10-day Food & Wine Tour of Northern California North Coast & Shasta Cascade Regions A wild coastline, the tallest trees on the planet, volcanic lakes, waterfalls, mountains, pioneer history, steam trains, and frontier towns all provide the perfect backdrop to enjoy the delicious wines, gourmet restaurants and abundant natural bounty of Northern California. There are few destinations where you can find this all together in one region, but Northern California is one of them. Experience the epicurean side of Northern California with a 10-day tour that encompasses five areas: DAYS 1 & 2: SONOMA COUNTY Your introduction to the gastronomic delights of Northern California begins in Sonoma County, just north of San Francisco. Take US 101 north across the iconic Golden Gate Bridge, up into Sonoma County (which consequently covers 1,575 square miles, an area about the size of Rhode Island). Known as the birthplace of California wine, Sonoma County has more than 260 wineries open to visitors, and is considered one of the world’s premier winegrowing regions, producing an unparalleled range of varietals and wine styles. Wine is meant to be enjoyed, especially with food, so it should come as no surprise that there is a wealth of fantastic restaurants in Sonoma County. Home to an array of international cuisines, from French to Italian to the ever evolving style known as California Cuisine. Food preparation is an art form with the incredible variety of fresh local products providing inspiration for the many talented world-class chefs of our valley. Your two day tour will feature stops at several legendary wineries that put California on the map, along with visits to established as well as up-and-coming, cutting edge restaurants. DAYS 3 & 4: MENDOCINO COUNTY From Sonoma County, we’ll continue north on US 101 towards Mendocino County. Just past Cloverdale we’ll jump on Hwy 128, a picturesque route that wends and winds its way through vineyards, sheep ranches and apple and peach orchards before plunging through the Redwood forest to emerge at the Mendocino coastline. Mendocino County is America’s Greenest Wine Region—famous for its earth-friendly farming and ranching and for the wines produced in its diverse soils and microclimates. Boasting over 80 wineries and home to the oldest organic vineyards and winery in United States, Mendocino County is one of those rare places where the winemaker himself will most likely lead your tasting, and most tastings are still free! Mendocino County can also claim the nation's first certified organic brew pub as well as the first brew pub to be established in California after prohibition. Natural bounty, including local vegetables (mushrooms), fruits (ollieberries), sea vegetables (sea palm & nori) and seafood (salmon, Dungeness crab) can be found in abundance in Mendocino County, and the local restaurants showcase these delicacies (and more) with aplomb. They chefs here are big on the whole ―from ground to table‖ concept, so chances are, that beet and arugula salad you’re noshing on came right from the restaurants own organic gardens.
Most Mendocino wineries are smaller, family-owned businesses, so expect to meet the owner or winemaker himself at one of the many wineries we’ll visit, and be prepared to sample a host of items that have been locally grown, locally raised, locally made, or locally harvested, at one of Mendocino County’s many fine restaurants. DAYS 5 & 6: HUMBOLDT COUNTY Further north we go, up to Humboldt County, and yes – we’re getting there via US 101. Home to the ―Lost Coast‖, which is comprised of miles and miles of undisturbed, pristine beaches, as well as miles and miles of redwood forests. Humboldt County strikes a fine balance between the wonder of nature and the quaint charm of pioneer and rural towns, where history blends perfectly with the present. In recent years, Humboldt County been recognized as a burgeoning wine region with unique terroir. Located just north of the more famous wine valleys in Mendocino and Sonoma Counties, Humboldt has finally begun to stake its own claim in the California wine market. In addition, it is also host to a number of world-famous microbreweries. Humboldt County also produces an amazing amount of quality food, such as chocolates, cheeses, apples, and pumpkins, and the locally harvested oysters are world-renowned. With such great local produce and other goods grown and produced right in the backyard, the options for food and dining are fabulous. You’ll sample all of the above delicacies during your tour of Humboldt County, washed down with an icy cold microbrew