Thirty minutes down the road from Healdsburg is the charming town of Sebastopol, another perfect spot to be stationed if you want to explore the pinot noirs and chardonnays of the Russian River Valley. The Barlow district, right in the heart of town, is a few blocks filled with some of the region’s top wine tasting rooms, restaurants, and artisan galleries. If you need a break from wine, there are craft beer tasting rooms as well as the tasting room for Spirit Works Distillery, one of the few grain-to-glass craft Distilleries in the state as well as one of the few distilleries with an all-female distilling team.
A drive along the breathtaking Big Sur coastline on Highway One will lead you to Monterey, Pebble Beach, Big Sur, Carmel, and Carmel Valley. A cool-climate area, you will find grapes such as chardonnay, pinot noir, and syrah. If you want to save yourself a drive, home-base in Carmel-by-the-Sea and pick up a Carmel Wine Walk By-the-Sea Wine Tasting Passport: for $65 you get a passport for a self-guided wine tour within one square mile in town, with tastings at any nine of the fourteen participating tasting rooms. After tasting wine, take a bottle down to nearby pet-friendly Carmel Beach -- ‘cause alcohol is TOTALLY ALLOWED on the sand. If you do want to get out into the vineyards, you can take a drive down the River Road Wine Trail into the Salinas Valley to the tasting rooms at working wineries, which offer phenomenal views of the Santa Lucia Highlands, and if you like a little adventure you can zip through the vineyards on an ATV Tour at Hahn Family Wines where you can get up-close and personal with the vines.