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BEST WINERY TOUR: Emeritus Vineyards, Sebastopol: With a newly renovated tasting room and a "dirt to glass" experience, pinot noir producer Emeritus Vineyards was voted #1 winery tour in the country by readers. During the 90 minute tour ($30), guests visit the vineyard with staff, seeing winegrowing techniques and growth processes up-close. Next, they visit the working winery and barrel cellar, followed by a tasting of estate grown pinot noir overlooking the vineyards.
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BEST WINERY TOUR - Chappellet, Saint Helena: Voted #3 best wine tour in the country, family-owned Chappellet crafts cabernet sauvignon from their Pritchard Hill property. They curate winery tours ($40-$95) for each visitor, creating an intimate experience based on each guest's interests. Tours may include a walk through their vineyards, which include views of Lake Hennessey, and a tour through their iconic pyramid-shaped winery. Tours conclude with a wine tasting in the barrel room. Appointment only.
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BEST WINERY TOUR - Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga: The historic sparkling wine house, Schramsberg Vineyards, was named #4 best winery tour in the country. Tours ($70) educate guests on not only the history of the property, which has been producing sparkling wine since the 19th-century, but also on the sparkling winemaking processes. Tours include a visit to the caves followed by a tasting of sparkling, with still wine and food pairing options. Appointment only.
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BEST WINERY TOUR - Quintessa, Saint Helena: Taking the #8 spot for best winery tour is Quintessa, the ultra-luxury Bordeaux wine producer. All of their tastings ($75) are private and intimate, starting with a walk to a scenic overlook on their Rutherford AVA property, followed by a visit to the working winery and caves. The tour wraps up with a tasting of their current and library wines, including an estate blend of cabernet sauvignon, merlot, cabernet franc, petit verdot, and carmenere. Appointment only.
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BEST WINERY TOUR - Hamel Family Wines, Sonoma: One of two Sonoma County wineries representing the best winery tour category, Hamel Family Wines earned the #9 place. Estate Experiences ($60) feature a private tour of the property, including the working winery and caves. After the tour, guests can enjoy a tasting of four estate wines in the contemporary tasting room, paired with a snack created by their estate chef. Additional tours include barrel tastings and multi-course food and wine pairings. Appointment only.
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BEST TASTING ROOM - Arista Winery, Healdsburg: Recognized for their small lot chardonnay and pinot noir, Arista Winery won #2 best tasting room in the country. Voters liked the wide variety of tasting experiences offered by the tasting room, all of which are seated tastings, often taking place on their patio when weather permits. Food and wine pairings are available and Arista also participates in the East Meets West tasting experience, which starts at the nearby Copain winery, followed by a visit to Gary Farrell, and a final tasting at Arista. Tastings start at $35. Appointment only.
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BEST TASTING ROOM - Goldeneye Winery, Philo: The only representative in all of the Wine Country 10best lists from Mendocino is Goldeneye Winery. Their highly collectable Anderson Valley pinot noirs are just one of the reasons why they were named #3 best tasting room in the US. Voters enjoyed not only the wine, but the private tastings on the outdoor patio offering "top-notch views of the estate and surrounding redwoods." Tastings include barrel tasting and picnic options. Tastings start at $15.
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BEST TASTING ROOM - Pangloss Cellars, Sonoma: Located in the heart of historic downtown Sonoma, Pangloss Cellars took the #5 spot on the list of best tasting rooms. The rustic chic tasting room, housed in a 115-year-old historic building, and attention to detail is a favorite among voters. Guests can enjoy tastes at the bar or in the lounge, where small bites created by their in-house chef, using local ingredients, are served. Tastings start at $25.
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BEST TASTING ROOM - Trefethen Family Vineyards, Napa: After undergoing an extensive post-earthquake renovation, Trefethen Family Vineyards has re-opened and earned themselves a #8 placement on the best tasting rooms in the US list. The winery, constructed in 1886, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Tastings take place at the historic building and winery tours are available, which includes educational components and a vineyard walk. Tastings start at $25.
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BEST TASTING ROOM - St. Clair Brown, Napa: Nestled in a greenhouse in downtown Napa, St. Clair Brown took the #9 place on the best tasting room list. They make only 200 cases of wine, varying from cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, syrah and muscat. Intimate tastings are offered, which includes a tour of the facility and a chance to wander the surrounding culinary gardens, glass in hand. Not a wine fan? They're building a microbrewery onsite. Tastings start at $35.
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BEST WINERY RESTAURANT - Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, Saint Helena: Only one Northern California restaurant made the Best Winery Restaurant list: Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, which landed at #10. Voters like the emphasis on organic and sustainable produce and agriculture, paired with farm-to-table comfort food including heritage pork chops, brick-cooked chicken, and grass fed steak tartare. Belly up to the bar to sip on their estate wine or craft cocktails.
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BEST WINE FESTIVAL - Bottlerock, Napa: A raucous combination of live music and great wine helped Bottlerock win #7 best wine festival in the country. USA TODAY experts praised the diversity of the music, which has included the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stevie Wonder, and Florence & the Machine in the past, the world-class chefs serving up farm-to-table cuisine, and that "only in Napa does a music festival have a staff of sommeliers!"
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BEST WINE FESTIVAL - Taste of Sonoma, Santa Rosa: One of the biggest wine festivals in the country, Taste of Sonoma, was voted #8 best wine festival in the US. The Labor Day weekend festival features hundreds of wineries from throughout Sonoma County, small bites prepared by award-winning chefs, cooking demos, wine tasting experiences, tours, talks, and more. Added bonus: proceeds from the event benefit local charities.
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BEST WINE COUNTRY HOTEL - Carneros Resort & Spa, Napa: The newly renovated Carneros Resort & Spa was named #4 best Wine Country hotel nationwide. Nestled on the border of Sonoma and Napa Counties, its location makes it a perfect base for exploring both wine regions. The 100-room property, all cottages and suites, sits on 28 acres surrounded by orchards and vineyards. Two pools, including an adult option, the award-winning FARM restaurant, and bocce ball courts made it a winner amongst voters.
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BEST WINE COUNTRY HOTEL - Meadowood Napa Valley, Saint Helena: With a three Michelin-starred restaurant on-site and an attention to detail, voters declared Meadowood Napa Valley the #5 best Wine Country hotel. Voters praised the views from the "beautifully appointed" rooms of forests or the rolling vineyards of Napa Valley. The property also offers golf and a world-class spa, a little something for everyone, if you will.
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BEST WINE COUNTRY HOTEL - Hotel Les Mars, Healdsburg: The only Sonoma County winner to make the best Wine Country hotel list, the luxurious Hotel Les Mars takes #9. The property is tucked two blocks away from downtown Healdsburg and has a mere 16 rooms, all decorated in a French chateau style. The hotel has its own restaurant, Chalkboard, and plenty of other award-winning dining and wine tasting options just steps from the lobby door.
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BEST WINE COUNTRY HOTEL - North Block Hotel, Yountville: Contemporary design and art dot the modern landscape of the boutique North Block Hotel in downtown Yountville, which earned #10 place in the list. The hotel has 20 rooms, all with soaking tubs, rain showers, and double sinks. The property also offers a spa, a pool, and a communal courtyard with a fireplace. It's located next door to Redd Wood, a stylish Napa pizzeria.
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