The Niagara Peninsula is about a two-hour drive from Toronto. You can also book custom arrangements or join an existing one with Niagara Airbus. www.niagaraairbus.com.
Find out about the wineries we visited and more at www.vqaontario.ca/wineries/niagarapeninsula. For general tourism information, www.ontariotourism.com
Inn on the Twenty 3845 Main St., Jordan. Tel: 905562-5336 or 800-701-8074. (Doubles $155-$249), in the village of Jordan out on The Bench, offers deluxe rooms and suites in a sophisticated atmosphere away from the main tourist track. www.innonthetwenty.com
Shaw Club 85 Melville St., Niagara-on-the-Lake. Tel: 800-474-0632. (Doubles $155-$331.) is the undisputed luxury leader in Niagara-on-the-Lake, combining elegance, and friendliness. www.niagarasfinest.com/shaw
The Good Earth (4556 Lincoln Ave., Beamsville. Tel: 905-563-6333), in a tiny Escarpment town, offers great wines, wonderful food, and events from cooking classes to tapas tastings. www.goodearthfoodandwine.com
Ravine Vineyard (1366 York Rd., St. David’s. Tel: 905262-8463) matches its great wines with farm-fresh food in a rustic, laid-back atmosphere a short drive from Niagara-on-the-Lake. www.ravinevineyard.com
Two Sisters Vineyards (240 John St. E., Niagara-onthe-Lake. Tel: 905-468-0592), with its lavish setting and Italian-inspired food paired with wonderful wines, is a great choice in the Niagara-on-the-Lake area. www.twosistersvineyards.com
SANTA YNEZ VALLEY
It’s just over two hours’ drive from LAX, four-plus from SFO. From prime convenience, see about flying into Santa Barbara airport, a half-hour distance. For tours, contact Stagecoach Wine Tours (www.winetourssantaynez.com).
For information on wineries and the area, www.visitsyv.com is super-helpful.
Fess Parker Wine Country Inn (2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. Tel: 805-688-7788 or 800-446-2455. Doubles $325-$955) offers a real country inn atmosphere as per its name, right at the heart of Los Olivos. www.fessparkerinn.com
The Landsby Hotel (1576 Mission Dr., Solvang. Tel: 805-688-3121. Doubles $194-$334) is a bit of boutique chic among the touristy environs of Solvang. www.thelandsby.com
Santa Ynez Inn (3627 Sagunto St., Santa Ynez. Tel: 805-688-5588. doubles $249-$749), my favorite in the area, has it all: convenient location, gorgeous rooms, helpful, and friendly staff. www.santaynezinn.com
The Bear and Star (2860 Grand Ave., Los Olivos. Tel: 805-686-1359) offers farm-fresh ranch cuisine in their comfy dining room or patio. www.thebearandstar.com
Industrial Eats (181 Industrial Ave., Buellton. Tel: 805688-8807), in newly hip Buellton, offers great food from unique pizzas to salads and other creations. www.industrialeats.com
Root 246 (420 Alisal Rd., Solvang. Tel: 805-686-8681) is my restaurant of choice in the area for beautifully creative farm-to-table cookery. www.root-246.com
SY Kitchen (1110 Faraday St., Santa Ynez. Tel: 805691-9794) combines Italian flavors with farm freshness In a buzzy atmosphere. www.sykitchen.com
HERMANN WINE TRAIL
Hermann is slightly over an hour from St. Louis, but if you don’t want to drive, Amtrak (www.amtrak.com) has trains from both St. Louis and Kansas City. Once there, the Hermann Trolley (www.hermanntrolley.com) runs a service to most of the wineries.
For winery information, visit www.hermannwinetrail.com. For general information, www.visithermann.com
Hermann Hill Vineyard Inn (711 Wein St. Tel: 573486-1455. Doubles $225-$425), perched above town, offers great Hermann vistas and wellappointed suites named for grape varietals. www.hermannhill.com
The Inn at Hermannhoff (237 E. First St. Tel: 573486-5199. Doubles $149-$458), is the luxury leader at the heart of town. Choose the gracious rooms in the main inn or the cottages on a hill above town. www.innathermannhof.com
Fernweh (4 Schiller St. Tel: 573-486-2970), in a new distillery, provides creative cookery, friendly atmosphere, and, of course, killer drinks. www.fernwehdistilling.com
Harvest Table (122 E. 4th St. Tel: 573-486-3463) is a comfy spot for nice food and a small gift shop full of local products. www.harvesttablehermann.com
Hermann Wurst House (234 E. First St. Tel: 573486-2266) offers a variety of its eponymous housemade product and other sandwiches and salads. www.hermannwursthouse.com