- 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
- July 02, 2015Top 10 Reasons to Love California Zinfandel
- June 04, 2015Five Great California Wine and Food Road Trips
- May 19, 20152014 California Wine Sales Grow 4.4% by Volume and 6.7% by Value in the U.S.
- May 13, 2015Wine Institute Showcases California Wines for Top Media and Trade from Canada, Europe, Asia and Latin America
- April 15, 2015Wine Institute Launches Sustainable Winegrowing Certificate Course
- April 13, 2015Winners Announced for First Annual California Green Medal: Sustainable Winegrowing Leadership Awards
- April 01, 2015Raise a Glass to “Green” for California Wines Down to Earth Month
- February 26, 2015California Wines Fuel $1.49 Billion in U.S. Wine Exports in 2014
- January 22, 2015California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSWA) Receives Governor's Top Environmental Award
- January 07, 2015Great Winter Wine Escapes in California Wine Country
- December 02, 2014"Down to Earth" California Wine Country Recipes for the Holidays
- October 30, 2014Ten Great Places to Hike, Bike and Sip in California
- October 27, 20142014 California Winegrape Harvest: Earliest and Third in a String of Great Vintages this Decade
- September 16, 2014California Wines Website Available in Seven Languages for 10 Markets
- August 22, 2014New Discover California Wines Presentation Available
- August 19, 2014Cheers to the 10th Annual California Wine Month: September 2014
- May 20, 2014Winery Concerts in California this Summer:
- May 07, 2014Wine Institute Receives Drinks Business 2014 Green Award
- April 29, 2014Four Great California Wine Country Recipes for Mother’s Day
- April 24, 2014California Wine Sales Grow 3% by Volume and 5% by Value in the U.S. in 2013
- April 02, 2014Wine Institute Publishes Down to Earth, a New Book on Sustainable Winegrowing
- March 25, 2014California Wines Get "Down to Earth" this April
- February 26, 2014California Wine Exports Reach All-Time High in 2013
- February 12, 2014California Wine and the Oscars
- January 11, 2014Sommeliers Recommend Perfect Wine Pairings for California Restaurant Month
- November 20, 2013Celebrate the Holidays in California Wine Country
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.