18 best North Bay places for wine learning, tasting, dining, having a good time: USA Today

Eighteen North Bay vintners, hoteliers and event promoters won Readers' Choice Awards on USA Today's for best wine-related tours, restaurants, tasting rooms and festivals, and four local distillers are in the running for craft gin, whiskey and other spirits.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick 20 nominees in each category, and the readers voted for the top 10.


Wine Country dominated the Best Winery Tour category (full list and details):

No. 1: Emeritus Vineyards, Sebastopol

No. 3: Chappellet, St. Helena

No. 4: Schramsberg Vineyards, Calistoga

No. 8: Quintessa, St. Helena

No. 9: Hamel Family Wines, Sonoma

No. 10: Hendry Ranch Wines, Napa


Another category the North Coast won over was Best Tasting Room (full list), garnering half the winning spots:

No. 2: Arista Winery, Healdsburg

No. 3: Goldeneye Winery, Philo

No. 5: Pangloss Cellars, Sonoma

No. 8: Trefethen Family Vineyards, Napa

No. 9: St. Clair Brown Winery, Napa


North Bay hoteliers got four spots among the Best Wine Country Hotel winners (full list):

No. 4: Carneros Resort and Spa, Napa

No. 5: Meadowood Napa Valley, St. Helena

No. 9: Hotel Les Mars, Healdsburg

No. 10: North Block Hotel, Yountville


A Napa Valley locale was the only local among the Best Winery Restaurant winners (full list):

No. 10. Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena


Two large North Coast events won spots in the Best Wine Festival category (full list):

No. 7. BottleRock Napa Valley, Napa

No. 8. Taste of Sonoma, Sonoma

About BottleRock, the website staff wrote, 'Only in Napa does a music festival have a staff of sommeliers!'


The site is taking votes through early September on nominees in five craft spirits categories. North Coast distillers were nominated for three of them.

Nominated for Best Craft Specialty Spirits Distillery (full list) is Napa Valley Distillery in Napa. As of 5 p.m. Friday with 23 days to go, it wasn't making the winner's circle, ranking 19th.

Two locals are in the running for Best Craft Gin Distillery (full list): Sebastiani winemaking family spinoff 3 Badge Mixology of Sonoma and Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastopol's The Barlow industrial-retail complex. As of Friday afternoon, those locals also weren't making the top 10, with 3 Badge ranked 14th in voting and Spirit Works, 19th.

For the Best Craft Whiskey Distillery (full list), Spirit Works also was nominated, as was Sonoma County Distilling Co. of Rohnert Park. On Friday, votes for Sonoma County Distilling put it into the winners' list, at No. 9, but e-balloting for Spirit Works put it at No. 19.

No North Coast distillers were nominated for the craft rum and craft vodka categories.

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