Northern California’s Best Wine Destinations Revealed
PHOTO: CellarPass announces top tour and tasting destinations in Sonoma and Napa valleys. (Photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
CellarPass, a real-time winery, distillery and brewery tour and tasting reservation and ticketing service that offers consumers access to confirmed tickets and reservations, held its third annual Destination Awards for Best Tour & Tasting Experiences. The awards are given in six categories: Best Unique Tasting Experience; Most Friendly & Knowledgeable Staff; Best Food & Wine Pairing; Best Wine Education Experience; Best Hidden Gem; and Best Romantic Destination.
More than 150,000 travelers and industry professionals were invited to vote between Mar. 18 and June 1, 2016.
“Early on we learned that peer-to-peer reviews significantly influence which of our member destinations travelers book reservations with,” said CellarPass co-founder Sarah Elliman. “The annual CellarPass Destination Awards program takes those guest reviews a step further, allowing our guests to recognize our destinations that raise the bar when it comes to providing the best hospitality experience.”
Overall, women cast the majority of the votes with 62.1 percent. Men cast 37.9 percent of the vote and, as expected, a plurality of votes, representing nearly 41 percent of the total cast, were from the influential 35-54 age group. About 25 percent of all the votes were cast by 25- to 34-year-olds, while those older than 54 accounted for slightly more of the vote, making up nearly 30 percent of those voting.
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Robert Mondavi Winery: Best Unique Tasting Experience
The Robert Mondavi Winery offers myriad wine experiences from drop-in tastings and learning the basics to extensive food and wine pairing experiences.
Jessup Cellars: Most Friendly & Knowledgeable Staff
Jessup Cellars in Yountville, Calif., was recognized for its friendly and knowledgeable staff. It offers a variety of wines in its tasting gallery and also has a selection of artisanal cheeses that can be paired during a tasting.
Robert Mondavi Winery: Best Wine Education Experience
For the third year in a row, the Robert Mondavi Winery was honored for having the best wine education experience. The winery offers up the basics in a class that covers how to read wine labels, why swirling is important, and how to smell and taste a vintage — it even covers how to describe the wine you are sampling.
J Vineyards & Winery: Best Food & Wine Experience
J Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, Calif., was once again honored for having the best food and wine experience. The winery, which was also recognized by Sunset magazine as having the best tasting room, offers experiences such as the Legacy Tasting that includes pinot noir, chardonnay and sparkling wine. The experience can be paired with cheese and charcuterie plates.
Best Hidden Gem
For the second year, the Vezer Family Vineyard is recognized for being the best hidden gem. It is a small winery that produces stellar zinfandel, verdelho, petite sirah, cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay wines in Fairfield, Calif.
Handwritten Wines: Best Romantic Destination
Handwritten Wines returns visitors to a bygone era with tours at its private farmhouse, a 1909 Craftsmen home up the Silverado Trail in the hills above St. Helena. Visitors can also visit its pop-up tasting room at sister winery Jessup Vineyards.
More by Janeen Christoff
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