or a refreshing glass of local wine. DAYS 7 & 8: SHASTA CASCADE REGION Begin your day by driving east on Hwy 299 from Eureka to Redding. Explore Redding’s Sacramento River by stopping by Turtle Bay Exploration Park for a peek at local wildlife as well as local Native American History. Don’t miss the opportunity to try out their Segway tours as an environmentally friendly way to see the area as you ride around in style. While you are there, marvel at the beauty of Redding’s Sundial Bridge, the largest Sundial in the world, and take a relaxing stroll down the famous Sacramento River National Recreation Trail. From there, make your way over to That Kitchen Place to peruse some of the state of the art kitchen appliances they offer and even try your luck at one of their cooking classes! Stop at the new Rivers Restaurant for a delicious lunch. After lunch, take Hwy 44 toward Shingletown to spend a few hours at Anselmo Vineyards at 7 Hills Land & Cattle Co. This 2,200 acre ranch is full of things to see and do from horseback riding across the land with stunning views of Lassen Peak looming in the distance, to wine tasting and even dining in their cozy wine tasting room where you can enjoy their locally raised beef, lamb, honey and other produce. Overnight in Redding. Wake up early and take and head south on I-5 to Red Bluff. Enjoy the historic down town district of Red Bluff at California Kitchen & Co. while you partake in one of their cooking classes. California Kitchen & Co. also has a large selection of top of the line cooking utensils and kitchen accessories for you to add to your own collection. Then continue south to what was once considered the Olive Capital of the US: Corning, and stop in at the famous Olive Pit for olive tasting or a classic Burger and Frostie as you peruse the vast selection of locally grown olives, nuts, berries, oils and more at this local landmark. From here, head east into Vina to experience the unique and peaceful beauty of the Abbey of New Clairveaux Winery where you can tour the quiet Monastery grounds where they make wine in a winery that has been standing since 1881. Be sure to stop by the gift shop to see and perhaps purchase the unique and beautiful had-crafted vases of the New Clairveaux monks.
From Vina, take Hwy 99 South to the beautiful college town of Chico, known for its magnificent art and fields of orchards. Stop for dinner at the Sierra Nevada brewery and pair some of their famous organic brews with a hot meal made with locally produced vegetables and choice aged beef from their own locally raised herd. Be sure to take the tour while you are there. This area yields a range of interesting produce and food products, from strawberries, honey, wild rice, and lavender to farmhouse cheeses, olive oil, and horseradish (this area grows one third of the world’s horseradish!). Overnight in Chico. DAYS 9 & 10: LAKE COUNTY The last stop on our food and wine tour is Lake County, south of Shasta County and accessible via I-5. Lake County enjoys 265 days a year of sunshine, and also boasts the cleanest air in California. It’s also home to Clear Lake, the largest natural lake in California (and possibly the oldest lake in North America). Dotted with vineyards and wineries, orchards and farm stands, tasting rooms and charming small towns, the word that best describes Lake County is friendly! The area’s wine industry is booming with new, innovative wineries focused on sustainability and biodynamic principles, and has recently put out a number of award-winning wines. Anything grown in Lake County just tastes better (perhaps it’s the clean air and abundant sunshine), or maybe it’s the attention to detail. Either way, you’ll savor the flavors of the area’s premium pears, crunchy walnuts, and award-winning wines. This itinerary will help develop an interest in the undiscovered reaches of Northern California. For more information about planning fly/drive packages, the following organizations are available to provide assistance in the development of itineraries, booking hotels or other travel planning services.
Karen Whitaker Shasta Cascade Wonderland Association 1699 Hwy. 273 Anderson, CA 96007 530-365-7504 / fax 530-365-1258 www.shastacascade.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Schneider North Coast Tourism Council 120 S. Franklin Street Fort Bragg, CA 95437 707-964-9010 / 866-836-7557 www.northcoastca.com Email: info@ northcoastca.com
Published on Apr 4, 2011
A wild coastline, the tallest trees on the planet, volcanic lakes, waterfalls, mountains, pioneer history, steam trains, and frontier towns...