It’s no secret that in the California Wine Region, Napa Valley reigns supreme. This small plot of Earth receives over three million visitors a year, spending over 1.6 billion dollars a year! And who can blame them? The Napa Valley is ethereal and transporting, it can be easy to fall in love, completely neglecting surrounding regions. But before you tie the knot with Napa, maybe take a look at it’s younger sister, Sonoma.
Sonoma is home to over 60,000 acres of grapes, 66 different grape varietals, over 50 miles of coastline, is responsible for 6 percent of California wine production and was named the best US wine destination in 2012 by Trip Advisor. Certainly, it’s earned its place in the race. So now that you’d decided to visit Sonoma, where do you go? Here are four must see destinations.
LaSalette. This Portuguese inspired restaurant has a casual but sophisticated ambiance and a menu that will keep you going back. Try their Mantanca de Porco (Pork Ribs) and Roasted Lamb Chop are both worth an order and their wine list is extensive. Among other categories, it breaks down into Light to Powerful reds, and offers to “put yourself in capable hands” with their guided wine pairing.
Siduri Wines. “A Culmination of Fruit, Fermentation and Family” is their tagline, and it rings true. Their focus is solely on Pinot Noir but their real focus is on quality. Minimal intervention and specifically sourced fruit are all to that end. Their winery is by appointment only so book ahead, it’s worth your while.
Selby Winery. ‘My father taught me that wine is an incredible combination of art, science and nature. I learned after he died that wine holds a special place for celebration love and life.’ We’re crazy for the lovely father daughter story behind Selby Winery. And our time visiting the winery was just as lovely. If you’re looking for a hospitable experience, this is your place. Try their port, it was life changing.
Buena Vista Winery. Rustic and put simply, beautiful, Buena Vista Winery is a must see when visiting the Sonoma area. It’s heralded as the oldest known winery in California and the birthplace of the wine industry. You certainly feel like you’re stepping back in time when you see this winery’s stone walls and flowing fountain. Try their Cabernet, thank us later.
These places only scratch the surface of a much-overlooked region that is growing every day. There is much to see and even more great wines to try. Happy Sipping!
With hundreds of wineries in Sonoma Valley alone, you're going to have to cover a lot of ground if you want to see even a handful of them. Don't worry, because there are several ways that you can do Sonoma Valley wine tours, and just four of them are listed below.
This is obviously one of the ways that you can tour Sonoma Valley wineries whether you use your own car or you rent one. However, aimlessly driving around and hoping you come across a great wineryisn't usually the best option, especially if you're restricted on time. Instead, check out this super-handy Sonoma Valley Winery Map that also features the names, websites, and phone numbers of wineries to make it easy for you to find what you want.
Want to burn off those wine calories? Doing a bike tour can be a great option. There's group bike tours, private bike tours, and self-guided bike tours available that allow you to go through and around various Sonoma Valley wineries. You'll be able to learn all about the wine-making process, taste-test some fabulous wines, and be out in the sunshine. Rent a bike or bring your own.
Did you know that there's a Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley? It involves a six hour cable car wine tour in a replica of an 1890s San Francisco cable car. You'll be able to do a wine tasting at four Sonoma Valley wineries and enjoy beautiful scenic views. Beverages as well as a catered picnic lunch is included.
Want to get a little fancy? Rent a limo and do a Sonoma Valley wine tour in style. There are some companies that have limo wine tours already in place while for others you can rent a limo and make your own tour depending on where you want to go. This is an especially good option for those who are looking to celebrate a special occasion, such as a bachelorette party.
There's no shortage of ways to do a Sonoma Valley wine tour, which means that there's something for everyone. However you choose to do your tour, there's few things better than enjoying some fantastic wine and everything that Sonoma Valley has to offer.