For me, Yolo County is synonymous with UC Davis, my alma mater. However, much to my surprise, there is much more to Yolo than expected. Just over the mountain range from Napa Valley, it is an up and coming wine region; you can find a fine bottle of wine for very reasonable prices. Yolo also has strong roots in agriculture, which explains why farm-to-table food is becoming more and more prevalent here.
Though they are small, both downtown Winters and Woodland are worth exploring. Davis is the more lively, bustling college town with some beautiful spots to visit as well. One of my favorite places to spend some time is the UC Davis Arboretum. Yolo county has a vast variety of things to offer and it makes for a wonderful and easy going weekend or day trip from the Bay Area. Below are a few highlights from our two day stay in the area.
Matchbook Wines boasts a relaxing patio and vast vineyard views. This is the place to visit if you have a couple of hours to spare and just soak it all in. The winery is family owned and all of the grapes used are estate grown. Our favorite wine here was The Arsonist red blend. Make sure to have a taste when you visit! Check their website for some fun summer events too.
The Turkovich Family Wines tasting room is located in quaint downtown Winters. It shares a building with The Winters Cheese Company, owned by the brother of the owner of Turkovich Wines. They have kept these businesses all in the family and their passion for food and wine shows! We loved The Boss red blend wine. It’s rich and tasted like a glass of dessert. All tastings here are free, so why not stop by for a glass or two?
For a great steak dinner, visit Morgan’s on Main in downtown Woodland. It has a great ambiance and they make a delicious prime rib. We also loved their pull apart bread and other starters that are great for sharing with friends. Make a reservation here next time you want to sit down for a nice meal with friends or family.
If you are passing through Esparto, make a pit stop at Mana’s Ranch. They grow apricots, cherries, and five varieties of peaches that they use to create some of the best jams we have tasted. In addition to selling fruit, Manas is also a old-style custom meat market. Their meat is USDA inspected, state inspected, and is very affordable for such top notch quality. Don’t forget to try their house made sausages!
Seka Hills is located right down the street from Cache Creek Casino. This olive mill and winery is also run by the Yocha Dehe Wintun Nation and was named ‘Seka’ after the blue hills that overlook the Capay Valley. The tribe farms over 14,000 acres and are one of the few tribes that are expanding to agriculture in California. Stop by for a free olive oil tasting and learn all about the different varieties. They have a gorgeous tasting room and patio with a great view of their olive trees.
While in Winters, take a walk across Putah Creek Bridge. They recently opened a new bridge to replace the original that was built in 1907 and was the longest bridge of it’s kind west of the Mississippi river. The creek below is a great place to picnic or enjoy some cool water in the summer heat.
For those looking for some adventure and fun in the sun, visit Velocity Island Park. Learn to wakeboard on a cable system that is pulled within their lake–we’ve never seen anything like it! The cable course has many obstacles for advanced riders, but is fun for all levels. In addition to their cable park, they also offer paddle boarding, volleyball, a beach oasis, tropical cabanas, and a restaurant bar to keep you occupied all day long.