Wine Lover's Guide to Monterey & Carmel

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With more than 150 vineyards to its name, Monterey County is one of California’s top wine-producing areas. It includes seven unique appellations that support 32 fine-wine varietals and a rare diversity of wines. Here’s what you need to know about visiting this California wine country.

Must-Try Varietals
Distinct microclimates throughout Monterey County yield a surprising diversity of wines. More than 70 percent of wines produced in the Carmel Valley are cabernet sauvignon and merlot varietals, while the Salinas Valley is best known for its chardonnay and pinot noir. The cool-climate Santa Lucia highlands are also known for these two grapes, along with syrah. The bowl-shaped San Antonio Valley features loam and clay soil perfect for growing full-bodied French varietals like petite syrah and marsanne.

Must-Do Experiences
  • Dive into the gourmet culture of Carmel on a food and wine walking tour.
  • Visit the numerous tasting rooms of Monterey and Carmel-by-the-Sea.
  • Snag a Monterey tasting pass for discounts on wine tasting at more than 200 California wineries.
  • Explore the collection of 90 local wines at the Cannery Row tasting room A Taste of Monterey.
  • Enjoy a picnic amid the vineyards.
  • Tour an area winery to sample wine right from the source.
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