Central Valley

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Central Valley: Travel

Backcountry & Bottles

Beyond the vineyards, look to the east and you’ll spy one of the Central Valley’s stunning backdrops. The Sierra Nevada home to Yosemite and Lake Tahoe.

At Tahoe, resorts cater to visitors—whether in snow season or the glorious summers and falls—who enjoy a fine meal and a fine wine. Start at The Village at Northstar, which hosts an annual Autumn Food and Wine Festival in September. 

PlumpJack Squaw Valley Inn boasts great wines on the list, and the PlumpJack Café also organizes spectacular seasonal wine-tasting dinners. 

Claiming to be the state’s highest and coldest vineyard site, the Truckee River Winery grows vines along the Truckee River. It produces wines from grapes grown both nearby and as far away as the Santa Lucia Highlands. In summer it features bocce lessons and a Full-Moon Glow Ball (the bocce balls light up) plus other events throughout the year. 

At Yosemite, the views won’t be the sole source of your swooning.

Wine tasting near Yosemite centers on the Madera Wine Trail, a collection of wineries around the town of Madera. Both Quady and Ficklin are on the trail as is Westbrook Wine Farm. Also, be sure and trek the Yosemite Sierra Wine Road which focuses on Fäsi Estate Winery in the town of O’Neals and Idle Hour winery in Oakhurst. Specializing in Rhône varieties from six acres along the Fresno River, Idle Hour also has an eight-room inn and wine bar.Virginie Boone

Drink Local: The Castaway

Recipe courtesy Ella, Sacramento, CA

Bartender Chris Dooley enjoys being in what he terms “the farm-to-fork capital of the country.” When mixing up his quintessential Sacramento cocktail, he uses local lemon and mint, plus strawberries grown in Ella’s backyard.

In a shaker, combine 1½ ounces Mount Gay Aged Rum, 1 ounce strawberry purée, ½ ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice and 3 dashes of vanilla Angostura bitters. Add ice, shake and double strain into a large old fashioned glass. Top with sparkling wine (preferably Domaine Chandon Brut). Garnish with fresh mint and serve. —Brandon Hernandez

And Don't Miss...

The Vintners’ Holidays series at Yosemite is a must for wine lovers. Held at the luxurious Ahwahnee Hotel every November into December, events showcase winemakers and chefs from around the world. Seminars and wine tastings sell out quickly, so
book ahead.

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