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Sonoma County Wineries

Neighboring Napa, Sonoma County has equally famous wineries and appellations, including the Russian River Valley.

TravelCurious Tip

Wine-tasting can all be a little serious. Stop by Two Amigos Wines on Fridays for the Junk Food Friday that pairs wine with Doritos and Fig Newtons!

Sonoma Valley, also known as The Valley of the Moon, can be found about an hour north of San Francisco. The valley is hemmed in by two mountain ranges: the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west. Nestled between them, the valley has played a central role in California’s brief but brilliant wine history.


The first vineyards there were planted by Franciscan monks in the early 19th century. Things began taking off towards the second half of that century but were soon punctured by the dreaded Prohibition: between 1920 and 1969 the number of wineries plummeted fro 256 to just 58. But if there is a constant in the ups and downs of this world, it is that people like to drink and won’t be stopped. By 2005, there were once more 254 wineries covering some 65,000 acres under vines.


Compared to its neighbour Napa, Sonoma takes things easy. Locals call it ‘Slow-noma.’ Here it is (a little) less bourgeois and you can drive something rickety and wear something you bought so long ago you can’t even remember when. Start off in the town itself, which has the state’s largest town square surrounded by 19th century historical buildings. Then set out for the wineries.


The original winery is the Buena Vista Winery. Established in 1857 by “Count” Agoston Haraszthy, it is still going strong. Order one of the winery’s picnic hampers and settle down in the cobblestone courtyard. Be sure to read about the flamboyant count himself, and the alligator that finished him off. Beyond that, the Gundlach Bundschu Winery, the Benziger Family Winery and the Kunde Family Winery are some of the best around. Take a few days to really enjoy them all (and pace yourself).

Nearby Attractions

See all attractions in San Francisco
Muir Woods
Part of the Golden Gate Recreational Area, this breathtaking redwood forest is named in honour of the famous naturalist John Muir.
Napa Valley Wineries
With over 500 wineries, Napa County is by far California's best known wine county - and includes Napa Valley, Stag's Leap, Calistoga, and five other appellations.
Wine Making Process
Throughout your tour, your guide will explain the wine making process from planting through distribution, and the ways in which it differs around the world.
Tastings at 2 Napa Wineries
Known predominantly for their full-bodied cabernets and buttery chardonnays, Napa is full of producers who are constantly experimenting and further developing 'new world wine'.
California Chardonnay
After massive popularity for af ew decades, Chardonnay has gained a bad reputation of being 'buttery and oaky', and it's become trendy to dislike it. But keep an open mind as vintners continue to experiment with new flavor profiles for the grape.
Bordeaux style California reds
Bordeaux wines are always blends comprised of 6 grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and Carmenere. Bordeaux-style reds are typical of Northern California because of its' similarities in climate to Bordeaux.

Related Tours

Private Wine Tasting Excursion in Sonoma County
Sonoma County is home to some of the state's most well-known wineries and appellations, including the Russian River Valley. Like all wine-tasting, the best way to do it is in an all-inclusive luxurious way.  On your private excursion to Sonoma, you will:

  • Enjoy hotel pick up and a scenic drive in a luxury vehicle from the city to the rolling landscapes of Sonoma Wine Country. 
  • Enjoy a thorough introduction to tasting wine, principles of viticulture and oenology, and the history of Sonoma. 
  • Learn about over two centuries of wine-making in Sonoma along with the differences from its neighbour, Napa. 
  • Enjoy all-inclusive tastings at two different wineries,  learning about each of their varietals. As you sip. 
  • Seize the opportunity to become wine club members of wineries and have wine arrive at your door throughout the year. 
  • Stop for lunch in one of the valley's historic towns and enjoy the best of California's farm-to-table cuisine. Your guide will drop you off after your first tasting and pick you up in time for your second tasting. Please note: cost of lunch is not included. 
  • Enjoy an easy trip back into the city with hotel drop-off by your driver guide. 
Sonoma's wine country is an easy trip outside San Francisco with equally dazzling wines to its famous neighbour, Napa. On your excursion, your private guide will whisk you away, so you can relax as your guide introduces you to the wineries where you'll be spending your day. Enjoy tastings at two wineries, lunch in Sonoma, and an easy transfer back to the city in the late afternoon. 

If you're wondering about how to dress for this tour, the simple answer is: smart casual.  While wine tasting tends to be an upscale luxury experience, Sonoma has venues that range from sophisticated to relaxed.  Dressy jeans are very appropriate. Mens jackets not necessary, but a sport-coat is appropriate for cooler seasons.  Women's attire during the daytime are sundresses, or jeans with blouse, jumper or blazer.  Dress for variable weather, as Sonoma County has microclimates and may be significantly warmer or cooler than San Francisco according to the season.  You will be able to leave items in the vehicle, so please feel free to dress in layers. 
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