Skip to main content

Someone ranked the California wine counties — here are the top 10

It's not hard to find good wine on the California coast

California, among many things, is known for its incredible wine. Throughout most of the enormous state, vineyards and wineries can be found in abundance, offering not only impeccable wine, but gorgeous scenery, centuries of culture to absorb, and someone at every turn eagerly waiting to share their wine expertise. It’s like Disneyland for the wine aficionado.

It’s easy to become easily overwhelmed, though, with such a vast selection throughout the state. If you only have time for a weekend getaway, for example, where do you turn? Napa and the rest of the Bay Area’s bountiful harvest, or do you head south toward sunny San Diego and her many offerings? The truth is, no matter in which direction you turn up or down the coast, chances are you’re not far from a gem of a winery or two. But if you’re looking for the best of the best, we found a thoroughly researched and thoughtful list of California wine regions and their rankings.

Related Videos
Napa Valley Vineyard
Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap Vineyard

The list takes into account things like the highest total wine awards, the highest number of points for gold medals won in wine competitions, most wine producers and blenders, most wine tours, and the highest average consumer rating for wine tours. While these counties vary depending on their category, the research found that, overall, these are the top 10 wine counties in California:

  1. Napa
  2. Sonoma
  3. San Luis Obispo
  4. Santa Barbara
  5. San Diego
  6. Stanislaus
  7. Riverside
  8. Mendocino
  9. Los Angeles
  10. Monterey

Unsurprisingly, Napa and Sonoma counties clocked in at the number 1 and number 2 spots. This area is arguably the most famous area for fabulous wine worldwide, and tourists flock to the area hoping to sip what all the fuss is about. And unlike so many tourist traps that get too big for their britches, Napa and Sonoma do not disappoint. They are world-renowned for good reason.

The truth is, though, if it’s a quieter wine weekend you’re craving, even the “lower-ranked” areas like Monterey and Los Angeles have absolutely wonderful wineries to choose from, and your trip will not be lacking in flavor, culture, or entertainment.

It’s hard to go wrong when it comes to wine on the California coast.

Editors' Recommendations

A guide to Jamaican food beyond just jerk chicken
Jamaican food is way more than just jerk chicken. Here are some staple dishes from the Caribbean nation
Ackee and saltfish, the national dish of Jamaica.

Jamaican food is often unfairly labeled as being jerk chicken and not much else, but that's hyper-generalizing a rich culinary tradition born in the heart of the Caribbean. Like Cajun food, Jamaican cuisine is a mashup of numerous great cultures, traditions, and cooking styles.

There's a tremendous mix of influences on the Jamaican table, from African cuisine to the culinary ways of places like Portugal, India, Spain, and England. Over the generations, Jamaicans have taken on a lot of these influences and turned them into something entirely distinctive with local ingredients and cooking methods. Come with us on this journey through the colorful variety of Jamaican dishes.

Read more
California has canceled salmon season — here’s why that matters
After years of drought finally fade, Californians are hit with yet another devastating problem
california cancels salmon season 2783933571 0679bafc2c o

For most Californians currently getting pummeled by atmospheric rivers of rain, it's hard to believe there could possibly still be effects of a drought that, right about now, seems like a distant memory. USA Today reports that after all of the recent California storms, data reveals that parts of California are 200% over the historical average for rainfall year to date.

In fact, after decades of California's uncomfortable parch, only 36% of the state is still in drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. And while this is obviously welcome news after such a difficult period, there is, of course, a chain reaction after such drastic dryness. One of those reactions is that California has had to cancel its 2023 ocean salmon fishing season.

Read more
Your guide to reducing inflammation: 7 essential tips
Learn about the causes of, and solutions to, inflammation
man talking to doctor diagnosis

Chemical reactions constantly take place in the human body. This is referred to as the biochemical reaction process that is needed to sustain life. It's also known as metabolism, but this is more to do with chemical reactions in the cells that help convert food into energy that the body can utilize to carry out various bodily functions.

Inflammation is an essential biochemical process that has positive and negative effects on the human body. It can be part of the healing process following infection or injury, or it can cause conditions such as arthritis and other autoimmune conditions. But what is inflammation, what causes inflammation, and how can it be reduced in the body?  
What is inflammation?

Read more