With the advent of the Monterey Wine Country app for smartphones, it’s easier than ever to experience authentic wine country, get close to the producers and indulge in some of the finest wines made in the world. The Monterey mobile app acts as a private tour guide, with tasting room profiles and maps, wines, tours, and amenities. The perfect long weekend in scenic Monterey County could include three of the app’s most comprehensive itineraries: The River Road Wine Trail, Carmel Valley Wine Trail, and Monterey/Carmel-By-The-Sea Wine Trail.
Day 1: River Road Wine Trail
At the mid-point of Monterey Wine Country’s 90-mile valley, this wine trail follows a parallel path to Highway 101 at the foot of the gorgeous Santa Lucia Mountains. Morning fog and comfortable daytime temperatures are the setting for friendly, easygoing tasting rooms that welcome guests. With the first tasting room less than an hour from Silicon Valley, guests can pack a picnic and camera as they make memories of a journey through relaxed, hassle-free wine country with stops at Talbott Vineyards, Pessagno Winery, Manzoni Estate Vineyard, Ray Franscioni Wines, Boekenoogen Vineyards & Winery, Hahn Winery, Wrath Wines, Paraiso Vineyards, Ventana Vineyards, Sycamore Cellars, Scheid Vineyards, and Marin’s Vineyard. Wine trail signs easily guide visitors along the way through this picturesque trail.
Don’t miss the River Road’s Valentine’s Day Passport on Saturday, February 11th, where visitors traveling to River Road will receive a souvenir glass for tasting at each of the wineries, entry into a grand drawing, special discounts, fun, food, and a celebration of all things amour. Each winery will be hosting their own wine and food pairing, specifically to suit the love surrounding Valentine’s Day. Tickets are $20 before February 1st and $30 thereafter. (firstname.lastname@example.org / www.riverroadwinetrail.com)
For luxurious and out-of-the-ordinary overnight accommodations, the nearby Vision Quest Ranch (http://www.VisionQuestRanch.com) is a B&B situated on an exotic animal sanctuary that offers safari tent-style bungalows – chic canvas-walled hotel suites complete with bathroom facilities – as well as morning breakfast delivered to the veranda by an African elephant.
Day 2: Carmel Valley Wine Trail
“Country elegance” defines this well-marked wine trail, which runs east-to-west along the famously charming Carmel Valley Road. Wineries to visit include Chateau Julien Wine Estate, Boekenoogen, Chateau Sinnet, Heller Estate Organic Vineyards, Talbott Vineyards, Joyce Vineyards, Carmel Hills Winery, Holman Ranch, and Bernardus Winery. Nearby, it’s easy to find bistros serving sumptuous fare, art galleries, one-of-a-kind boutiques, hiking trails, equestrian trails and world-class golf to round out the perfect Carmel Valley experience.
After a full day of indulgence, the accommodations at Carmel Valley’s Bernardus Lodge (http://www.bernardus.com) are sure to rejuvenate and relax. Nestled among the oaks and vineyards of scenic Carmel Valley, savor the gracious intimacy of a resort with epicurean flair, feather beds, cozy fireplaces and oversized bathtubs for two. The spa’s meditation garden, warming room and soaking pool along with dining at Marinus restaurant welcome you.
Day 3: Monterey and Carmel-By-The-Sea
For the last delicious day, re-energize in the buzz of Wine Country’s downtown tasting rooms in Carmel-by-the-Sea, Monterey, and on historic Cannery Row. Conveniently located amid art galleries, fine dining, shopping, pristine beaches and tourist attractions like the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium, tasting opportunities in this area include Morgan Winery, Caraccioli Cellars, Figge Cellars, Scheid Vineyards Tasting Room, Galante Vineyards, Cima Collina, Coastview Vineyards, Wrath, Otter Cove Wines, Bountiful Basket, Pepe’s Vino Napoli Wine Bar, Tudor, McIntyre Tasting Studio, Bargetto Winery, Pierce Ranch Vineyards and Ventana Vineyards.
For a true “Monterey” experience, indulge in a night’s stay at the Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa (http://www.MontereyPlazaHotel.com) located on Cannery Row. Dramatically perched over
the Monterey Bay, the Plaza is a Forbes four-star-rated hotel in the heart of the city that begs guests to enjoy the sounds of the surf, the fresh scent of sea air, and all the activities that the Monterey Peninsula has to offer. The Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa was recently awarded the Trip Advisor Reader’s Choice Award, highlighted as one of the top 25 hotels in the United States.