In California's Anderson Valley, the best tasting rooms are at Navarro Vineyards and Handley Cellars. Roederer Estate and Goldeneye Estate Winery are also nice but charge a nominal fee for tasting. The Husch Vineyard tasting room is a nostalgic throwback to old California wine country — basically a shed where they pour some astonishing wines.
Ukiah area, downtown Hopland (about 10 minutes south of Ukiah) seems to be converting to one big tasting room. Stop at Graziano Family of Wines and then meander through town.
For maps, directions and information, visit the excellent websites by the Mendocino Winegrowers Alliance (www.mendowine.com) and the Mendocino County Alliance (www.gomendo.com).
Places to stay
Because the two main growing areas are so distant — it takes 45 minutes of winding mountain roads to get from one to the other — you're better off staying locally.
In the Anderson Valley, the Boonville Hotel (14040 Highway 128, Boonville,  895-2210; www.boonvillehotel.com) is run by the Bates-Schmitt family, which owns the Apple Farm in Philo. This is a historic hotel that has been cleaned up and modernized. But there are no phones in the rooms and neither are there air conditioners — something to ponder seriously when the weather is warm. The restaurant, which is open Thursday though Monday, is very good. Rooms are $125 to $225. The Anderson Creek Inn (12050 Anderson Valley Way, Boonville,  895-3091; www.andersoncreekinn.com) is not as polished but is a good alternative, with rooms from $130 to $190.
In the Ukiah area, Vichy Springs (2605 Vichy Springs Road, Ukiah,  462-9515; www.vichysprings.com), a 150-year-old hot springs resort, is the nicest place to stay, with rooms from $120 to $245. There is also a Hampton Inn (1160 Airport Park Blvd., Ukiah,  462-6555) and a Fairfield Inn (1140 Airport Park Blvd., Ukiah,  463-3600).
Places to eat
In the Anderson Valley, Boonville Hotel chef Johnny Schmitt — whose mom and dad founded the French Laundry — can really cook. Prices are moderate; the Thursday night three-course prix-fixe menu is $28. There is also a good selection of local wines. Lauren's Café (14211 Highway 128, Boonville,  895-3869) is more relaxed and eclectic.
In Ukiah, Patrona (130 W. Standley, Ukiah,  462-9181), a bistro and wine bar, is the restaurant of the moment. Entree dishes such as pan-roasted halibut with cherry tomato gratin run $15 to $20. There is a good local wine list. The city has surprisingly good Asian food as well. Try Oco Time (111 W. Church St., Ukiah,  462-2422), a Japanese restaurant specializing in okonomiyaki (noodle pancakes) or Ruen Tong Thai Cuisine (801 N. State St., Ukiah,  462-0238).
-- Russ Parsons
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