SOURCE: Visit California

September 04, 2013 19:16 ET

Great Ways to Experience Wine Country During California Wine Month

Make the Most of Your Trip With These Last-Minute Wine-Centric Hotel Packages and Tours

SACRAMENTO, CA--(Marketwired - September 04, 2013) - It's California Wine Month, which for wine lovers is much like the Super Bowl -- the time when the state's wine regions bring their top game, showcasing why the Golden State is the place to experience wine this fall.

Driving with the top down through California's wine regions -- from the North Coast and High Sierra down to San Diego -- is particularly exciting during this special month, when vineyards and wineries are buzzing with harvest, creating their next great vintage and celebrating with dozens of special California Wine Month events and activities.

To raise the stakes for wine lovers, California's travel industry is offering many wine-centric hotel and tour packages, making September the best time to experience all-things wine.

"For culinary travelers, California is the leading wine and food destination in the U.S., producing 90 percent of the wine and boasting nine of the top ten producing agricultural counties -- giving foodies the truly locavore experiences they crave," said Caroline Beteta, president and CEO of Visit California. "For wine lovers, there's no better place for going beyond tasting and experiencing the places their favorite wines are produced -- from vineyard to glass!"

Here are some highlights of offerings around the state*. Click here for the full list of submitted packages.

North Coast

Baechtel Creek inn, Mendocino County: Inspired by California Wine Month, the "Mendocino Crush Spa Package" includes two nights' accommodations plus choice of Grapeful Facial, a Crushed Cabernet Scrub or a Wine Country Massage, plus a complimentary bottle of local wine. Packages start at $378.

Parducci Wine Cellars, Mendocino County: For eco-focused wine lovers, Parducci Wine Cellars -- which has received two Governor's Awards for Sustainability, and is the nation's first Carbon Neutral Winery -- is offering a must-do tour of its Wetlands Water Reclamation System, coupled with a complimentary tasting of its award-winning True Grit Reserve Wines.

San Francisco Bay Area

California Wines Road Trip Event, San Francisco: No time to visit the wine trails? Take a California Wines Road Trip in one stop on Sept. 21 at Wine Institute's official California Wine Month celebration at San Francisco's Ferry Building. Guests can taste more than 100 California wines from 12 regions with artisanal cheeses and salumi. Attendees can also enter to win one of several trips for two to California wine country.

Extranomical Tours, Napa Valley and Sonoma County: The "Wine Lover's" tour gives guests a semi-customizable tour of four to six wineries in a 13-passenger luxury van, learning about California and wine history, as well as the science and art of winemaking. Book a tour in September and receive a 25 percent discount using the code "CaliforniaWineMonth."

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, Sonoma County: Starting at $779 a night, the "Sommelier Apprentice Package" offers two night's accommodation for two in a luxurious suite with one signature wine and cheese amenity, a behind-the-scenes VIP tour to Benziger Family Winery, Chef's Selection Four-Course Tasting Menu dinner and wine pairings at their Michelin-rated Santé, a four-hour sommelier-led tour to two local Sonoma wineries, breakfast for two and more.

Hotel Valencia Santana Row, San Jose: Looking for an over-the-top wine experience? For $15,000 a group of six can get the "Sea to Sky package" which includes a wine and cheese presentation featuring local products served in the Presidential Suite, a personalized six-course dinner created by Chef Robert Sapirman with an accompanying custom wine flight, and a helicopter ride and winery tour of the stunning Santa Cruz mountains and wineries.

Hurley's Restaurant/One Acre Winery, Napa Valley: The "Vine Wine Dine" experience ($138) gives wine lovers the chance to work in the vineyard and learn what happens to the grapes before and after picking. Then head over to Hurley's Restaurant in Yountville for a talk and pairing experience with Chef Bob Hurley, followed by a One-Acre wines paired lunch.

Incredible Adventures Tours, Napa Valley and Sonoma County: Save 10 percent during California Wine Month on various tours including: Muir Woods/Wine Combo, where guests can see the giant redwoods and taste at 3-4 Sonoma wineries (regular price $99); Wine Education Tour, where guests can visit four to six wineries including a tram tour and wine caves (Regular price $109) and Woods/Wine Overnight where guests can sample the best of both tours and stay overnight in wine country (Regular price $290. Use booking code "CAWINE" (enter during checkout).

