Wine lovers will not want to miss a trip to the Napa Valley’s counterpart: Sonoma. The area has a well-deserved reputation for producing some of America’s top wines with many producers offering tastings, and you can try them on a Sonoma wine tour. See below for the area’s top regions.
The historic town of Sonoma and neighboring Glen Ellen have been producing wine for more than 100 years. Take a day trip from San Francisco to wineries such as BR Cohn, Buena Vista, Benziger, D'Agostini, and Ravenswood, or combine a winery tour with a visit to the famous island of Alcatraz or to Muir Woods.
Russian River Valley
Known for its cool breezes, tree canopies, and fog banks, the Russian River Valley is home to excellent pinot noir and chardonnay wines. The area extends almost to the Pacific Ocean, so a day trip here can be easily combined with a trip to the beach. Notable wineries include Martinelli Winery, Rodney Strong Vineyards/J Vineyards & Winery, and the Korbel Champagne Cellars—one of the only places outside of France’s Champagne region allowed to use the name Champagne to describe its sparkling wine, made in the French style.
Dry Creek Valley
With plenty of Italian influence that dates back to the 1800s, the Dry Creek Valley is known for producing high-quality Zinfandels in the old-world style. The charming towns of Healdsburg, Geyserville, and Cloverdale offer plenty of places to stop and sip, including Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves, Gustafson Family Vineyards, Ridge Lytton Springs, and Ferrari-Carano.
In the warm, dry eastern part of the valley bordering Napa, the Alexander Valley is known for making big wines like cabernet sauvignon. Producers include Silver Oak Cellars, Jordan Vineyard & Winery, and Francis Ford Coppola Winery, all excellent spots to spend a few hours sipping vino and exploring the large properties and winemaking facilities. Coppola is an especially great place to visit in summer thanks to its swimming pool and cabanas.