Gad About for Grapes and Golf: Our Western Half of 10 Stellar Places

In 2018, a USA TODAY readers' poll selected ten regions for great wine in the USA. Whether you enjoy a bit of the grape before or after a round of golf, the vin and the golf complement each other. We looked at the great ten spots for wine and recognized immediately their coalescence and collaboration with golf. Have a look at the west coast states, then gather your group and gad about with us, as we connect vineyards and fairways with great delight.

Lodi - California

  • Golf: Stockton is the place for golf near Lodi. No great architectural pedigree here, but plenty of good golf at Micke Grove, Elkhorn, and the Reserve at Spanos Park. 90 minutes east of the San Francisco Bay area, Lodi is a world unto itself.
  • Wine: Largest appellation? You bet! What's that? Size of fields in production. Over 110,000 acres in the Lodi region make it number one in California. Jeremy Wine Co., Harney Lane, and Michael-David are a mere three of the 85+ wineries that await your visit to Lodi.


Willamette Valley - Oregon

  • GolfBandon Dunes on the coast put Oregon on the golf map, but don't forget the Willamette Valley. Knock off both goals at once at The Reserve; it's a golf course and vineyard in one! Support the Oregon Golf Association, prescient in having its own course, at OGA. Get near the Willamette River at Charbonneau and your trek is complete.
  • Wine: Four words: We are Pinot Noir. Stop in at Finnigan Hill or Potcake Cellars for the full vineyard experience. Then, direct yourself to one or more of the we-can't-count-that-high wineries between the Cascade Mountains and the Coastal range. It ain't Portlandia; it's better!


Santa Barbara County - California

  • Golf: Plenty of private-club golf awaits, but you don't get better vistas than Sandpiper. Just be careful to say on the safe side of the cliffs! For spectacular valley golf, try Rancho San Marcos. For a blend of both, finish up at Glen Annie.
  • Wine: The Santa Ynez and Santa Maria valleys are the corridors for wine in Santa Barbara county. Most sit north-west of Santa Barbara proper, but the scenery is so beautiful, that a little drive is always welcomed. You'll find unique blends, like Albariño, Tocai Friulano, Mourvedre, and Grenache Blanc, along with traditional offerings of Chardonnay, Pinot, and Sauvignon.


Walla Walla Valley - Washington

  • Golf: The piece de resistance is Wine Valley, about 15 minutes outside of town. Another 15 minutes, to the south, across the Oregon border, is Milton-Freewater, a fun, shortish course with equally-inspiring views. In town, head to the Veterans Memorial muni. Three great courses, very little rubber to the road.
  • Wine: Who doesn't look forward to saying Walla Walla Wines to their friends, am I right? The WWWVA (Walla Walla Wine Valley Alliance) splits you off into 6 different sectors: Westside (11 wineries), Downtown (26 spots), Airport (13 vineyards), Eastside (8 grapegrounds), Southside (19 vintners), and Oregon (8 spaces). Indeed, that's 85 destinations, but you've got this!


El Dorado - California

  • Golf: East of Sacramento, the golf is grand, if spread out. You'll drive a bit to hit Whitney OaksMather, and Haggin Oaks, but the ride will reward you, as will the golf.
  • Wine:Over 40 wineries await in this upland section of northern California. Schedule your visit for the middle of April 2020, to experience a Passport. Otherwise, visit at the end of August for WINEderlust and groove to the beats, art, and vino!!



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Written by Ronald Montesano

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