Why go in summer: To kick it vine-side, and poolside, in low-key Alexander Valley.
Main drag: Geyserville Avenue is 2 blocks of Wild West-looking brick storefronts housing galleries, tasting rooms, and one especially tasty pizza parlor.
Looking for an actual geyser? Head about 25 miles southeast to Calistoga.
Dress code: Country casual. Leave the blazer and black dress at home.
What it has: Cows, character, and world-class Cabernet.
What it lacks: Luxe hotels. You'll find those, plus Michelin-star restaurants, about 8 miles south in Healdsburg.
Advice from local artists: Don't forget to look up around 7 p.m., when the hills glow, gorgeous and golden in the dusky sky.
Overheard in town: "Geyserville is meeelllloow. And that's the beauty of it."
The obvious exception: Francis Ford Coppola's flashy new winery/pool/playground.
A pie worth a try: The brick-housed pizzeria and salumeria Diavola rivals any in the big city. The pies are thin and blistered; try the Salsiccia made with house-cured meat. $$; 21021 Geyserville Ave.; 707/814-0111.
Now this is a tasting room: In between Healdsburg and Geyserville, Medlock Ames is a winery where you want to hang out all day. Inside, it's eco-mod, with walls of reclaimed Doug fir and windows that open to the patio. Picnic and sip rosé at the communal table, while general manager Kenny Rochford fires up the outdoor pizza oven. $10 tasting; 3487 Alexander Valley Rd., Healdsburg; medlockames.com