Grape Expectations: Why You Should Visit Wine Country USA

If someone said to you the two words “wine country”, be honest: would you think they meant somewhere like France or Italy? Absolutely no-one would blame you if that were the case.

In reality, though, more and more those words are being used to describe a slice of the West Coast of America that forms part of the New World range of wine-making locations. As well as being home to some excellent vineyards, the New World is also full of attractions and locations for a holiday you’ll remember for years to come. You don’t need to be an oenophile to enjoy these vacation spots; though it definitely helps!


Paso Robles

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Paso Robles vines.

Paso Robles is a bustling Californian city, surrounded by a seemingly endless array of excellent vineyards. Indeed, it is where the Californian wine trail began in many ways, with settlers finding that the vines carried more fruit than they could reasonably eat. What do you do with too many grapes? Make wine, of course.

Today Paso Robles is famed for its excellent Zinfandel wines, which go particularly well with fish (good job you’re on the coast, then!), as well as the hot springs which will make your stay all the more relaxing.


San Francisco

In many people’s minds, San Francisco is the jewel in the crown of California, and it’s certainly the hub for any wine tour. The city itself is home to some of the most chic wine bars anywhere in the world, and there are several excellent wineries dotted around the outskirts of the city.

It’s also the perfect place to base yourself for the duration of your stay. A short trip from your base in the Comfort Inn & Suites at San Francisco Airport West, you’ve got an eternity’s worth of sightseeing to do. The Golden Gate Bridge, Lombard Street, Haight-Ashbury and, if you travel between September and January, the legendary San Francisco 49ers play in nearby Santa Clara.


Napa Valley

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Vineyards as far as the eye can see in Napa Valley.

Wine buffs will be used to seeing the words “Napa Valley” on the side of bottles. The valley — and its famous cool winds — provide the perfect environment for Cabernet grapes, which make some of the best red wines available today. The Old World of France or Italy can only dream of the grapes that the Napa Valley is able to provide– so this area is a must visit if you’re a fan of red wine.

Taking the wine train through the valley, you’ll delight at the stunning verdant scenery, rolling hills filled with vines, and the pools and lakes of the Bothe-Napa State Park. You’ll see more wineries than you could possibly stop at, including the famous Inglenook with its award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon. You’ll also get to see Old Faithful— the legendary geyser that erupts, as if programmed to do so, every hour or so.

Stunning locations and some of the best wine the New World has to offer– who could possibly resist?

The 5 Best Speakeasies in Chicago and How to Enter Them

We all love knowing that we’re visiting somewhere that not many people know about. You want to head off the beaten track, find a hidden gem, and go where the locals go. What’s better than doing this while also being immersed in some of America’s Prohibition-era history? Well, if you want to achieve this, then you need to head to one of a number of hidden speakeasy-inspired bars dotted around Chicago. Check out these five speakeasy bars in some of my favorite Chicago neighborhoods that offer that hidden gem feeling along with some of the best cocktails around.