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Sonoma Wine Tours - A Memorable Day Among the Vineyards

Updated on April 2, 2013
Beautiful Sonoma Valley
Beautiful Sonoma Valley
"And wine can of their wits the wise beguile, make the sage frolic, and the serious smile."

--- Alexander Pope

Sonoma Valley in California, also known as the Valley of the Moon, is nestled between the Mayacamas Mountains and the Sonoma Mountain Range. The region is renowned for being part of the wine country of Northern California, neighbor to equally famous Napa Valley.

People from all over the world visit to take a Sonoma wine tour and it is understandable why. When you are on a Sonoma wine tour you get to experience the less crowded, more boutique style wineries rather than large corporate ones. These smaller wineries offer a more homey, personal, one on one experience. If you are visiting Northern California and enjoy wine than taking a Sonoma wine tour should definitely be on your to do list.

Sonoma offers a wide range of varietals and grapes. In the cooler region of Carneros, the southern part of the valley; Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir grapes thrive. The northern region of Sonoma, warmer due to the fog not being as prevalent, creates an environment that is versatile for a wide variety of grapes. Known as the Alexander Valley it produces wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Zinfandel.

Wine Caves, Gloria Ferrer
Wine Caves, Gloria Ferrer | Source

A Few Notable Sonoma Wineries

There are many great wineries to visit in Sonoma, too many to mention. Here, are three that I visited on a Sonoma wine tour of my own and found to be fantastic.

Chateau St. Jean - The Chateau, built in 1920 is breathtaking and was originally the summer home of Ernest and Maude Goff and their children. In 1973 it was fully restored, opened to the public and listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. They offer amazing gardens in which you can have a scenic picnic enjoying their fabulous wines and delicious edibles. They have a wonderful choice of white wines; Chardonnay, Riesling, Fume Blanc, Pinot Blanc, Viognier, and Gewurztraminer. Their outstanding reds include; Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. Tastings are available in their tasting room ($15 for Five tastes) or in the Chateau taste their reserves and limited release wines ($25 for five tastes). For private tastings and tours, call ahead for a reservation. Chateau St. Jean, 8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA. 95452, 707-833-4134. Chateau open daily from 10am to 4:30pm, tasting room open daily from 10am- to 5:00pm.

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards - This beautiful winery was built with the inspiration of an Italian villa. Beautiful gardens surround you as stroll the Ferrari-Carano grounds, transporting you back in time and to Italy. They have delicious wines to taste in both the red and white varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Siena, Zinfandel, Merlot for the lovers of red wine. Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Fume Blanc, Viognier, Bella Luce, Tre Terre Chardonnay for those who enjoy white wine. There general tastings are $5.00 for four wine tastes, refunded with any wine purchase. For private tours or tasting, reservations are required. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery 8761 Dry Creek Road Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 433-6700. Tasting room and Villa Fiore shop open daily from 10am to 5pm.

Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards - For those who love sparkling wine Gloria Ferrer is heaven, with beautiful grounds and inspiring views that stretch for miles from their vista terrace. They have an atmosphere that blends the beauty of Sonoma with the vibrant traditions of Spain.Their sparkling wines to taste are Brut, Blanc de Noirs, Blanc de Blancs and Va de Vi. They also have a wonderful line of Cuvee Sparkling wines to tickling your tongue with. Tastings are $10 for two sparkling wines, for private tastings and tours advanced reservations are available. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards at 23555 Carneros Hwy. 121, Sonoma California (707) 996-7256. They are open daily from 10am to 5pm.


Making It Memorable

True, taking a Sonoma wine tour within itself is a wonderful experience; however, there are a few extra things that can really make your tour a memorable day among the vineyards.

Hire a limousine~ Wine tasting and driving do not mix, if you are on a vacation, celebrating a special occasion or perhaps just enjoying a day out with friends, it is far more enjoyable to take out the responsibility of driving. It is not only the smart and safe way to go, there are some fabulous limousine companies that specialize in wine tours. They know the best wineries, hidden spots and gems through out Sonoma; its like having a personal tour guide, is fairly priced, luxurious, and allows for complete freedom to enjoy the day without worrying about logistics.

Taste the local cuisine~ After tasting wine, wind down the day with a fabulous meal at one of the many amazing restaurants available such as, The Girl and The Fig or the Meritage Martini Oyster Bar & Grill. There is a wide variety of great places to choose from, whether you are looking for casual or upscale, Sonoma has it all.

Enjoy the scenery and towns~ Make sure to take some photo opportunities as you travel from winery to winery, the sites are breathtaking.Take a stroll in Cornerstone Place, the main square located in the heart of Sonoma, offering art galleries, speciality shops, historic buildings, a sweet park and wonderful atmosphere. Healdsburg also has a very quaint downtown that is equally enjoyable to explore with many local offerings.


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