Sonoma Valley is a gem in land form. Bordered by magnificent coastlines, this dynamic wine region is home to award winning wineries, stately redwoods, and many shopping outlets. A vacation at the Sonoma Valley allows you multiple choices to unwind! What do you want to do? Hike, go kayaking, biking, spend the day at a Spa? And how about a Sonoma Winery?
Visitors to Sonoma claim that it is one of the best places to go wine tasting. Sonoma has much to offer visitors: the beautiful Pacific Ocean and wonderful seafood, awe-inspiring redwood forests, lakes for fishing and skiing, beautiful bed and breakfast inns, world-class restaurants, and of course wineries!
Sonoma County wineries produce some of the best wines world wide. The valley’s rich and unusual terroir consists of much soil diversity aided by many micro-climates. Literally any type of wine will grow here with great success. Over 58,665 planted acres are managed by over 1000 wine growers, who either develop their own wines or sell their grapes to one of the 191 wineries in the county. Sonoma County alone has a total of 13 AVA’s, an impressive number given the size.
Wine tasting is sometimes enjoyed as a spontaneous event. However, given the number of Sonoma wineries, it’s best to do some planning in advance. Some wineries have special requirements for tasting, for example, tasting only by appointment, large groups not allowed, and so on. Some Sonoma wineries are not even open to the public; you will need to call ahead and request a tasting.
To start with, arm yourself with a map, and write down your Sonoma winery list and the best routes to get there.
The following is a list of some great Sonoma wineries that all wine tasters should take the trouble to visit:
Korbel Champagne Cellars, located at the heart of the Russian River Valley is a beautiful historic facility that provides informative tours to help the novice taster. The onsite deli takes care of your food needs as well.
Hartford winery nestled in the hills of the Russian River produces fabulous Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and a few Zinfandels. An absolute must visit during the fall when the leaves turn colors.
J Vineyards and Winery serves food with the wines that are allowed for tasting. The on premise Chef showcases wonderful food-wine pairings that you shouldn’t miss.
Ridge Vineyards is an environment friendly, solar powered straw bale organically constructed winery. This winery pioneered California Zinfandel in 1969 and still produces fine Zinfandels.
Ferrari-Carano winery is perhaps one of the most beautiful Sonoma winery. Located in the middle of Dry Creek Valley, it is a great place to take visitors for a garden stroll. You can also visit the dark cellars downstairs and see how the barrels are stored under the ground.
The best guides during your wine tasting tour will be the Sonoma winery owners and the wine pourers. Ask for recommendations and be clear in your appreciation. If you are new to wine tasting, it will take some time to develop the right palate. Some wines are an acquired taste. However, wine tasting is the best way to get to know wines and incorporate these fine spirits into your life.