- June 08, 2017Winery Concerts, Festivals, Picnics and More: Great Ways to Experience California Wine Country this Summer
- May 02, 20172016 California Wine Sales in U.S. Hit New Record: 238 Million Cases with Retail Value of $34.1 Billion
- April 06, 2017Winners Announced for Third Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
- March 27, 2017Raise a Glass to "Green" California Wines During Down to Earth Month in April
- March 09, 2017Explore California’s Wine Regions on the Rise
- February 14, 2017California Wine Exports Reach Record $1.62 Billion in 2016
- January 05, 2017Explore Southern California on a California Wines Road Trip
- December 14, 2016Explore the Inland Valleys on a California Wines Road Trip
- November 15, 2016California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Drinks Business 2016 Green Award
- November 01, 2016Explore Monterey County on a California Wines Road Trip
- October 19, 20162016 California Winegrape Harvest: Early, Normal Yield, Exquisite Quality
- October 12, 2016Explore Paso Robles & San Luis Obispo on a California Wines Road Trip
- September 29, 2016Explore Santa Barbara on a California Wines Road Trip
- August 18, 2016Cheers to California Wine Month this September
- August 04, 2016California Wine Shows Strength in Challenging Economy: 2015 Annual Economic Impact Grows to $57.6 Billion in California, $114.1 Billion in U.S.
- July 11, 20162015 California Wine Sales in U.S. Hit $31.9 Billion Retail Value, 12% increase since 2010
- June 28, 2016Explore Santa Cruz Mountains on a California Wines Road Trip
- June 02, 2016California Wine Country and National Parks Centennial: The Perfect Summer Travel Pairing
- May 19, 2016Explore Livermore on a California Wines Road Trip
- May 02, 2016Second Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards Announced
- March 24, 2016Celebrate California Sustainable Winegrowing During Down to Earth Month in April
- March 15, 2016Explore the Sierra Foothills on a California Wines Road Trip
- February 29, 2016California Wine Exports Set Record in 2015: Worldwide Demand Grows, Despite Strong Dollar
- February 16, 2016Explore Lodi on a California Wines Road Trip
- January 20, 2016Explore Lake County on a California Wines Road Trip
- December 03, 2015Explore Napa Valley on a California Wines Road Trip
- November 12, 2015Explore Sonoma County on a California Wines Road Trip
- October 15, 20152015 California Winegrape Harvest: Early, Light and Exceptional Quality
- October 13, 2015Explore Mendocino County on a California Wines Road Trip
- August 24, 2015Experience California Wine Month this September
Road Trip Series Offers Tips on How to Sip, Stay and Play in a Different California Wine Region Each Month
SAN FRANCISCO—As the leading wine and food destination in the U.S., California attracts culinary travelers from across the globe. With dozens of wine regions to explore, Wine Institute is helping visitors by turning the spotlight on a different region each month, highlighting where to sip, eat, drink and play. This month, explore a gourmet journey to Sonoma County, the largest producer of Pinot Noir in California.
Home to 500-plus wineries, a renowned cheese trail, farm and vineyard dinners, artsy beach and wine country towns and 55 miles of ruggedly beautiful coastline, Sonoma County is one of the most well-known wine regions in California, but there’s always something new to explore. Winemakers, inspired by the region’s incredible abundance and diversity of varietals, are creating some of the state’s most celebrated wines.
SIP: Sonoma County is most known for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, but it grows many of California’s 100-plus grape varieties. Explore the region’s 500-plus wineries in 18 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) with this interactive map of Sonoma County wineries. Or visit the discovercaliforniawines.com interactive map to search wineries by their many amenities such as gardens, art displays, concerts, tours and picnic areas. For those travelers looking for themed tasting routes, from dog-friendly wineries to specific wine varietals, they can check out www.sonomawine.com/visit-our-wineries/suggested-tasting-routes.
STAY: Choose from luxury and full-service resorts, B&Bs tucked among the vines, charming seaside lodges, cabins and campgrounds, trendy downtown hotels or small inns on vineyard hillsides. Many prefer to pamper themselves at one of the area’s 40-plus spas and wellness centers, some of which offer access to natural thermal springs. Popular towns to stay in range from Bodega Bay on the coast and charming wine country towns such as Sonoma, Healdsburg, Sebastopol or Petaluma. Explore all the options at Sonoma County Tourism.
PLAY: Nov. 21-22 the Holiday in Carneros kicks off the holiday season with wineries opening their doors for wine and food pairings, barrel and new release tastings and more. After the holidays, make merry in the new year with the annual Winter WINEland Jan. 16-17, featuring tours, tastings of limited production wines and more at 140 wineries. Check in regularly for more wine events at www.discovercaliforniawines.com/events.
More fun things to do: Hike among the giant trees at Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, along the wild coast of Bodega Head in Sonoma Coast State Park, with a docent at Jack London State Historic Park or on one’s own at Sonoma State Historic Park—site of the northernmost Franciscan Mission in California. Pair local wines with wildlife at Safari West, which features private safaris from Winos and Rhinos to Cheetahs and Chardonnay. Sip, taste, shop and stroll along historic wine town squares such as Sonoma Plaza and Healdsburg Plaza.
MAKE: Guests can make their own version of the state’s signature beverage at one of many blending classes at area wineries, some of which offer cooking classes or wine and food pairing sessions. With more artists than any other county in the Golden State (27,000-plus), the region is known for its relaxed, freethinking spirit and art galleries. Get inspired and make art at occasional classes hosted by the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Petaluma Arts Center.
GROW: Sonoma County has a variety of micro-climates from coastal ranges perfect for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to warmer inland areas where Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel thrive. Reflecting the community’s commitment to green practices, Sonoma County Winegrowers aim to have 100 percent sustainable vineyards by 2019. In addition, more than 100 organic farms and dozens of farmer’s markets are held, giving travelers the chance to select fresh ingredients for a snack or meal.
EAT: Besides grapes, Sonoma County produces a variety of specialty foods from seafood, meats and artisan cheese to honey, lavender, olives, pumpkins and olive oils, most of which can be tasted at various gourmet shops or farms. The region’s more than 500 restaurants range from Michelin- and Zagat-rated stars to casual eateries like gastropubs. Savor fresh local oysters at Bodega Bay Oyster Company or taste along the Sonoma-Marin Cheese Trail, where many creameries are open to the public (call ahead to make sure).
For another kind of comfort food, save some space for Mom’s Apple Pies in Sebastopol, which bakes fresh daily from local Gravenstein apples and other local fruit. To get hands on, sign up for an agri-tourism or farm trail experience. Each September the region’s farms open their doors during Weekend along the Farm Trails, where visitors can meet the artisan producers, enjoy tastes, tours and demonstrations, take hayrides and experience life behind the barnyard gates.
Visit discovercaliforniawines.com for information on wine regions, wines and wineries throughout the Golden State and for planning a trip to California wine country. California is the number one U.S. state for wine and food tourism with dozens of distinct wine regions, 136 American Viticultural Areas and 4,400 wineries that produce 90 percent of U.S. wine. Established in 1934, Wine Institute is the public policy association of nearly 1,000 California wineries. See: wineinstitute.org
Wine Institute Communications Dept.