Northern California is filled with wine countries to choose from that make perfect weekend getaways and if you’re looking for a chance to head away from the crowds, enjoy prestigious wine and beautiful scenery the Anderson Valley Wine Country in Mendocino County is the perfect fit.
The Anderson Valley Wine Country is a two and a half hour drive up from San Francisco, making it a bit of an out of the way destination but at the same time giving it a laid-back feel away from the tourists that flock areas closer to the city. Often a stop on the way to or from the Mendocino Coast, Anderson Valley is a destination in itself where you’ll lose your cell phone service, check out, and take in everything the valley has to offer.
Note: Some tours and meals were provided at no cost to the author. As always, all opinions remain my own. You’ll find affiliate links in this post which allow me to continue to improve Traveling Nine to Fiver. I hope this article is useful for you.
First Things, First – Wine Tasting
It’s wine country, and while the region has much more to offer you should spend an afternoon or two trying some of the local wines. You’ll find wineries ranging from small family spots to major producers. The region is best known for it’s Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, Gewürztraminer and Riesling. The climate of foggy mornings and sunny days builds a unique characteristic in the grapes.
In Philo, stop by Lula Cellars, where you will find Pinot Noirs from throughout Mendocino County; giving you a chance to find the different characteristics around the region. Jeff Hansen, who brings 30 years of winemaking experience creates delicious reds and whites all on a beautiful property. Have a tasting and then relax by their pond on property.
If you’re looking for a spot to picnic while enjoying top-notch wines Navarro Vineyards is your spot. With a beautiful property and views across the valley, you can relax under their shaded trellis with some wine and cheese. At Navarro, you’ll find a wide variety of wines from sweet whites to dry ones and reds including the standards but also unique ones like Barbaras and Grenache. It’s a spot that can please anyone’s palette.
Just down the road, you’ll find Roederer Estate which offers the tradition of the 200 plus year old Champagne house that brings you Cristol. Roederer’s sparkling wines made with California grapes are some of the best you can find in the state. If you’re a fan of bubbly this is a can’t miss California wine destination.
For an elegant finish try Goldeneye Wines which is owned by Duckhorn and offers a beautiful seated tasting. Try a variety of Pinots from around Anderson Valley and nearby regions, Order their cheese plate as well and relax in their beautiful tasting room or out on the patio.
But Don’t Forget the Brews & Ciders
Best known for its wine, you can also find one of California’s most respected craft breweries in the Anderson Valley. Don’t miss this Northern California staple at Anderson Valley Brewery. Take a tour of the brewery and visit the tap room where you can explore the variety of beers they produce. Whether it’s their Boont Amber ale, their Summer Solstice or monthly releases it’s worth tasting through their beers to find out what you like.
Craft cider is also growing here in Northern California and in Boonville, you’ll find Bite Hard Cider who offers semi-dry and dry style ciders. While they don’t offer a tasting room at this point you can try them at a variety of locations around the Anderson Valley whether you pick them up at Single Ridge Vineyards tasting room at Madrones.
Enjoy the Local Eats
Take a chance to enjoy some food with your drinks around the valley. From local products to delicious meals, both casual and classy you’ll enjoy eating your way through the valley.
For a unique experience stop by Pennyroyal Farm, where you can tour this local farm and cheese producer. Learn more about the agricultural efforts of the area and wrap up with a delectable cheese tasting. Or swing by the Philo Apple Farm stand for fresh produce from the region.
Grab a picnic from the Boonville General Store where you can get sandwiches to go, side salads, tasty local cheese, wines and everything else you need. I’ve found some of the perfect wine country meals are often picked up from local delis and general stores.
For a meal that makes you feel like it’s been cooked in someone’s grandma’s kitchen stop by Lauren’s right in Boonville.
Mendocino County, the home of Anderson Valley Wine Country is just as well known for its outdoor adventures and scenery as it’s wine. While you can head over to the coast for beautiful views there are many things to do outside right in the Anderson Valley.
Head into the breathtaking redwood forests at Hendy Woods State Park. Here you can take a variety of hikes throughout the woods or even camp for you stay.
Where to Stay
There are unique places to stay right in Anderson Valley Wine Country or you can drive 20 minutes and stay on the coast, take a look at my favorite spot. If you’re looking to stick around wine country check out The Madrones, a four-star hotel right in the valley where you can enjoy a top-notch restaurant and wine tasting rooms on property.
Or stay at the Philo Apple Farm where you can enjoy their beautiful property and the boutique feel or even book one of their cook and stay adventures where you not only stay on property but also get to cook a fresh meal or two with their own produce.
While there are few hotels in the valley there are many Airbnb properties in the region. Whether you’re looking for a private room to rent or a whole house for a group of friends or family you can find a spot nearby. If you haven’t tried Airbnb yet you can grab $30 credit for your first trip here (FYI – I get a credit too).
Relax, Enjoy, Sip & Eat in Anderson Valley Wine Country
The Anderson Valley Wine County is a perfect place to take off for a weekend to check out and do as much or as little as you’d like. Spend your time sleeping in, enjoying good food and taking in the beautiful scenery or pack it in with places to visit and explore.
There is something about being in Mendocino County that it makes you relax and let go of the complications of your everyday life, it’s just enough out of the way to feel like a real escape even if you’re just visiting for a night. For more activities in Mendocino check out my best things to do list.
What do you look for on a weekend getaway? Have you visited Anderson Valley Wine Country? If so what did you enjoy most? Leave a comment below.