With its combination of old-world charm, more than 400 award-winning wineries, California gourmet cuisine, a wild outdoors with untamed rivers, a beautiful coastline, and a captivating historical backstory, when you tour Sonoma Wine Country you will never want to leave.
Rich in history, Sonoma was the site of a second American revolution, this time against Mexico, when General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo deported all foreigners from California in 1846. Outraged frontiersmen occupied the Sonoma Presidio and declared independence. The Mexican-American War broke out a month later, and California was annexed by the United States. California gained its flag, which carries the word Republic beneath a big brown bear. Now that it's firmly part of the US, let's take a look at some of the great things you'll find when you tour Sonoma.
Sonoma County has more than 425 fabulous wineries harnessing an amazing range of microclimates to produce their award-winning wines. One of the world's most diverse wine-growing regions, its wineries — spanning the Pacific coastline, redwood forests, fertile valleys, and rugged mountains — produce a dazzling array of exceptional Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Rose, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel grapes
Luckily, when you tour Sonoma Wine Country you find many wineries that offer exceptional behind-the-scenes wine education, tours, and wine tasting. A host of operators offers bespoke, personalized tours with options ranging from limousines to private cars, walking tours, bicycles, and even a restored 1890s Californian wine trolley.
You might have heard about the great food available in Wine Country. Well, it's all true! Sonoma County has embraced the fresh food movement. Whether grown from the rich earth or harvested fresh from the sea, you'll enjoy sublime dining experiences courtesy of innovative chefs and their inspired use of fresh local produce, organically grown vegetables, a range of local cheese, Dungeness crab, salmon, oysters, fruit, olive oils, chocolates, and fresh herbs, combined with the best of their culinary skills.
Direct from the farm to your plate, whether your passion is fine dining, eating al fresco in a vineyard, or enjoying a leisurely lunch at a riverfront pub, you will savor a vibrant culinary culture.
You already know that Sonoma is famous for its fabulous wines, but did you know that Sonoma is also home to a vibrant artisan brewing industry, including nearly two dozen craft breweries, nine cider works, and more than a dozen distilleries? This mini-industry adds to the diversity of Sonoma's traditional wine country experience. Plan your own beer, spirits, or cider itinerary, or let one of the local brewery tour operators give you a behind-the-scenes look at Sonoma County's booming breweries, artisan pubs, beer bars, and distilleries.
In fact, there's a bike tour of Sonoma dedicated to the quest to find the best area craft breweries. Sign us up!
Culture vultures will find a host of cultural experiences waiting for them in Sonoma County. Whether it's sculpture gardens, modern art galleries, or intimate performances spaces, you will find a vibrant cultural experience awaits, nestled into hills and private vineyards. More than 120 performing arts companies and major performing-arts centers such as the Green Music Center and the Luther Burbank Center complement Sonoma's many art initiatives.
From short walks to exhilarating hikes and horseback riding, Sonoma County offers true outdoors experiences as befits one of California's most diverse natural ecologies. Enjoy the ecological diversity of beautiful Californian beaches, Salt Point State Park's rugged coastal cliffs with its fascinating lacy sculpted Tafoni sandstone honeycombed with delicate erosion patterns and pygmy forest or explore the Laguna de Santa Rosa's epic wetlands, home to thousands of birds.
In the Armstrong Redwoods State Natural Reserve, you get up close and personal with majestic ancient California Redwoods. These primal giants are some of the oldest living things in the world and tower more than 370 feet into the air. For a different view of the giants, zip line through the trees or walk along the aerial walkway strung high in the air.
Or, for a change of pace, recover from your strenuous outdoor adventures by taking advantage of California's natural hot springs. Three of the most legendary hot springs are Boyes Hot Springs, Morton's Hot Springs, and Agua Caliente. Once popular with Native Americans from across Northern California, these geothermal mineral springs, were transformed during the late 1800s into popular vacation resorts. Today you can still enjoy these restorative thermal waters.
The easiest & best way to take advantage of the Boyes Hot Springs is by booking into the luscious Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, the closest hotel to the springs and easily our favorite luxe accommodation in all of Sonoma.
Golf in Sonoma. Sonoma County's mild climate, glorious natural scenery, and opportunities for year-round play have created an inviting golf destination. Terrain varies from ocean headlands to scenic wetlands and rolling parkland studded with oaks, redwoods, and eucalyptus, while course layouts include; a classic Scottish-links, manicured fairways cut teasingly into rolling foothills, executive golf formats, and challenging links-type courses.
Water Sports are popular activities in Sonoma County, particularly during summer. Whether kayaking or paddle boarding is your passion, you'll find that Russian River, Sonoma County's lakes, and the Sonoma Coast offer great kayaking and canoeing experiences, including harbor seals, and amazing whale watching.
Cycling through the Sonoma Wine Country is one of the one of the best experiences you'll have have on two wheels. Ride through picturesque vineyard landscapes in the famous Dry Creek, Alexander and Russian River Valleys and afterward visit their celebrated wineries. Longer rides take you on a tour through majestic redwoods, stunning mountain top vistas and the fabulous northern California coast.
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Sonoma is also the perfect destination for a romantic getaway. Imagine crashing ocean waves complete with breathtaking California beach sunsets near Bodega Bay, or dreamy vineyards with fairytale castles like Ledson Winery or Chateau St Jean. If that isn't enough romance, imagine secluded resorts with hot tubs and private patios set amongst the redwoods or fine dining for two at an intimate restaurant. You'll find Sonoma County has the perfect romantic escape just for you.
What you can see from a from a hot air balloon is extraordinary — the captivating panoramic views of Sonoma's rolling vineyards. Gliding silently over the spectacular Sonoma Valley you glimpse the Pacific Coast, San Francisco's skyline, Redwood Forests, Geyser Mountains, the graceful Russian River, as well as lush rolling vineyards. Following your flight, reward yourself with a made-to-order sparkling wine brunch as you recount your amazing flight.
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