Kenwood Inn and Spa, Sonoma County: The "Celebrate California Wine Month Kenwood Style" package starts at $899 and includes a two-night stay, seasonal, three-course tasting dinner for two at The Restaurant at Kenwood Inn, picnic lunch for two from Chef Steven Snook, and a half-day exclusive food and wine excursion for two.

Safari West, Sonoma County: Celebrate California Wine Month with the "Wild Nights in Wine Country" accommodations and tour package, starting at $458 per person (20 percent off regular price). This unique glamping experience includes one night in a safari luxury tent and a Winos and Rhinos tour for two of this renowned African-style wildlife preserve. The tour includes a beautiful hilltop tasting of Sonoma and Napa county wines. The tour is also offered privately for groups of up to ten people ($750). 

Toll House, Los Gatos: The "Sips & Saddles" package starts at $415 per night and includes one night's accommodation, a five-flight wine tasting and a scenic 90-minute horseback ride at Cooper-Garrod Estate Vineyards and the Fremont Older Mid-Peninsula Open Space Preserve on the eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains facing San Jose.

Wydown Hotel, St. Helena: The "Soaring Over California Package" starts at $424 per person (double occupancy) and includes a one night stay, sunrise hot air balloon flight over Napa Valley including transportation, pre-flight coffee and pastries at Calistoga Depot and champagne breakfast at Michelin-starred Solbar at Solage Calistoga. "The Royal Treatment" optional upgrade for $26 (per person) includes a tour and tasting at Castello di Amorosa, while the "Vineyards by Horseback" optional upgrade for $120 (per person) includes a guided 90-minute horseback ride and tasting at Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards.

High Sierra

Northstar California Resort, Truckee: The resort -- home to the 28th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival (Sept. 6-8) -- is offering the "Summer Escape Package" starting at $135 per person per night through most of September (20 percent off a two night stay and up to 35 percent off of a four night stay).

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe: The hotel will host various wine immersion experiences during the 28th Annual Lake Tahoe Autumn Food and Wine Festival (Sept. 6-8), such as the Winemaker for a Day seminar on Sept. 7 ($120 per person), where guests can learn how to blend their own bottle of wine to take home. That day the hotel will also host a Tahoe Long Table Harvest Dinner ($125 per person) featuring a family-style, sustainable harvest with wine pairings.

Gold Country

Casa Bella Verde, El Dorado Hills: Throughout September enjoy a luxury wine country package at this beautiful 1,500 square-foot home with 180-degree mountain and lake views. Starting at $970, the package includes a two-, three- or four-night stay, a relaxing couple's massage followed by a chardonnay grape sorbet, complementary wine, cheese, fruit and chocolate gift basket, free passes to many local wineries and more.

"Sip and Stay" Weekends, Folsom/Sierra Foothills: During September stay at a participating hotel offering the "Sip and Stay" weekend package, starting at $99, and get bottle of local wine and VIP treatment while visiting with winemakers at Sierra Foothill wineries. Blend outstanding wine with a four-course chef-prepared lunch on an outside vineyard terrace.

Central Coast

Adelaide Inn, Paso Robles: The "Wine Tour and Tasting Package" starts at $319 per couple and includes one night in an executive king guestroom, a four-hour Wine Wrangler Adventure Wine Tour, a deli-style picnic lunch, a Paso Robles wine map and discounts on wine purchases and merchandise.

Breakaway Tours, Pismo Beach: Embark on a five- to seven-hour educational tour of four different wineries, including a winery picnic lunch. Save $30 on a private charter by calling 800.799.7657 and asking for CAWINEMO discount. www.breakaway-tours.com

Deetours of Santa Barbara, Inc., Santa Barbara: Starting at $135, the six-hour "Wine Country Adventure" lets wine lovers tour wine country by a red Jeep Limo or red Jeep. Tour begins with a city tour of downtown Santa Barbara and heads the scenic route to Santa Ynez Valley, where guests can taste at several wineries, enjoy an organic picnic lunch, olive oil/vinegar tasting and a stop in the Danish community of Solvang.

Fess Parker Wine Country Inn & Spa, Los Olivos: The "California Wine Month Package" starts at $395 a night and includes luxury accommodations for two featuring a gas fireplace, a full breakfast people each morning, complimentary wine tasting at the Parker tasting rooms and a bottle of Fess Parker wine. Use reference CALIFWINE when booking.

