California Wines and Wineries—South to North, East to West

Joyce Shumate and Bruce Hartsell

Ever since the 1976 Judgment of Paris wine competition put Napa wines on the map, California has experienced dramatic growth in its wine industry, not only for wine production, but also as a destination for tasting wines. Travelers have many choices—from 500 tasting rooms in Napa or 250 in Paso Robles to hundreds more in over a dozen other smaller and less well-known areas.

Bruce and Jan Hartsell, Quail Creek residents and former California residents who have visited more than 200 California tasting rooms, will share ideas about traveling to 12 of the wine-tasting areas of California at the Let’s Travel Club meeting on Friday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. in the Ocotillo and Mesquite Rooms. They will talk about areas from Temecula in the South to Sonoma in the North, and from the Lompoc Wine Ghetto in the West to the Sierra Foothills in the East.

Rather than focusing on the production of wine in the American viticultural areas or on wine varietals, Bruce and Jan will focus on helping travelers find a wine-tasting experience that fits their preferences, recognizing that wineries can get their grapes from anywhere in the state—or in the world. They will offer a brief introduction to wines and wine tasting and will also talk about how to make choices about which tasting rooms to visit, tasting-room protocols, and where to stay.

Bruce and Jan are not affiliated with any commercial enterprises and will not recommend any specific products or services. Alas, neither will they offer free samples. But they will be happy to share ideas with others who are interested in wines.

The Let’s Travel Club meetings are open to all Quail Creek residents. Hope to see you at our next meeting on Friday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m. in the Kino Center.