With its Discover California Wines Road Trip series, the Wine Institute of California hopes to draw visitors’ attention to the virtues of the state’s lesser-known wine regions and provide unexpected tips about its most popular Northern California wine region.
Napa Valley and Sonoma County tend to steal the spotlight when it comes to fine wines and picturesque wine regions in America. In fact, visitors might not even know that, for instance, Southern California has a robust wine scene too, with 200-some wineries dotting the landscape from Malibu to the Mexican border.
With its Discover California Wines Road Trip series, the Wine Institute of California aims to put all of California’s wine regions on the map, Southern California included. But the group also wants to inform visitors that there’s more to know about the beloved Northern California region too. For instance, the town of Yountville “has more Michelin stars per capita than anywhere else in North America,” according to a press release. And Oakville Grocery, founded back in 1881, is California’s oldest continuously operated grocery store.
“It’s really about highlighting the appeal of California wine regions around the state,” said Nancy Light, VP of communications for the Wine Institute.
With the initiative, which will wrap up in June, the Wine Institute is not only drawing attention to the various wineries and vineyards around the state but also to places to eat, places to stay, and experiences to try.
“One thing we know is that wine travelers like to eat at good restaurants, stay at nice hotels, enjoy new experiences,” Light said.
To that end, the California wine group created an interactive map, filled with information on vineyards and wineries, as well as restaurants, concerts, gardens, and more. The map, which is broken down into six regions—Southern California, Central Coast, Sierra Foothills, North Coast, Inland Valleys, and Far North Carolina—also points to the diversity and breadth of California’s wine scene. While the entire country has 239 unique wine-growing areas, called American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), California has 138 of them (PDF).
To get the word out, the Wine Institute is counting on its regional partners, pitches to media outlets, and posts across social media channels, with the ultimate goal of keeping California wine tourism strong.
With the initiative, Light said, “We’re focused specifically on visitation to wineries because we know from research that people who visit wineries and have a good experience—and they generally do—they leave as ambassadors for that winery and for California overall, so that when they go back home—if they’re out of state—they’re more likely to buy that wine, to recommend that wine to friends, to buy it at restaurants.”