Spending the day tasting wines in Sonoma is quite different and a bit more difficult than visiting wineries in Napa. In Napa the wineries are conveniently found along Rt 29 and the Silverado trail. In Sonoma the wineries are found in regions that are more like separate small pockets from Schelville to Geyerville. Along the way you find wineries in the many areas of Sonoma County including Glen Ellen, Kenwood, Santa Rosa and Healdsburg, just to name a few. There are numerous wine regions such as Carneros, Russian River Valley and Dry Creek. Driving along the highways of Sonoma you will see advertisements for wineries and the occasional "Tasting Today" sign but driving through Sonoma you leave wine tasting to chance if you don't do at least a little research in advance. Preferably, do a search of the grapes you enjoy most. If you are a fan of Pinot Noir you will probably want to visit Russian River Valley as that area is well recognized for having the perfect weather for growing Pinot Noir. If you love Zinfandel check out Dry Creek. Map out the wineries you want to visit, and make sure you aren't spending too much time tasting as the distance between wineries in Sonoma County can be lengthy. In Sonoma County a little planning goes a long way to making sure you make the most of your day in the wine country. Happy Tasting!
Napa is made up of two main roads, Rt 29 and the Silverado Trail, and a series of cross roads connecting the two highways. There are wineries all along the two main roads as well as the cross roads. You can't throw a stone without hitting a winery in Napa. Therefore, many people head to Napa without a plan ... and that kinda works ... kinda. You will drive by countless wineries with a sign at the driveway that says "Tasting 10-4". You will also drive by wineries that are gated or have a sign that says, "By Appointment Only". No plan ... no problem. There will be plenty of "stop in" wineries and you won't miss out on wine tasting. But ... you may miss out on some of the more special wineries. Wineries that are off the beaten path and not directly visible from the highway. If you have the time ... or make the time ... spend some time planning your trip. It's easy find wineries like Robert Mondavi or Beringer Vineyards, but it's going to take a little effort to find wineries like Prager Port or Andretti ... and they are well worth the effort. One fun way to get ideas is to ask other wineries. If you call a winery to make an appointment ask that person what wineries they like ... and then research the names they give you to see if it is to your liking. If you want our help, feel free to send us an information request. We are happy to provide you with no-cost feedback on any winery in the valley that we have visited, and we have visited a lot! Happy Tasting!