As the race to harvest — before the wet, cool fall weather settles into the wine countries of Northern California — continues, another kind of race is happening over in the winery. Fermentation, which tends to take its own sweet time, is being coaxed along by winemakers eager to make room in crowded tanks for those last tons of fruit. As the red wine finishes fermenting, it is pressed off the skins and pumped into barrels where it will spend the next months and maybe even years of its life.
America’s Cup racers may have sailed off into the sunset last weekend, but one small winegrowing region in Sonoma County is still looking out to sea. On November 8, 40 different wineries from the Dry Creek Valley appellation will be setting sail for a three-hour sunset cruise — and you’re invited.
Think Wine Country is all tasting rooms and vineyards? Think again. Sure, there is plenty of grape juice for the anti-teetotalers among us. But you'll also find incredible hiking and biking, world-class cuisine, mineral spring spas, and backwoods towns with friendly locals who produce as mean a zinfandel as their Napa neighbors.
Ready to get going? Here are the 50 things to do in Wine Country before you die:
It’s no secret that people don’t need a reason to don a costume in San Francisco. It’s only natural then that locals go all out this time of year when Halloween rolls around. USA Today even named San Francisco as one of the best cities to celebrate Halloween. However, beyond the parties, parades, and costume contests, there are unique things to do beyond the city of San Francisco in Wine Country. Today we spotlight a few of the different Halloween activities happening in Napa and Sonoma this month.
While Napa reigns king of wine country, underrated Sonoma skims under the radar. Time passes slowly here. Instead of tour buses, traffic, and crowds, you can stretch out in the town square with an open bottle of red, bike between wineries without getting run over, and have leisurely conversations with local proprietors.
That being said, high-end restaurants, hotels, and boutiques are popping up and polishing up their games. Travelers wanting a more covert experience need to be a bit more intrepid in their journey. Here are a few of our favorite off the beaten path destinations in Sonoma: