’re there.
Baileyana Address: 5828 Orcutt Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Chronic Cellars Address: 2020 Nacimiento Lake Dr, Paso Robles, CA 93446

Heading East – North Carolina


Biltmore Winery – A destination on its own, Biltmore Winery is nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Asheville, North Carolina adjacent to the famous Biltmore House built by George Vanderbilt in 1895. The estate encompasses 8,000 acres of land with about 45 of those acres dedicated to vineyards that grow vitis vinifera grapes. Biltmore produces a storied portfolio of award-winning wines using these grapes as well as from partners in North Carolina and other premium growing regions across America. Each wine has a source, an intention and a story behind it, much like the estate itself. A visit to the winery is included with the purchase of a ticket and a reservation is required. Tip: making a reservation early in the day is recommended as spaces fill quickly. Visitors have several options to choose from for accommodations with the most popular being the 4-star luxury, The Inn, and there are plenty of activities for those staying on the grounds.
Address: 1 Lodge St, Asheville, NC 28803

For the Bucket List – International


Chateau Magnol – You can’t think about wine travel without including France. Bordeaux is home to Chateau Magnol, the flagship property of Barton & Guestier, the oldest wine house of Bordeaux with three centuries of winemaking experience. It offers intimate accommodations to small groups of travelers where the on-site staff sets up special meals with tastings from its private cellar. The grounds are impeccably kept and follow a variety of sustainability measures that are reflected in the way they make their wines and have earned them the ‘High Environmental Value’ designation.

South Africa

Graham Beck – An easy, scenic drive from Cape Town, Graham Beck is located in the Robertson region with a tasting room that is the highlight of any trip to South Africa wine country. It boasts panoramic views of the vineyard, an impressive art collection and, of course, an equally as impressive tasting experience of its Cap Classique (traditional method) sparkling wines. Graham Beck is lauded among the world’s best sparkling wine values, and their Brut has even been served at the inauguration and nomination celebrations of Nelson Mandela and Barack Obama. 

Steenberg Vineyards – Near Cape Town, South Africa, the Constantia region is home to some of the best Sauvignon Blanc vineyards in the world. Located there is Steenberg Vineyards, a 4-star resort set on a sprawling vineyard with a spa, multiple restaurants, and access to a championship golf course. It’s the oldest registered farm in South Africa, dating to 1682 and the first owner, Catharina Ras, was one of the most remarkable figures to ever settle in the Cape.