When you think of California wine country your first thought might be Napa Valley. While it is world-renowned for its incredible wine we have fallen in love with its sister city right next door, Sonoma. More specifically, the Sonoma Valley, that stretches for 17 miles and is boarded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east. The Sonoma area has 70,000 wine-producing acres and 18 sub-American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). That is just the start. Here are 4 more reasons we absolutely love Sonoma County and have been running tours here for years:
1. The wine, of course!
Seems like an obvious reason but absolutely worth mentioning. Napa might boast an outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon but Sonoma knocks it out of the park with a wide variety of wines like Zinfandels, Pinot Noirs, Sparkling Wines, Red Blends, and Unoaked zesty Chardonnays. Sonoma County is home to roughly 450 wineries and tasting rooms and 18 AVAs, or American Viticulture Areas, producing wines stretching to the Pacific Ocean.
P.S. Sonoma has some fantastic Cabernet Sauvignons too.
2. The charm
Ahh the charm. Something you can’t put into words but you know it when you see it, or feel it! Sonoma is slightly more laid back, without compromising style or good wine. You can spend an entire day walking around the small towns, like Headlsburg, tasting wine, sampling food and shopping for unique clothes and crafts.
Sonoma County is laid-back, compared to its neighbor Napa, given the intensely successful nature of its tourism and wine industries. Sonoma is almost double the size of Napa, which means there’s more space, more grapes, and fewer crowds. As winemakers will tell you, 90% of the wine is made when the grapes are produced and only 10% in the winery. We love to visit grape growers – farmers – who also make wine, such that we learn about what truly makes Sonoma wines special. We are able to walk through vineyards, visit organic wine grape farms, and eat farm to table from winery gardens. With fewer crowds, we get up close and personal with our wineries. Our tours are not your typical tasting room-to-tasting room tour.
4. Farm-to-table food
To complement its wine scene, Sonoma County also has a superb food scene. In particular, the abundance of farms in the area makes this a famous farm-to-table region. According to Travel Magazine, farms in this area produce olives, fruits, vegetables, herbs, and nuts. Additionally, the area produces handmade chocolate, cheeses, olive oil, craft beer, wine, and more. Just about everything you need for a delicious meal is available locally! And restaurants of all sizes – big and small – try to incorporate local ingredients into their menu.