This year's top wine bars, tasting rooms, and wine pros
Prettiest: Denner Vineyards
Built against a hill in a series of graceful arcs set off by modern metalwork, the complex is at once an efficient gravity-flow production space and a work of art. By appointment only; $10 tasting fee; dennervineyards.com.
Most entertaining: Francis Ford Coppola Winery
You gotta love sipping a mojito poolside—at a winery. From the movie museum (with props from films) to the hunks of meat coming off the Argentine grill at the winery restaurant, the father of The Godfather is a master of entertainment, even when it comes to his wine. Pool pass $15, no tasting fee; 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville, CA; franciscoppolawinery.com.
Best place to spend a day: Raymond Vineyards (shown here)
Forget sitting around when there's a blending lab (you blend), plus a pool table and karaoke if you reserve in advance. Tasting fee from $10; 849 Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena, CA; raymondvineyards.com.
Oregon Pinot 101 with winemaker Isabelle Meunier, of Evening Land Vineyards in Salem.
Terry Threlfall, who leads the wine program at hot Vancouver restaurant, Hawksworth, dishes about the B.C. wine scene and offers a few tips.
For the wine geek: Covell, Los Angeles
You don't order a wine from a list, instead, you think up an adjective, a place or even a mood, and the sommelier pours you a few tastes to nail your craving. Consider it a "choose your own wine adventure" among cozy-cool salvaged treasures. $; 4628 Hollywood Blvd.; 323/660-4400.
For the foodie: The Local Vine, Seattle
This new Capitol Hill spot attracts a crowd with the likes of white truffle popcorn that pairs oh so well with the Spindrift Pinot Gris on tap. Flights are described by character-"statuesque: traditional, bold, structured" (white) or "cheerful: unpretentious, easy to drink, aromatic" (red). $; 1410 12th Ave.; 206/257-5653.
For super-local wines: Urban Enoteca, Seattle
Arm yourself with a "library card" at the registration desk and head to the Fidélitas counter for a taste of their crispy and creamy "Optu" Sauvignon Blanc/Sémillon blend or to McCrea for their spicy, peachy Grenache Blanc. Charge a few bites to that card from the Library Lounge menu, and at checkout, everything magically appears on one bill. $$; 4130 First Ave. S.; 206/467-9463