Wine Country weather is notoriously gorgeous, so lace up those hiking boots and get yourself to a winery. Trekking is the stylish new pastime at bucolic estates, and why not? Besides the beautiful setting, the reward of wine tasting awaits at the end of exercise.
Plan ahead for Saturday, November 5, when this private 1,200-acre estate morphs into a Wine Country adventurer's playground. The guided journey ($75) begins with a continental breakfast at Vista Point, the property's highest hilltop boasting a sweeping panorama of multiple wine regions and mountain ranges. Then it's off to traverse four miles of hills and valleys, through natural wildlife habitats, sustainably farmed vineyards, olive orchards, lakes, the cattle ranch, and the chef's garden. Finish up at the Winery Chateau with estate-crafted charcuterie and Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay wines. //1474 Alexander Valley Rd. (Healdsburg), jordanwinery.com
The by-reservation guided hikes at Alexander Valley Vineyards are hosted year-round (unless it's pouring rain), starting at 10:30am for strolls across the Healdsburg estate. Diverse trails stretch from the banks of the Russian River up onto the hillsides; you'll taste wines right where they're grown – primarily Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot, plus smatterings of Zinfandel, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Syrah. The $50 price tag includes a box lunch with eight sandwich choices (may we suggest the yummy Healdsburg Avenue of London broil, white cheddar, spring mix, mayo and horseradish). To drink: 2011 Cyrus, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot blend // 8644 Highway 128 (Healdsburg), avvwine.com
(Photo by Sarah Stierch, via Flickr)
This gracious, historic winery is surrounded by 400-acres of Bartholomew Memorial Park, and tastings include self-guided hiking excursions along three miles of gorgeous meadow-to-mountain trails. Stop in at the museum chronicling the history of grape-growing in Sonoma, then treat yourself to a picnic near a replica of pioneer winemaker Agoston Haraszthy's Palladian Villa, which was destroyed by fire around the turn of the century. To drink: 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, Estate Vineyard //1000 Vineyard Ln. (Sonoma), bartpark.com
Book your reservation now (the next hiking dates are June 25, July 24, October 1, and October 16) for this four-hour romp ($30) led by fourth-generation winegrower Jeff Kunde himself or Sonoma Valley docent and state/regional parks expert Bill Myers. Each host discusses the distinct ecosystems and native habitats across the 1,850-acre estate framed by the Mayacamas Mountains, and explains the vineyards as you sip wines right next to the grapes. If you reserve the extra-special Jeff Kunde hike ($60), you get a bonus: Kunde's dogs Cooper and Marley come along, there's a tasting and Wine Country lunch, and a portion of your fee is donated to Canine Companions and the Sonoma County Humane Society. To drink: 2013 Kunde Reserve Century Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma Valley // 9825 Sonoma Hwy. (Kenwood), kunde.com
(photo via Crimson Wine Group)
Got plans for September 10 or October 15? You do now. Fourth and fifth generation vineyard managers Jim and Ned Neumiller will take you on an adventure through 120 year-old-vines and up to the top of Rattlesnake Hill on the Home Ranch estate ($75). History is part of the experience on this century-old property specializing in old-vine Zinfandel and Italian varietals. Fuel up with wine tastings along the way, then reward your hard work with a wine-paired lunch at a scenic perch overlooking Alexander Valley. To drink: 2013 Rockpile Zinfandel // 24035 Chianti Rd. (Cloverdale), seghesio.com