First Crush Wine Experience Hotel Packages, Paso Robles: Sip, blend and stay in Paso Robles wine country with First Crush Wine Experience's Harvest Tour de Vin Sept. 22-24. Get a VIP education while meeting growers and winemakers at wineries like Tablas Creek, Robert Hall, Roxo Port Cellars and more. Enjoy a cooking demonstration at Cass Winery, picnic lunch at Halter Ranch, winemaker dinner at Pomar Junction, cheese pairings and more. Get up to 50 percent off a two-night stay with participating hotels, such as Paso Robles La Quinta Inn ($456.50 per person -- offer expires Sept. 9), Black Oak Best Western ($444.50 per person -- offer expires Sept. 13) and Atascadero Holiday Inn Express ($445.50 per person -- offer expires Sept. 11).

Four Seasons Resort The Biltmore Santa Barbara: The "Private Reserve Tour" starts with an educational walk through Sunstone Winery's organic vineyards and winery with acclaimed winemaker Nick de Luca, followed by a five-course, farm-to-table style gourmet lunch with wine pairing in their unique barrel-aging cave. Guests also blend their own bottle of wine to take home. The overnight package starts $890 for two people, including roundtrip transportation from the resort.

Flying Flags RV Resort, Santa Barbara: Sip and stay in Santa Barbara wine country this September with the "Vintage Wines & Trailers" package, starting at $499 for two, featuring two nights in a fully furnished Airstream trailer and a half-day wine tasting adventure tour. Also get souvenir T-Shirts, free coffee and fresh Solvang Danish and a S 'mores campfire kit. 

Holiday Inn Express and Grapeline Wine Tours, Paso Robles: The hotel's "Paso Robles Wine Tour Package," starting at $324, includes an overnight stay in a deluxe room for two, hot breakfast each morning, and Grapeline Wine Tours' Vineyard Picnic Tour, featuring wine tasting flights at four Paso Robles wineries, gourmet picnic lunch provided by Odyssey World Cafe, and a behind-the-scenes vintner's tour.

La Bellasera Hotel & Suites, Paso Robles: The "Luxury Wine Tour Package" starts at $459 and includes a full-day VIP tasting tour with a picnic lunch, followed by overnight accommodations in a deluxe king whirlpool room and complimentary breakfast at Enoteca Restaurant & Bar. The "Bike Tour and Wine Tasting Package" starts at $487 and includes a full day biking tour to various wineries, winery picnic lunch, dinner at Enoteca ($50 certificate) and one night in an executive king room.

Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo: The "Sip & Zip Package" includes overnight stay at one of the hotel's famous themed rooms, along with a ziplining adventure tour for two with Margarita Adventures and wine tasting at Ancient Peaks Winery. The package starts at $366.68 and includes two picnic lunches from the Madonna Inn Gourmet and Wine Shop.

Paso Robles Inn, Paso Robles: The "Paso Robles Wine Country Hot Air Balloon and Wine Tour Package" gives wine lovers the chance to explore wine country two ways -- with a serene balloon ride over rolling vineyard-filled hills and a Hummer wine tasting tour at several wineries. Starting at $1648, the package includes two nights two in a deluxe spa room with a private mineral springs hot tub, a $75 credit towards dinner at the Inn's Steakhouse restaurant, a hot air balloon ride, tastings, tour transportation and breakfast at a local Paso Robles café.

Radisson Hotel, Santa Maria Valley: The "Radisson Wine Tour Package" starts at $349 and includes a one night stay for two, plus a guided wine country tour to several wineries, vineyard picnic lunch and more.

Santa Barbara Adventure Company, Santa Barbara: The "Cupcake & Wine Tour" features a delicious sampling of wine-infused cupcakes from Santa Ynez's Enjoy Cupcakes. This month get a discounted rate of $119 per person for groups of six or more booking together. Fees include round trip transportation to Santa Ynez, tastings at three leading wineries, cupcakes, deli lunch, and in-depth discussion on winemaking. The "Wine Country by Bike Tour" give guests the chance to cycle 10-12 miles of scenic vineyards and ranchlands, plus tastings at three local wineries, deli lunch and more. This tour is available at the discounted rate of $149 per person for groups of four or more booking together.

SeaCrest OceanFront Hotel, Pismo Beach: The "Edna Valley Wine Tour" package starts at $441 and includes one night in an ocean view king or coastal view two-queen guestroom, wine tasting at several wineries with Breakaway Tours, gourmet lunch and more.

Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast Getaways, San Luis Obispo County: Take advantage of exclusive lodging and ticket packages with Sunset SAVOR the Central Coast, the premier food and wine event on the West Coast (Sept. 26-29), featuring farm-to-table chef demonstrations from over 30 chefs and award-winning wines from over 80 local vineyards.

Wine Valley Inn & Cottages and Grapeline Wine Tours, Santa Barbara: The "Grapeline Vineyard Picnic Tour Package" starts at $309 and includes a Grapeline Vineyard Picnic Tour for two, a chateau standard room, and a bottle of wine from Briddlewood.

Los Angeles County

Shore Hotel, Santa Monica: The "Girlfriends Getaway package" starts at $799 and includes overnight accommodations at this oceanfront property, two glasses of champagne upon arrival, Malibu Discover Tour's wine tour for two including lunch and two mini-facials at holistic Tikkun Spa.

Inland Empire

California Wine Month Hotel Packages, Temecula: Several Temecula Valley wine country hotels are offering unique Sip + Stay Packages, Sip, Stay & Ride Packages and CRUSH Event Tickets + Stay Packages to help celebrate California Wine Month in style, with prices ranging from $179-$499. Packages include a September Sip Passport, which includes a full tasting flight at any four participating wineries (tickets cost $35, valued at $60-80). Some packages include tickets to the 4th Annual CRUSH Gala on Sept. 14 at Callaway Winery, featuring 35 Temecula Valley wineries, fine cuisine from 18 local chefs, farms and restaurants and live entertainment ($75). Wine lovers can include in their package a Grapeline Wine Tour SIP & Ride Experience, starting at $89 and including wine tasting flights at four Temecula wineries.

South Coast Winery Resort & Spa, Temecula: California's State Winery of the Year is celebrating California Wine Month with a special "ALL VIN-clusive" Southern California Wine Country Getaway package. Starting at $299, the package includes luxury overnight accommodations in a private tower suite set amongst the vineyards, bottle of wine, intimate couples' massage at GrapeSeed Spa, Mimosa breakfast, wine tasting privileges, $50 resort credit and more. Mention Code VINCLU when booking.

Orange County

Island Hotel, Newport Beach: The "Sip & Stay" package starts at $295 a night and celebrates California wines this month with a California Coastal inspired dinner for two at Palm Terrace Restaurant paired with two California wine tasting flights.

La Casa del Camino, Laguna Beach: Stay in a uniquely designed surf suite or a deluxe Spanish-style guestroom and enjoy a four-course California wine dinner for two at K'ya Bistro Bar, complimentary full American breakfast and complimentary beach service. The "California Wine Package" starts at $370 per night when you use booking code: California Wine and includes complimentary valet parking.

San Diego County

Estancia La Jolla Hotel & Spa, San Diego: The "Napa Meets La Jolla Package" starts at $234 a night and includes a complimentary room upgrade (based upon availability) and flight of four wines for up to two guests at our new Trinitas Cellars Wine Bar.

LeeLin Llama Treks, San Diego County: The unique "Menghini Winery Trek Tour" costs $95 and includes a four-mile trek through wine country with llamas carrying supplies and equipment. Tour includes wine tasting and picnicking with a bottle of wine in the shade of the winery's apple trees.

W San Diego, San Diego: The "California Wine Tour Package" starts at $229 a night for two and includes a virtual California wines trip through California, featuring five tastings from diverse regions , plus a comp bottle to take back to their room, with no corkage fee. Each week in September, the hotel will feature California wine specials by the glass and by the bottle.

*Note: Visit California has made every effort to ensure the accuracy of these packages. Before booking, please check with the hotel or tour company to re-confirm details.

About Visit California

Visit California (formerly known as the California Travel & Tourism Commission) is a non-profit organization with a mission to develop and maintain marketing programs -- in partnership with the state's travel industry -- that keep California top-of-mind as a premier travel destination. According to Visit California, travel and tourism expenditures total $106.4 billion annually in California, support jobs for 917,000 Californians and generate $6.6 billion in state and local tax revenues. For more information about Visit California and for a free California Official State Visitor's Guide, go to www.visitcalifornia.com. For story ideas, media information, downloadable images and more, go to media.visitcalifornia.com

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