This story is brought to you by Sonoma County Vintners.
Buds are starting to burst at vineyards across Sonoma County, signaling the start of another fruitful growing season and the beginning of the grape-to-glass journey. April is Sonoma County Wine Month and a beautiful season to take in the sights, sounds and deliciousness of this world-renowned wine region less than an hour’s drive from the East Bay. To celebrate, wineries are rolling out the red carpet with innovative experiences — in tasting rooms and virtually — from wine pairing events and cave tours to virtual cooking experiences and everything in between. Find your perfect match on the Sonoma County Wine Month listings.
With more than 400 wineries producing wines from over 60 grape varietals in 18 designated American Viticultural Areas, there’s something in Sonoma County for every palate. Few wine growing regions in the U.S. offer as much diversity: here you’ll find heat-loving cabernet sauvignons, cool-climate rieslings and crowd-pleasing pinots and chardonnays in between. Travelers here are spoiled for choice in this wine wonderland stretching from Pacific cliffs to the many inland mountains and valleys that each feature their own microclimate.
“We know we’re lucky to live and work in such a beautiful place,” says Michael Haney, executive director of Sonoma County Vintners, which is producing Sonoma Wine Month in partnership with presenting sponsor and wine cabinet maker Vintec. The region’s winemakers and tasting room staff love to introduce this special region to visitors exploring wine country for the first time, Haney says, and also take the time to get to know the weekend regulars who pop up from the Bay Area often to check out wine releases, pairing events and stunning vistas.
Make your wine country travel plan
Whether you’re a first-timer or a seasoned aficionado, Sonoma County Wine Month has something to offer. The quick 50-mile drive from Berkeley to Sonoma County makes it especially easy to plan a day trip, weekend excursion or last-minute getaway.
Wine country tips from the pros
- Schedule a minimum of 30 minutes between appointments, even if the wineries seem near each other.
- Save the phone number and address of each winery you plan to visit for easy navigation and last-minute changes.
- Download the Sonoma County Road Trip Vibes playlist to get in the wine country state of mind.
- Snap a photo of the label of your favorite bottles so you can order them again later.
- Keep your bottles out of the heat by bringing them inside or tucking them into the shade.
- Check out the Sonoma County Wine Month listings to plan your trip this April.
Find suggested road trip itineraries and hotel and restaurant recommendations at Sonoma County Tourism, then take advantage of the winery listings on sonomawine.com, which can be filtered by both varietals and amenities to suit everyone’s preferences. You’ll find vineyard hikes, cabana reservations, outdoor tastings, picnic options and even bocce ball courts with bottle service.
Vegan travelers will find numerous options for wine tastings and food pairings. Dog lovers will be happy to find their pups are welcome in many places. The sustainability-minded will enjoy learning about the many innovative processes practiced in a region that’s synonymous with sustainable agriculture.
Experts in the region recommend booking your first appointment at the winery farthest from your home or hotel, then working your way back. Mix up your visits by planning around one Sonoma County town each time you make the trip. Visiting several wineries, restaurants and scenic driving routes in the same general area will cut down on driving time and leave new places to explore on your next visit.
While you’re in wine country, consider joining the email list or club at wineries you particularly enjoy to get special discounts, exclusive invitations, access to wines not for sale anywhere else and other perks. Picking up a club shipment or attending a members-only dinner is the perfect excuse to plan another trip to Sonoma County.
Discover the fun and innovative experiences created by wineries especially for this April’s Sonoma County Wine Month celebration at sonomawine.com/winemonth.
This story was written and paid for by Sonoma County Vintners, which actively promotes Sonoma County through educational programming, advocates for its members at local, state and federal levels and contributes to the local communities through the Sonoma County Vintners Foundation. Their annual fundraiser, Sonoma County Wine Auction, benefits nonprofit organizations throughout the region.