Attractions in Sonoma County
By far, the main attraction in Sonoma County is its wineries. With more than 200 of them spread across the county's 200,000 acres, Sonoma wineries provide days of wine-tasting and touring experiences for visitors to this region of Northern California. Grapes thrive in the climate of Sonoma County, which is largely influenced by maritime variations. The cool days and nights of Sonoma, winegrowers will tell you, are perfect for wine-producing.
Varietals of Sonoma County
Many different varietals grow in Sonoma County. You'll find chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, pinot blanc, pinot gris, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir, syrah, zinfandel, cabernet franc, sangiovese, and petite sirah.
There are many ways to explore Sonoma wineries including guided tours led by experienced guides who can educate you not only in the particulars of wine tasting but also about appellations, the varietals grown in the area, and why the geography of Sonoma County is perfect for vineyards. Visitors can arrange a private Sonoma wine tour or schedule a trip with a group. Travel in style in a limousine, tour by mini-coach, or even choose a Hummer as your mode of tour transportation.
Specific wine loops or trails have been designed to help tourists get the most from their hours spent on Sonoma wine tasting. These trails include stops at a variety of Sonoma vineyards - big and small - usually arranged geographically. For example, the Sonoma County Highway 12 Trail takes visitors to about a dozen Sonoma Valley wineries. The Carneros Wine Tour is known for its wineries that produce Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. Others take you through the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek, Alexander Valley, and other well-known wine regions throughout Sonoma.
Festivals and Faires
Sonoma wineries play a large part in many annual events that take place throughout the county. These wine-related festivals combine the fine vintages of Sonoma County with great music, art, and - of course - food. Some are sponsored by particular wineries while others include participation by many area vintners.
Such special events include the Grape to Glass Weekend in Santa Rosa; the Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival and Winegrowers Crab and Fennel Fest in Sonoma; the Seafood Art and Wine Festival in Bodega Bay; Russian River Food and Winefest in Guerneville; Russian River Wine Road Barrel in Cloverdale; and the Architectural Tour and Tasting in beautiful Sea Ranch.
Beer vs. Wine?
If you prefer brews to burgundies, you'll want to take some time out of your busy wine-tasting and recreational schedule to tour a few Sonoma breweries. While these are certainly not as plentiful as wineries, if you're a beer aficionado, you'll no doubt seek out one that offers tours to visitors like you. Find out how beer is made, learn about the natural products that go into the making of beer, and find out how it gets from brewery to consumer. Best of all, you'll be treated to a taste at the end of the tour. There are several micro-breweries in Sonoma County as well.