Sonoma Valley Wine Tour: An Essential Guide Before You Plan The Trip
Sonoma Valley in California is one of the most popular wine producing regions of the world. Wine fanatics in America and beyond flock to the region in great numbers to savor the region’s greatest treasure, which is produced by more than 425 wineries.
Located to the west of Napa Valley, Sonoma Valley boasts nearly 60,000 acres of vineyards. Home to some of the most famous wineries in the world, the region produces some of the finest varieties of wines.
Sonoma valley wine tour is frequented by wine enthusiasts, both first timers and seasoned, and offers remarkable wine tasting experiences. Sonoma Valley is where wine producing in California first began. It sits between two mountain ranges presenting a breathtaking view from every corner of the county.
Tips to Remember Before Planning Your Trip to Sonoma Valley Wine Country
A trip to Sonoma Valley wine tour promises a refreshing break from life’s daily struggles. However, there are a few things that you need to remember if you are planning to experience some of the award-winning wines of the region.
The following tips can help you plan a better trip to one of California’s prized wine producing regions.
#1. Plan an Early Start
Most of the wineries in Sonoma Valley shut down at 4 or 5 p.m. Therefore, although there would still be daylight around late evening, it is advisable to plan an early start to your winery tours.
#2. Shortlist the Wineries You Want to Visit
Sonoma Valley has more than 425 wineries, so it’s not possible to cover them all in one trip. Which means you need to make your picks wisely. Some of the most renowned wineries in Sonoma Valley include Sojourn Cellars, Kamen, Stonestreet Winery, Ledson Winery and Vineyards, Madrone Estates Winery and J Winery and Vineyards.
#3. Memberships and Wine Tastings
The region mostly depends on wine memberships and tastings for their bread and butter. Even if you choose to spend your days in Sonoma Valley mostly sightseeing, sampling a glass of wine or two is customary to show your respect.
Memberships can be useful if you really fall in love with place. You will be able to bring in as many guests as you want, enjoy free tastings, and useful discounts on wine.
#4. Where to Stay in Sonoma Valley
Although Sonoma Valley offers lots of choices for accommodation, you may still find it a bit difficult to decide where exactly to stay. Consider choosing a place that is close to the vineyards. Short distances save time, and properties closer to the wine estates also offer great views.
The three main cities or towns are Santa Rosa, Sonoma, and Healdsburg. As well as Kenwood, (in the region, Valley of the Moon), and Glen Ellen, (a small town that features Jack London State Park).
#5. Places You Shouldn’t Miss
If you are looking forward to an all-round and top notch experience in Sonoma Valley then you must not miss these attractions.
- Healdsburg was at number 2 on Smithsonian Magazine’s, “Best Small Town to Visit in the US,” listing. You don’t want to miss the Downtown Bakery and Creamery at 308 Center street, which has been serving delicious breakfasts since 1987.
- Alexander Valley should also be on your list. It is one of the most gorgeous spots in Sonoma County.
- Francis Ford Coppola’s sprawling estate certainly deserves a visit. The glass pyramid adds a great deal of magnificence to the European-style chateau belonging to the famous Hollywood writer and director.
- Once you’re in Healdsburg, take a tour of the Downtown Plaza. You can explore the long line of clothing boutiques, tasting rooms, and restaurants that now cover the concert pavilion built in 1872.
Facts You Should Know Before Visiting Sonoma Valley
Knowing more about the place you are going to visit makes the experience even better. Like any other place in the world, Sonoma Valley has some interesting facts that will fascinate you.
#1. Kunde Family Winery
In order to maintain the quality of the wine, the winery maintains actual wine aging caves, and more than 32,000 sq. ft. of tunnels perforating into the 5-million-year-old volcanic lava flows. It has a storage capacity of 5,500 barrels.
#2. The Movie, Bottle Shock
If you have watched the movie, Bottle Shock, you will be delighted to know that 80% of the film was shot in Sonoma. In fact, there were many scenes that were shot in the Kunde Family Winery.
#3. Robledo Family Winery
Reynaldo Robledo, a Mexican vineyard worker established America’s first winery, Robledo Family Winery in Sonoma Valley.
#4. The Sonoma Plaza
Sonoma Plaza is the largest plaza in present day California. It has total area of 8 acres. The Plaza is the heart of the historic district, and offers a variety of fine dining and shopping experiences. Just off the Plaza is the Mission San Francisco Solano de Sonoma, the last of California’s 21 missions, built in 1821.
#5. Sonoma State Historic Park
Founded in 1905, the Sonoma State Historic Park is located in the centre of Sonoma, and consists of 6 sites. These are the Sonoma Barracks, the Mission San Francisco Solano, Lachryma Montis, La Casa Grande, Toscano Hotel, and the Blue Wing Inn.
#6. Sonoma – the Capital of Independent Republic of California
For 45 days the wine country was the capital of independent Republic of California. On June 14, 1846, American immigrants mounted on horses from Sacramento Valley, came into Sonoma, and arrested the cooperative general and his men at his headquarters.
California was declared an independent republic, and the hoisting of the Bear Flag of the Republic at the northeast corner of the plaza marked the end of the Mexican rule.
#7. Buena Vista Carneros Estate
Founded by Count Agoston Haraszthy, who came to Sonoma in the 1850’s, Buena Vista Carneros Estate emerged as the first premium winery of California. Count Agoston Haraszthy is regarded as the, “father of the Californian wine industry,” for his unparalleled knowledge in the different varieties of grapes, as well as for his extensive travels around the world.
#8. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn
The widely popular Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn is located in Sonoma Valley itself. It’s famous for its source of thermal mineral water, and also for the award winning Sante Restaurant.
Sonoma, the sister wine county of Napa, tops the charts of many wine lovers around the world. Besides its fine quality wines and vast stretches of vineyards, the region also boasts of gorgeous natural endowments. Wine lovers can enjoy the view of the majestic landscapes while sipping on their wine.
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