If you like wine-tasting in one of the world’s most naturally beautiful settings and you’re looking for a more laid-back and less touristy version of Napa Valley, consider a weekend getaway to Sonoma Valley Wine Country.
Save yourself time and hassle when planning your trip. The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau is a great resource for finding out everything you need to know about where to stay, where to eat, where to go wine-tasting… and more! Get maps and guides on events, activities and special deals that are going on throughout the year.
Girlfriends Getaway – March & April
For example, did you know that March and April are “Girlfriends Getaway” months in Sonoma Valley? The popular two-month celebration brings together females from all walks of life to reconnect, chill out and enjoy all that Sonoma has to offer. What better excuse to get together with your girlfriends (and moms, daughters, aunts, nieces, BFFs) and pamper yourselves with relaxing spa treatments, yoga classes, nature walks, shopping, fine dining and wine-tasting.
Take advantage of some great spring deals and special events that are going on during Girlfriends Getaway months. Highlights include: Sonoma County Restaurant Week, VinOlivo Winemakers Dinners and a Grand Tasting, Ladies Soul Train Dance Party, G3 Women’s Conference, Savor Sonoma Valley, Barrel Tasting Weekend, Sonoma International Film Festival, Trashion Fashion Show, Girlfriends Getaway Specials & Pamper Packages, Food & Wine Pairings, and 2 for 1 Wine-Tastings.
Summer is peak tourist season, so expect hot beautiful weather, heavy traffic – and big crowds at Sonoma restaurants, shops and wineries. It’s a great time of year to sit outside, sip wine, enjoy fabulous food, and admire the beautiful Sonoma Valley vineyards in California’s oldest Wine Country.
Wine Crush – August through October
One of the most popular times to visit Sonoma Valley (it’s also one of the most picturesque) is during harvest season or “crush” when the grapes are picked, in late summer/early fall. With so many wonderful vineyards, it’s hard to know which ones to visit, especially if it’s your first time to Sonoma.
Some of Our Favorite Wineries
A few of our favorite wineries (Jacuzzi, Cline Cellars and Viansa) are located within close proximity of each other, just off Hwy 121 in the beautiful Carneros grape-growing region of Sonoma. We also ike include Benzinger, Chateau St. Jean and Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyard.
Jaccuzzi Family Vineyards offer complimentary wine-tastings (a rarity in Sonoma Valley), in addition to free olive-oil and balsamic vinegar tastings. They also have one of the best winery stores in Sonoma, so if you like to shop, don’t miss a stop here. And be sure to check out the courtyard and see the sunglass-clad statue (pictured at top) – only in California!
Cline Cellars (located just across from Jacuzzi) also offers complimentary wine-tastings – and free admission to its California Mission Museum, showcasing one-of-a-kind handcrafted models of 21 California Missions, originally made for the 1939 World’s Fair at Treasure Island. It’s a fun place to stop for a little wine and culture.
Viansa Winery is reminiscent of a Tuscany villa – it sits on a hilltop surrounded by olive trees and vineyards, overlooking its 90-acre restored wetlands preserve. The grounds are truly magnificient. If you like to shop, don’t miss Viansa’s Italian Marketplace – it’s filled with wine, food and specialty items from around the world.
Historic Sonoma Plaza
Of course, no trip to Sonoma would be complete without visiting the historic downtown plaza, filled with great little restaurants and specialty shops. Two of our favorite lunch places are The Red Grape (thin crispy pizzas and a lovely outdoor garden) and Della Santina’s Trattoria (beautiful outdoor setting and delicious Italian food). The girl & the fig is also very popular with tourists and locals alike. If you like cheese (I’m addicted!), stop by the Sonoma Cheese Factory and sample a variety of traditional and flavored Jack cheeses. You can buy everything from pesto, garlic, hot pepper and habanero, to vidalia onion, portable mushroom, and Mediterranean Jack.
Guided Wine-Tasting Day Tour to Sonoma from San Francisco
If you’re in San Francisco and you’d like to visit Sonoma Valley Wine Country for the day and don’t fancy drinking and driving, consider taking a Guided Wine-Tasting Day Tour to Sonoma – it takes all the hassle out of planning where to go and how to get there.
What are some of your favorite Sonoma Valley wineries and restaurants?