Wine country, where dreams are made. Where thousands of Bachelorette parties go down every year, where drinking at 9 in the morning is expected, we love it.
Wine country in California is in the Northern Bay area. In general, the wine country combines the following counties: Napa County, Sonoma County, Mendocino County, Lake County, and Solano County. That means that within this wine region are San Francisco, St. Helena, Calistoga, Healdsburg, and Carneros— yeah, all those places you heard had great wine. In 1975, there were only 25 Napa Valley wineries; now there are well over 800 in Napa and Sonoma counties. Today, the area is famous for its premier wine-growing and is known for its wineries, Michelin star restaurants, culture, and luxury resorts. Essentially, it's Disneyland for adults who love wine, so wave goodbye to Los Angeles and pack your bags for wine country. The central coast may be great for fun in the sun (looking at you, Santa Barbara), but for wine this is the place you want to be.
The Famous Sonoma County
If you speak to someone from Sonoma County, they'll tell you that its the birthplace of California's wine industry. This is probably right, seeing as this northern California county is home to the state's oldest winery, Buena Vista, and oldest family-operated winery, Gundlach-Bundschu.
Geographically, Sonoma County is next to Napa Valley. It has fifty-plus miles of Pacific coastline and boasts mountainous regions and beautiful valleys. You can even see those redwoods that everyone is always talking about. Because of its wide range of terrain and climate, it can create a variety of wines.
Sonoma is also the largest producer of California's wine country region and has over 63,000 acres of vineyards. With over 350 wineries, it possesses eighteen approved American Viticultural Areas. What are those? An AVA (or American Viticultural Area) is a designated wine-growing region that provides an official appellation for wineries and consumers' mutual benefit. Some of the most famous of these are Sonoma Valley and the Russian River Valley. Winemakers enjoy having their consumers know about their wine's geographic pedigree because wines from particular areas possess distinctive flavors. The different AVAs or appellations all have distinct characteristics.
But what makes Sonoma County such a good region for wine production? It all comes down to its climate and soil. The climate is perfect for grape production because it has long, dry, sunny days and has cold, foggy nights. The fog comes from the ocean, and it helps preserve the acidity and complexity of the wine. The soil is the other feature that makes Sonoma County special. Because the area is ripe with many different geographical features, Sonoma County has more soil types than all of France. Because of the many different soil types, Sonoma can grow more than fifty grape varietals. Some of their most famous wines are their Pinot Noir and their Sauvignon Blanc, although the Zinfandel is also great.
Wine Tasting in Wine Country
Have we piqued your interest, and now you want to see the county(or more likely, the tasting rooms) for yourself? * pats self on the back* We really should be salespeople or something. Good news, there is plenty of stuff for you to do and drink in Sonoma. Needless to say, wine tasting in Sonoma is an absolute must.
If you plan taking a getaway, make sure you have a wine tasting pass. It is your golden ticket to Sonoma, providing you access to award-winning wineries, craft breweries, unique distilleries, and more. You might even score yourself a wine tour. Plus, not sure about you, but we love a good discount, and of course, the golden ticket gives you many exclusive tickets.
When you're in Sonoma, and you're visiting a participating business, you simply present your phone to staff and redeem your tasting flight and any other available discount. There are also different options for tasting passes, pending on how many days you intend on being in Sonoma. From 1 day to 90 days, the possibilities are unlimited! Plus, this golden ticket doesn't come in a candy bar; anyone can buy one; check it out here.
The Napa Valley Wine Train
If you're interested in going to Napa, we highly suggest checking out the Napa Valley Wine Train. The train itself is a restored collection of antique rail cars, each sharing its own history. The train travels twenty-five miles through the scenic rolling hills of Napa Valley.
Of course, The Napa Valley Wine Train has several different packages and options for you to select from. From a full day winery tour viewing the most celebrated winemaking families in Napa Valley to the Castle Winery tour that makes you feel like you've been transported in time, you can pick the option that speaks to your wine-tasting dreams.
If you're a foodie and looking for a romantic trip with BAE, look into the Romance on the Rails train tour. Travel back in time and enjoy a more elegant era while celebrating all things Romance on board. Only available one night a month, this tour has a multi-course dinner that is supposed to be delicious.
If you're with friends and you feel like tasting as many wines as humanly possible, check out the Estate Tour where you visit three wineries. A three-hour rail tour that departs at 10:45 am, you will be taken you through a beautiful landscape where you will enjoy the art of winemaking and the most elegant wine estates in Napa Valley. Plus, you'll enjoy a four-course Napa-style meal that will leave you satisfied but hungry for more delicious Napa wine and food. Napa is most well known for its Cabernet Sauvignon and its Chardonnay, so make sure that you give them a try.
The Castle Winery Tour is also an excellent option for people who are still waiting for their moms to tell them that they're the princess of a small, European country. Yes, we are talking about Princess Diaries, and yes, we meant that somewhat sarcastically. However, the Castle Winery tour takes you through the beautiful world of rows and rows of grapes while also allowing you to taste in a 13th century medieval Tuscan castle and winery.
Wineless Activities in Wine Country
If you're worried that you'll get wined out on your wine country trip, rest assured, there are tons of activities to do that are not centered around drinking wine. In fact, tourists often go to wine country for activities other than drinking wine. The area is known for its excellent hiking in state parks, biking, and hot air ballooning. It also has many historical sites and delicious restaurants, as well as small towns for you to explore. There are even hot springs in the area. From a hot air balloon ride to bocce ball and even stand up paddleboarding down Napa river, you can keep yourself entertained and wine-free.
If You’re Not Quite Ready to Go
Not ready to make the trek to wine country yet? No worries! While the experience of wine tasting from winery to winery is unforgettable, you can still enjoy the Sonoma County wines at home because they are distributed everywhere in the United States! From your local grocery store to a CVS, you can find a delicious bottle of delicious wines pretty much anywhere these days.
Plus, not that we're biased or anything, but you can also avoid a ton of sugar if you stay at home and drink Bev. We're breaking through the traditional wine industry and providing delicious wine without the sugar. Plus, with three different delicious kinds, we're sure you'll find one that suits you!