California Wine Country


When you move abroad, preferences that were once trivial or unimportant become sentimental cravings. One of the biggest adjustments I have faced has been the longing for certain things in Sydney – diving into the ocean at the drop of a hat, the endless vegemite sightings or a big backyard with a swimming pool. An added thirst has been for open space, which is why for me California’s Wine Country was a godsend.

I’m no wine aficionado, but this world-class wine region has hosted countless weekends or day-trips away to bask in the open-space and fresh air. The most alluring time to visit is without a doubt in summer, when the vines are ripe with effervescent jade leaves and green or red grapes. In stark contrast, the sky is a chaste blue and the sun’s rays beam down with casual sovereignty.

With over 400 wineries in this area north of San Francisco, viticulture and wine-making have been synonymous with this province since the mid-19th century. I was once told that the practice of wine tasting should be likened to a complete attack of the senses; from watching as the pourer cascades wine into your goblet, to holding the stem of the glass in your hand as you raise it, smelling the grapes as you swirl it, before tasting the wine as you swallow and finally listening to your neighbors as you critique it.




Historically family owned and run, the original cellar dates back to 1878, and today it is the third oldest continually operating winery in California. Whether you’ll enjoy Regusci or not probably comes down to your sense of humor. Yes, the wine is superior, and yes, the grounds are superb, but what truly sets this place apart is the band who will be serving you on the other side of the bar. Make sure you have a drink with Neil, the pom who is wickedly entertaining and hilariously inappropriate; he’ll serve you up a small variety of wines focused on Estate reds that are intense, complex yet supple. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot are their staples, along with their only white, Chardonnay. And, if you’re lucky (like I was), you may find yourself on a special tasting out the back of their cellar, sampling their very limited amount of Estate Zinfandel. Through an aged mirror I caught a glimpse of myself, sitting there in a velvet chair, swirling a glass of limited heritage selection wine amid hundreds of wine barrels; I wondered who this palpable wine-connoisseur fraud was.

/ Where

5584 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558

/ Phone

+1 (707) 254-0403

/ Online



If you hold a penchant for sparkling wine, make sure you visit Gloria Ferrer. Boasting perhaps one of the most charming views in the region, the winery sits on the top of a hill looking out over a valley of vines – it’s truly beautiful.

Started in the early 80’s by the Ferrer Family, today the vineyards at Gloria Ferrer produce Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that rival some of the world’s finest. Many of the same people that planted the first vineyards at Gloria Ferrer are still intricately involved in the process of vineyard management, care and harvesting.

More often than not, you will wait for a seat outside – but it’s worth it. Once seated, sit back and enjoy the ambience while they offer a selection of wines, my personal favorites were the Brut Rosé & the Royal Cuvee paired with charcuterie and cheese. You can also opt for a private tour, where a guide will take you through the winery and talk you through their wine-making process.

/ Where

23555 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476

/ Phone

+1 (707) 996-7256O

/ Online

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