California Wineries Welcome Spring

  • Picnic baskets herald the arrival of outdoor wine tasting.

    California pours sweet splash of spring in wine country

    Picnic baskets announce the arrival of spring in Napa and Sonoma valleys, famed Northern California wine country.  Packing the basket poses a challenge: Tuck in a buttery chardonnay or refreshing pinot grigio? Or perhaps pinot noir hinting at grapes soon plumping on the vines.

    Photo courtesy of Adrian Gregorutti/Ram's Gate

  • Chateau St. Jean beckons wine tasters to sip in the sunshine.

    Sippin' sunshine in California's Sonoma Valley

    It's only natural to soak up spring's rays while swirling a glass of liquid sunshine. Chateau St. Jean welcomes tasters to bask on the patio while a server pours. The wine's colorful notes heighten with sensory overlay of rolling green hills. Tours and tastings offered daily with advance reservations.

    Photo courtesy of Chateau St. Jean

  • Sweeping views of vineyards greet the patio crowd at Domaine Carneros.

    Clink glasses filled with bubbly to toast merry spring

    Vibrant spring air pairs well with lively sparkling wines. Domaine Carneros invites savoring spring and some of their wines on the patio of their grand chateau in Napa Valley.

    Photo courtesy of Domaine Carneros

  • Napa Valley's Ferrari-Carano Winery serves bountiful blossoms as well as wine.

    Blooming gardens inspire wandering, with wine

    Cherry trees with flouncy pink petals, tulips of red and yellow. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery celebrates a blossom bonanza on their five acres in Napa Valley.  Wander paths or taste at the winery's Villa Fiore wine shop.

    Photo courtesy of Ferrari-Carano

  • What could be more perfect than sipping wine with friends in spring sunshine?

    Friends sip with friends in salute to sunshine

    Gather friends, then sip and savor spring at Viader Winery in the hills above Napa Valley.  Viader's sweeping view of the valley is from Howell Mountain.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • V. Sattui doesn't require reservations for wine tasting.

    Picnic tables up, shrimp's on the barbie; must be spring

    It's a sign of spring when V. Satui Winery fires up the barbecue grills. It looks like a Tuscan villa, but with Southern barbecue hospitality in a Napa Valley setting.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • The balcony doors at Silverado Vineyards open to a magical view.

    Springtime in wine country makes everything bloom

    A glass of wine, a spectacular view--and thou? Rolling hills and vineyards set the mood at Silvarado Vineyards in Napa Valley.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • Wrath Wines' patio has a broad view of hills and a pond.


    Wrath Wines' patio looks out on a pond graced with lily pads. The Soledad winery is 132 miles south of San Francisco in Monterey County. Wrath's high quality wines justify a spring day road trip.

    Photo courtesy of Wrath Wines

  • Hall Wine's new outpost combines wine production, tasting and a sculpture garden.

    Newly opened Hall Wines fine architectural blend

    St. Helena is home to a new wine production facility. No, it's a visitor center and tasting room. Wait, it's a sculpture garden. Actually, it's Hall Wines' new combo facility.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • Rams' Gate blurs the lines between indoors and out, ideal for spring.

    Spring-watch at welcoming Ram's Gate

    This winery puts the "home" in Sonoma. Ram's Gate is an architectural welcome mat, more like your rich pal's home than a winery.

    Photo courtesy of Rocco Cesselin

  • Wine tasters are never far from either wine or sunshine at Ram's Gate Winery.

    Spring is here: open the wall and let it in!

    Go ahead, just walk through that wall to sip your pinot grigio in the spring sunshine. Then back inside for the next pour at Ram's Gate.

    Photo courtesy of Adrian Gregorutti

  • Rent a bike or bring your own for winery hopping.

    Two-wheeling in wine country: a spring thing

    Spring goes with bicycles like wine goes with cheese. Cycle to Napa and Sonoma valley wineries in spring, as Valley traffic gets heavy in summer.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • The spectacular view at CADE is little known.

    Sweeping view caps perfect spring day

    From the lookout atop Howell Mountain, each spring day brings a greener portrait. CADE Estate Mountain Winery is home to wines that win ratings to match the elevation. Gazing across Napa Valley from CADE, it feels like you hold keys to the kingdom.

    Photo courtesy of Anne Chalfant

  • A valley view surveys spring's progress from Paradise Ridge Winery.

    A valley so green

    A sweeping view of the Russian River Valley is the treat for spring picnickers at Paradise Ridge Winery. The Sonoma Valley winery invites you to bring your basket, taste their wines.

    Photo courtesy of Paradise Ridge

  • Infinity pool and million dollar view come with tasting privileges limited to CONSTANT's members.

    Plump grapes are full speed ahead

    Spring's subtleties move into summer's plump grapes. Wine tasting takes many forms in Napa Valley. A few wineries say, "Just stop in." Many require advance reservations. Some have members-only tastings, as at CONSTANT Diamond Mountain Winery, where the view over the infinity pool looks down into Napa Valley.

    Photo courtesy of CONSTANT Diamond Mountain Winery