All these years into my career in Sonoma County hospitality, I’m amazed every winter that we aren’t just overrun with visitors. While every season here has its own charm there’s just something really special about winter in Sonoma Wine Country. I know that in many parts of the country and the world, winter is just a series of cold, gray days that have to be endured until spring. Not here! While it can be chilly- we average around 55 degrees during the day December-March, and it is cooler overnight and into the morning- most days are absolutely lovely- crisp, clear and sparkling. The tasting rooms and restaurants tend to be quieter and the menus embrace heartier, comforting fare.
While it’s wonderful to curl up by a roaring fire, in a beautiful Farmhouse room, a wine tasting room or a cozy bistro, there are so many things to see and do, that you may find yourself unable to stay put for long. So, pack layers, and grab your sunglasses and come visit this winter!
If you have a couple of days for a December escape, this is the perfect place for all of your holiday shopping. Post-Thanksgiving, holiday events, tree lightings and fairs pop up all over Sonoma County. Wineries host open houses, restaurants offer special menus, you can make gingerbread houses, decorate cookies, shop for locally made foods, beautiful clothing, housewares and of course wine! Each of our towns has its own personal take on the season; from glamourous to home-spun chic, each is worth a visit. Sonoma County Tourism provides a comprehensive calendar, but feel free to reach out to our concierge team. They are dialed in!
Come January, the holidays are over, life gets back to normal, the vines are dormant and the wild mustard starts to go crazy and keeps blooming through March. A drive through Wine Country is scenic any time of year, but when the vineyards are a sea of golden yellow as far as the eye can see, it’s spectacular. It makes for quite the photo opp. Waist deep in bright blooms, with the almost sculptural vines behind, it’s worth a quick stop (remember #farmhouseinn). It’s such a special time that for many years Napa hosted a whole festival to celebrate!
Two of Northern Sonoma County’s best loved events occur in January and March. Winter Wineland and Barrel Tasting. Both are weekend events, and both offer opportunities to get out to wineries that you love or those that maybe you’ve never tried. Each winery offers something different, from vertical tastings, to those focused on a single varietal, to food and wine pairings. A detailed description of each wineries’ offerings will be available mid-December. Barrel Tasting is my personal favorite event. While it’s not a food and wine pairing event (back in my winery days, I was the first winery to offer food. I was SO popular!) some wineries do offer food. The really great thing though is getting to taste wine from the barrel, often with the winemaker. Most wineries sell “futures”. Meaning you purchase the wine now and pick it up in a year or so when it’s bottled. Often discounts are offered, and sometimes the wines are so limited it’s the only way to get them. I used to love our futures pick up parties. Not all wineries throw them, but the ones that do take it seriously!
I can’t say enough about winter around here. I don’t want to miss the nature part. Wineries, restaurants and shopping aside, hiking or picnicking on the Sonoma Coast or in the redwoods and cycling the backroads are stellar options too. So, pick up the phone, give us a call and let us help you put together a winter escape Sonoma-style.