One of the most exhilarating ways to explore Wine Country is by equine – and these aren’t poor old tired stable plugs (bless their hearts) led in a slow plodding pack, but energetic, well trained mounts ranging from polo ponies to rescued race horses. Parties traverse in intimate groups across gorgeous landscapes, from beaches to mountains to vineyards. Here’s where to giddy-up and go:
While wine will always be king in the North Bay, suddenly, distilleries are popping up all over, crafting artisanal spirits. No, not moonshine, but hand-blended drinkable delicacies with tasting notes to rival the best Napa Valley Cab or Sonoma Pinot Noir.
A memorable Wine101 session isn’t simply sitting in a classroom with some wines to sample and a PowerPoint show. Much better is interacting with the actual winemakers, tasting a rich array of varietals, comparing notes with fellow wine lovers, and enjoying perfect food pairings, too.
Given the abundance of herbs, spices, and produce grown in Wine Country, paired with a trend toward locally produced spirits, it's no wonder that creative cocktails are increasingly popular here. Bonus: with farm-to-bar cocktails taking center stage, you can enjoy a few and pretend you’re getting your daily serving of fruit and veggies, too.
There was a time when women winemakers were few and far between. Lucky for us, that time is long gone. Sonoma County gals who grow grapes are taking the Bay Area by storm and giving wine lovers delicious reasons to raise a glass.
When it comes to philanthropy, we love the idea of sipping some of the best vino our Northern neighbors have to offer while making dreams come true for children facing the most important battles of their lives. Assuming most of our readers feel the same, we want to throw out a feel-good weekend activity recommendation, Wishes in Wine Country on May 17.
With their al fresco lifestyle, Wine Country chefs take their barbecue cooking seriously. So whatever your preference – wood or charcoal, rubbed, marinated, or basted, grilled or smoked – there’s a ‘cue for you. Lick your lips over these top picks for ribs, pulled meats, and all the extra goodies from beans to pickles.
Some of Wine Country's most interesting destinations are hidden away from the typical tourist routes. It’s worth tackling twisting, winding back roads, and in a few cases, peering past industrial settings, to explore these gems in Sonoma County.
Designating a designated driver can take a lot of fun out of wine tasting, when one person in your merry group must refrain from even the smallest sip. And while we mean no offense to limo tours or a certain well-known train, we’ve been there, done that.