Choices, choices, choices…
Sonoma County has 100’s of options to choose from when it comes to wine tasting rooms to visit. Deciding which wineries to see is only half the battle.
Wine Country also offers mouth watering food options to pair with all those big pours in your glass. Now… What to do, what to do… Don’t go in blind on your visit.
Learn more about Sonoma County before you arrive and enjoy your stay all the more.
Planning ahead for a fun filled weekend of good wine, food and most of all, good people… is much entertaining in it’s own right.
There are a few items to consider that will make anyone’s trip more successful and stress free.
First Things First… Wine Country Tips
What time of the year will you be visiting Wine Country?
Before choosing the where… comes the when. Spring, summer, and fall are usually the busiest seasons for folks traveling to taste wine, while winter is much quieter.
In summer, when the vines are full of fruit and the weather is perfect for picnicking, visitor numbers are highest. Fall brings beautiful color along with a bountiful harvest of grapes.
This is the time when many wineries offer ways to get a glimpse into the crushing process of wine-making for a more hands-on experience. Winter, the vines are bare, and it is generally the least crowded time to visit.
Decide what is important to YOU. Would you like a more personalized experience one-on-one with the tasting room staff to learn more about the wine… or are you more interested in a lively atmosphere full of other wine lovers to enjoy conversation while you sip?
Do you want to photograph the vineyards with a rainbow of colors in Fall or would you rather have pictures of the grapes beginning to bloom in Springtime? Answer these questions before you pick a season to visit.
Where are YOU staying?
Sonoma County Wine Country is large and diverse. It also can take quite some time to get from one location to another.
Without proper planning of routes, time can be wasted with unecessary travel…
…this is time that COULD be spent tasting wine… Priorities and all that!
For example, staying on the quaint Sonoma Square is going to be less accessible to tasting rooms almost an hour away in Healdsburg… than if one is staying in the more centric parts of the County with higher populations like the city of Santa Rosa, where visitors can access all Sonoma County regions within approx. 30 minutes.
If you do not already have a hotel in mind, perhaps deciding which regions you want to visit first is the best option, than you can decide on lodging based on what is best in that area.
Which Varietals of Wine do YOU enjoy most?
When doing a little research beforehand, you can yield plenty of reasons to visit specific tasting rooms.
If wine is the highlight, start your itinerary by selecting spots that make wines you have already tasted and liked. If you have already been there, done that or you are simply new to the world of wine, then seek out wineries that make the types of wine that appeal to your palate.
Wine tasting is subjective. YOU know what YOU like.
After you’ve made some choices based on the wine, you can look for different winery options, places that offer something more than just a taste.
What types of tours/ special attractions are YOU looking to experience while there?
Though tasting rooms are all based on the same premise, sip the wines, the experience varies tremendously.
Some are open all the time, while other wineries are open to public by appointment only. Some will offer free tastings, while other tasting rooms charge a fee.
Just like anywhere you travel, some wineries are formal while others have a laid back relaxed atmosphere.
What atmosphere do YOU enjoy most?
A visit to a winery often goes beyond the basic tastings. Many locations offer behind-the-scenes tours, private tastings, wine caves, picnics, seminars, food pairings and soo much more. View specific winery websites for offerings.
If you want to find a cave tour with food & wine included…. Just Google “sonoma wine food cave tour” See what comes up.
Wineries have long been about more than just wine.
Art collections, educational tours, one-of-a-kind architecture, and destination restaurants are just a few of the treasures that you will find these days paired with Sonoma County tasting rooms.
Enjoy more than just the wine…. Enjoy the Experience just as much!
How do YOU plan to get from one tasting room to another?
When wine is the focus…so must be… responsibility.
It is important to decide how to get from here to there in Sonoma County before you arrive for a hassle free trip.
The simplest option would be to have a designated non-drinking driver in the group around to escort the winelovers throughout the journey.
This is not always an option.
When people want to equally share in the wine country shenanigans while visiting, it is best to look into shuttles or car services.
Another option which came to Sonoma in the last year is Uber, which can be a significant cost savings compared to private car rentals.
However you decide to get around, make sure your wine purchases get good care.
Leaving wine in hot cars can ruin it, either bring along a cooler to keep in the trunk or check with the car service that it has a way to keep wines from overheating.
Happy Wine equals…
Happy times. Don’t forget to plan ahead how to take all this wine home to it’s final destination spot… YOUR wine cellar.
What will you put in YOUR belly, other than wine?
Before any day of wine tasting, make sure to have a full breakfast and plenty of fluids. A day of tasting usually starts early and most folks are NOT use to starting drinking at 11am.
A good breakfast will not only give one the energy they need to make it through the day, it will make wine tasting more enjoyable.
For lunch, many wineries have areas for picnicking that offer breathtaking views or perhaps schedule a food and wine pairing at a local restaurant or winery.
If you are looking for quick and easy, perhaps picking up some sandwiches in town and selecting a bottle of wine to enjoy while taking-in a quiet nature spot in town is best. There are also many wineries with restaurants and local restaurants in town to choose from in this land of plenty when it comes to dining.
In any situation, when you are tasting wine, it’s important to eat enough and to drink plenty of water. The variety of food in Wine Country is delicious and can be overwhelming.
Try “googling” your fave types of foods along with the term Sonoma County and see what comes up. There are a number of offerings that also have spectacular wine lists to pair.
Have YOU called ahead to check on events during your stay or the need for reservations?
A bit of simple planning….and YOU will find it much easier to get the most out of your Sonoma County Wine Getaway, one that anyone could enjoy.
Most importantly, have fun in Sonoma County.
From wine tasting to tours, to outdoor adventures with plenty of other great things to enjoy while tasting….
If you want to revel in wine and food or seek inspiration from celebrity chefs and wine county styled restaurants…
Sonoma County Wine Country has everything needed to plan YOUR ultimate travel getaway.
Big pours in MY glass…
Wine Country Trip Planning Checklist
- What time of the year will you be visiting Wine Country?
- Where are YOU staying?
- Which Varietals of Wine do YOU enjoy most?
- What types of tours/ special attractions are YOU looking to experience while there?
- How do YOU plan to get from one tasting room to another?
- What will you put in YOUR belly, other than wine?
- Have YOU called ahead to check on events during your stay or the need for reservations?
- Most importantly….
- Is YOUR glass ready?!?