There is something for everyone in Exploring Wine Regions – California Central Coast: Discovering Great Wines, Phenomenal Foods and Amazing Tourism; it is practical, comprehensive, and thoroughly entertaining.
Written and photographed by Dr. Michael C. Higgins, this deep dive into California’s wine country marks the third book in his award winning “Exploring Wine Regions” series. Like its predecessors, this new edition is presented as a travel guide that goes the extra educational mile on all things wine and culture. Here, we explore some of the lesser known wine havens of California’s Central Coast, such as Santa Barbara County, San Luis Obispo County and Monterey County. Each of these areas is brought to life by the myriad of photographs that Higgins takes himself, some history of the winemaking culture of that respective area, the best hidden tourist attractions of the region, personal anecdotes from Higgins’s own travel adventures, interviews with a wide range of professionals, and much much more. The book is organized geographically, so that readers can navigate the book easily as they move through the region.

Exploring Wine Regions – California Central Coast is a fantastic example of what you get when passion project meets high-quality, dedicated professionalism. What makes this series so special, and particularly this iteration of it, is that it challenges itself with a much greater scope than other books in its genre and manages to excel in every aspect of what makes a good travel guide. The photography is stunning, the information is comprehensive and well-researched, and it is easy to read — all while striking an emotional chord with Higgins’s accounts of his personal experience. In some ways, identifying the most impressive feature of Exploring Wine Regions – California Central Coast almost seems like a futile gesture; but the quality of Higgins’s photography is nothing short of a marvel. Even if you have no intentions whatsoever of travelling through California’s Central Coast, so much time, effort, research, and masterful photography has been devoted to the educational and entertainment components of the book that it works just as well as some light reading or as a coffee table book to display at home.

Higgins’ love for travel and for wine are evident in every page of Exploring Wine Regions – California Central Coast, whether it’s in the hundreds of stunning pictures that he’s taken himself, the depth of his examinations of the unique terroir of each area, or the miniature love letters that he crafts to the local culture. Of all the technical skills brought to the book, none could imbue it with such character as the passion that flows so abundantly through the book. Despite this strong emotional presence, Higgins stays clear, concise, and practical, right down to the finer details. The tourism section of each chapter, for example, includes plenty of useful resources and information about the various restaurants and shops that it advertises.

Exploring Wine Regions – California Central Coast: Discovering Great Wines, Phenomenal Foods and Amazing Tourism is well on its way toward another award; Michael C. Higgins offers so much, and not a single individual element suffers for it.