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Thread: Wine Country

  1. #1

    Default Wine Country

    I am planning a little road trip for my mom's 50th birthday this comming April. (I know its a ways away, but I just want to toy with the idea so I know what I need to save for). I was thinking we will drive north from Orange County up PCH and spend 3 days, 4 at most overall. There will be 8 women, ranging in age from 25-55, as well as my 16 year old sister.

    My questions...

    Will the 16 year old be able to go on any of the tours, and just not drink?

    What are is the best that time of year?

    Hotel recomendations?

    Stops along the way?

    We want to do more then just drink wine. Take some beautiful drives along the coast, maybe hit some spas. Shopping of course. And great food.

    Any tips or web sites would be very helpful. No rush, as I have MONTHS to plan!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Great Idea

    Congratulations on setting this up for you Mom. I'm sure that she'll love it.

    I wouldn't think that the 16 year old will present any major problem, as far as taking the tour and not drinking. She will probably have to pay full price for any tour (even though she will not be sampling), but in a group this large such a surcharge becomes minimal and I'm sure you Mom would appreciate having her included.

    Since grape growing and wine making are year round activities - something is going on all the time - the best time to do this is whatever is the best time for you. I would think April would be a wonderful time to drive the PCH and visit Napa as far as weather goes. And since the summer vacation season will not have started yet, traffic should be better as well.

    Unfortunately, 8 is not the best number of people to be travelling with. That's too large a group to be accommodated at most B&Bs, but still too small to earn a group discount at most of the more upscale hotels - still I'd be sure to ask.

    Stops along the way have been heavily covered in previous posts, so be sure to use our Search function and look for 'Napa', 'wine country', 'coast highway' and the like and you'll find a ton of ideas. The one bad thing here is that if you really intend for this trip to be only 4 days from the time you leave home until you're all back in your own beds, you are going to be seriously pressed for time. A leisurely trip up the PCH, stopping along the way, is going to take two days minimum to reach Napa and that leaves practically no margin for quality time at spas, shopping or elegant dining. You'd then have one day to do a rushed tour of a few wineries before making the mad dash back down I-5 to the OC. One other thing you'll have to factor in is the extra time it will take with a group. Meals will take longer, people will be late returning to meeting points, etc. Remember that a convoy can move only as fast as its slowest ship.

    Best of luck planning and, again, congratulations. Your mother will love this!

    AZBuck

  3. #3

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AZBuck View Post
    Congratulations on setting this up for you Mom. I'm sure that she'll love it.

    The one bad thing here is that if you really intend for this trip to be only 4 days from the time you leave home until you're all back in your own beds, you are going to be seriously pressed for time.

    AZBuck
    humm... maybe we need to rethink this. Are there winery's farther south about 4 hours from OC? We are going on a 2 week college tour in June, for the 16 year old, in the New England, DC area. We cant use that much vacation time that close.

    I might cut the guest list down to 5 for this trip also. Good advise on that. Just make it a mother & daughters trip.

  4. Default Wineries south of the bay area..

    Quote Originally Posted by kcstockdale View Post
    humm... maybe we need to rethink this. Are there winery's farther south about 4 hours from OC? We are going on a 2 week college tour in June, for the 16 year old, in the New England, DC area. We cant use that much vacation time that close.

    I might cut the guest list down to 5 for this trip also. Good advise on that. Just make it a mother & daughters trip.
    Actually quite a few wineries, including some quite near OC.

    Probably the closest to OC are in Temecula area (off I-15, between Cororna and San Diego -- near the San Diego Wild Animal Park or Palomar Observatory). Some fairly good ones, and enough for a day's wine tasting and picnic.

    The next group of wineries of note are around Solvang area, about 30-40 minutes north of Santa Barbara. That's about 3 hours north of the OC. If you saw the movie "Sideways", where one of the characters spends a lot of time in wineries, that's set in Solvang area.

    About 1-2 hours north of that, there are quite a few wineries in the Paso Robles area. Last time I drove through there we literally passed dozens of them coming in on CA-46 from San Simeon area, and departing east through Paso Robles on CA-41. Most of these are smaller, family run wineries and not the large "corporate" wineries you find in Napa.

    Napa is a wonderful place to go wine tasting, and 4 days is doable to sample some of the wineries there -- but its a full day drive up, and a full day's drive back.

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