“It is well to remember that there are five reasons for drinking: the arrival of a friend; one’s present or future thirst; the excellence of the wine; or any other reason.”
– Latin Proverb
With its close proximity to San Francisco – just 45 minutes north of the Golden Gate Bridge – Sonoma Valley is a popular Northern California Wine Country Getaway, especially during Harvest Season. Though not quite as touristy as nearby Napa Valley, Sonoma’s 17 mile-long valley features lush countryside, award-winning wines, quaint country inns, historic buildings, and highly-acclaimed restaurants.
Fun Sonoma Attractions
Visit Sonoma’s central plaza, a National Historic Landmark. The charming town features historical buildings, including the Mission San Francisco Solano and the Sonoma Barracks, quaint restaurants, chic boutiques, jewelry stores, and fun specialty shops. Enjoy wine-tasting and winery tours. Scroll down for a list of our favorite Sonoma Valley wineries.
Other attractions include: Sonoma Raceway, Cornerstone Gardens & Marketplace, Sonoma Traintown Railroad, and the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art. If you have time, visit the Charles M. Schultz Museum in Santa Rosa to see artwork and memorabilia from the famous “Peanuts” cartoon. Visit Safari West, a stunning wildlife preserve nestled on 400 acres in the heart of Sonoma Wine Country. Treat yourself to an overnight stay in one of their luxurious Safari West tents and imagine that you’re on an African safari.
Must-See Sonoma Valley Wineries
Here are a few of our favorite Sonoma Valley Wineries:
- Cline Cellars
This picturesque 350-acre estate is located in Sonoma’s beautiful Carneros grape-growing region. It’s one of the first wineries on Hwy 121 at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley Wine Country.
- Gloria Ferrer Champagne Caves
Its beautiful Spanish architecture, magnificent grounds, stunning vineyard views, and some of the world’s most honored and acclaimed sparkling wines makes this one of the most popular attractions in Sonoma Valley.
- Francis Ford Coppola Winery
Enjoy wine-tastings and vineyard views from their scenic Vista Terrace. Enjoy Coppola’s impressive collection of movie memorabilia displayed throughout the winery, including several Academy Award Oscars, Don Corleone’s desk from “The Godfather” movie, and the original car from “Tucker: The Man and His Dream.” There’s also an Italian restaurant, two swimming pools, an international gift marketplace, four Bocce Courts, and a Performing Arts Pavilion featuring fun family events and live performances.
- Jacuzzi Family Vineyards
This beautiful rustic Italian stone winery offers wine and olive oil tastings. Sample exquisite California-grown Italian varietals. Jacuzzi Family Vineyards is one of the first wineries at the entrance to the Sonoma Valley, directly opposite Cline Cellars.
- Viansa Sonoma
Reminiscent of a Tuscany villa, Viansa winery sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, overlooking its 90-acre restored wetlands preserve. The grounds are truly magnificent. Shop at the Italian Marketplace for elegant gifts, gourmet food, and award-winning wines.
Other popular Sonoma Valley wineries include:
- Benziger Family Winery
- Chateau St. Jean
- Buena Vista Winery
- Domaine Carneros
- Gundlach Bundschu
- Kenwood Vineyards
- Ledson Winery & Vineyards
- Mill Creek Vineyards & Winery
- Quivira Vineyards
- Ram’s Gate Winery
- Raymond Burr Vineyards
- Roche Winery & Vineyard
- Schug Carneros Estate Winery
- Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
- Seghesio Family Vineyards
- Simi Winery
- St. Francis Winery & Vineyards
Book Sonoma Valley Sightseeing Tours, Day Trips and Fun Things To Do
Hop aboard the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley for a full-day Wine Country Tour from downtown Sonoma. This fun narrated tour takes you past historic landmarks and picturesque vineyards. Stop at four different wineries and sample regional varietals and enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch. Pick-up and drop-off from downtown Sonoma. Experience a Behind-the-Scenes Food and Wine e-Bike or Regular Bike Tour through Sonoma Wine Country. This small-group tour includes visiting local wineries, wine-tastings and a gourmet picnic lunch. If you’re a wine aficionado, book a Sonoma Valley Wine Adventure. This tour is perfect for serious wine-buyers and includes traveling with a wine guide who will help you choose your vintages. Visit four Sonoma wineries and enjoy a delicious catered artisanal lunch.
Book Your Sonoma Valley Business Trip or Vacation
The Best Time To Visit Sonoma Valley Wine Country
Harvest or “Crush” Season
Sonoma Valley Wine Country is beautiful year-round. However, the most interesting time to visit the area is during Harvest or “Crush” Season, when the grapes are picked. Harvest Season can vary, depending on the weather, from late Summer (August/mid-September) into Fall (mid-October). It’s also peak tourist season so expect crowds.