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Monday, 04 November 2013 13:39

Five Top Wine Experiences in Sonoma County

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Van and visitors at Jordan PicmonkeyVisitors enjoy day at Jordan Estate

by Dr. Liz Thach, MW


With over 350 wineries in Sonoma County open to the public, there are plenty of opportunities to stop by a tasting room and sample exquisite Pinot Noirs, dazzling Chardonnays, spicy Zinfandels, and many other varietals. However some wineries in Sonoma County are offering even more innovative experiences. Here are five “over the top” wine activities to check out the next time you’re in the area.

Sip & Swim - During the warmers months, head to Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Alexander Valley where you can enjoy their Pool Cabinet Package. Designed for four people, it allows you to lounge by the pool in a private cabana all day and sip wine flights ($125 for four people). If it’s raining, check out their amazing Hollywood Movie Museum on the second floor.

Luxury Nibbles With Wine - Sonoma County is not only a great wine destination, but is also known for its fresh vegetables, seafood, and artisan cheese and meats. Sample some of this bounty at the three great venues. J Winery’s Bubble Room treats visitors to a three-course food and wine pairing in an exquisitely decorated private room; St. Francis Winery delights customers with a five-course pairing that has been said to “rival Michelin star restaurants;” and Mayo Family Winery wows tourists with a seven-course pairing that has been praised by the Wall Street Journal.

Wine at The Top - Another exclusive experience that has recently opened to wine tourists is Jordan Winery’s Estate Tour & Tasting ($120). Here visitors spend three hours touring the 1200 acre estate, including tasting fruit and vegetables in the chef’s garden, a food and wine pairing at the fishing lake, forays in the various vineyards, and encounters with animals such Texas Longhorn cattle, donkeys, and chickens. The highlight of the tour is a second food and reserve wine pairing in a private pavilion at the very top of the Mayacamas Mountains with a 360-degree view of Sonoma County.

Wine & Tractors – A longtime favorite experience on Sonoma Mountain is Benziger Vineyards tractor tram tour through the vines. Here visitors learn about biodynamic and organic viticulture practices while riding on a tractor. The tour ends with a wine tasting in a private room at the winery. Another great biodynamic vineyard tour can be experienced at Quivera Vineyards and Winery in Dry Creek Valley.

Hiking & Wine – Probably one of the most unique experiences in Sonoma County is Kunde Family Estate’s hiking program. Located in the northern end of Sonoma Valley, the Kunde family escorts you on hiking trails through the vineyards and mountains. On some of the hikes, you are even encouraged to bring your dog. Another winery that features hiking and dogs is Bob Dog Winery in the new Pine Mountain AVA of Sonoma County.

About the Author: Dr. Liz Thach, MW is the Korbel Professor of Wine Business at Sonoma State University where she conducts research on wine tourism, marketing, consumer behavior, and strategy. She can be contacted at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Editor's note: If you're planning a visit to Sonoma's Wine Country, you might first check out the Resource Directory of Taste California Travel. In it you will find links to the websites of Wineries, as well as Lodging and Dining options.

Read 1215 times Last modified on Monday, 04 November 2013 14:07

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