Discovering wineries while traveling

Have you ever been on vacation and discovered a winery or less known wine growing region that pleasantly surprises your palate? One example for me that comes to mind is Temecula Valley in Southern California. We were staying in Palm Springs and after visiting Joshua Tree National monument made our way across the mountains to Temecula. There we were very impressed with Doffo Wines, the brainchild of Marcelo Doffo, who grew up in Argentina and has Italian roots. They excel with Malbec and one of the flagship reds “Mistura”, a field blend. We enjoyed the wine well enough to join their club. Anybody else discovered a winery that turned your head while traveling?

A lot of the vacation travel I like doing is to wine regions, so there’s always a big focus on learning more about the regions and producers.

One of my favourite things to do whenever I visit a wine region is to ask local producers, sommeliers, waiters, and industry people about the producers they like. I usually leave a day or two free during these travels for spontaneous visits from these types of recommendations. Always a fun rabbit hole to go down. Highly recommend doing so if you’re not already.

Dozens. It’s a wonderful part of wine travel. So much to learn by venturing off the beaten path. Awesome way to connect to the wines, people, regions and cultures.


My wife and I did a late winter getaway to Santa Barbara about 12 years ago. We decided to check out a few local wineries, but didn’t want to drive out to Los Olivos so we somewhat randomly picked a winery in town that specialized in Rhône style wines, which we knew we liked.

The tasting was presented on a fold up card table in the middle of the winery. The owner/winemaker himself presented the wines and provided a fascinating afternoon of tasting, learning and socializing.

The winery? Jaffurs. The pourer? Craig Jaffurs.

I am now over 5 figures worth of purchases from the winery and look forward to future releases. To this day, still my favorite wines.

THIS. For the last 6 (?) summers my wife and I made an annual trip to Oregon while our girls were at camp. (Except 2020). Learned my lesson early to leave a day free to ask local folks what they liked. Not just wine folks, but our favorite bartenders, cooks, and randos we were sitting at the bar with. And occasionally the randos on this site. champagne.gif