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Central CA wineries -- recommendations please

Eric Eto | Apr 14, 200501:52 PM

I'm in the process of planning a wine-tasting trip from LA up to northern CA, and would like to get some specific recommendations from you informed hounds. First stop will be Santa Barbara/Santa Maria Valley. I've downloaded some info from the "Sideways" tour, but since we'll only have a day (maybe day and a half), I'd like to get some idea of what we shouldn't miss in the area.

Next stop is Paso Robles area. Same thing. A day or day and a half to check out this area.

From here, we'll take a leisurely drive up to Santa Cruz, where we'll be for a couple days. Which wineries should we visit in the Santa Cruz mountains? As a UCSC grad, I'm looking forward to hanging out in SC again.

I'm not much of a wine drinker, so I'm pretty much the designated driver on this trip. But one person in our group is studying to be a sommelier in Japan, so I'd like to give her a good idea of the best grape varieties in these regions, and the best examples of the respective wines. Thanks in advance for your help.

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