Wine enthusiasts already know of Sonoma County’s famed wineries and 18 distinct wine-growing areas. Sonoma County is one of the most diverse wine regions in the world. It claims to being the birthplace of California’s modern wine industry with the state’s oldest commercial winery (Buena Vista) and the oldest, continuously operating family winery (Gundlach-Bundschu).
This authentic Wine Country offers more than wine. Only six percent of the county is planted to vineyard. The rugged mountains of western Sonoma County, where the Russian River flows past redwood-topped ridges, stand over the 80 kilometers/50 miles of Pacific Ocean coastline, offer stunning views along California’s famed Highway 1. Coastal towns like Bodega Bay entice seafood lovers with the bounty from the ocean, with Dungeness crab sold from the back of boats and salmon and cod appearing on local menus.
Further inland, Guerneville serves as both the West Coast’s “favorite gay and lesbian playground” and the entry point to the famed Armstrong Redwoods, a stand of old-growth redwoods where it is possible to get far from the madding crowds and enjoy the ancient giants in solitude.
Quirky small towns typify west Sonoma County, with the “Bohemian Connection” encompassing bastions of freethinkers in Occidental, Freestone and Monte Rio. Excellent inns, small wineries, artisan foods and even a spa that has gone “green” are to be found along the Bohemian Highway.
Ranching and organic farms and orchards give way to orderly rows of grapevines and the cities and towns of Santa Rosa, Sebastopol, Healdsburg, Sonoma, Cloverdale, Glen Ellen, Boyes Hot Springs, Kenwood and more. Michelin-rated restaurants, fine hotels, fun Bed & Breakfasts, unique inns, quiet spas, and even an African-style tent safari are the order of the day.
Just 65 kilometers/40 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge, the city of Petaluma invites visitors to explore the southern portions of Sonoma County with river-front access to the historic downtown, lined with shops, restaurants and nightlife.
Sonoma County is noted as having more artists per capita than anywhere else in California, and the profusion of galleries, studios and world-class performance venues bear this out. The Green Music Center, located on the Sonoma State University campus, is the newest addition to the Sonoma County arts scene, and the acoustic perfection of the Weill Concert Hall is already drawing favorable comparisons with Tanglewood.
At the extreme southern end of Sonoma County, the San Pablo Wildlife Refuge offers expansive views of the marshes and wetlands that drain into the San Pablo Bay and to the San Francisco Bay.
Of course, Sonoma County isn’t all wine and wildlife, as the furious racing action at Sonoma Raceway shows. NASCAR, Indy-Car, and motorcycle racing are big draws as some of the biggest names come to compete on a road track with 11 challenging turns. Those wanting to experience racing on a more personal level can suit up and jump in a real race car at a driving school at the track.
Sonoma County offers direct air service at the airport named after long-time Santa Rosa resident Charles M. Schulz (creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip). Direct flights include: Alaska Airlines, to and from Los Angeles (LAX), Orange County (SNA), Portland (PDX), Seattle (SEA), and San Diego (SAN); American Airlines / Sky West, Phoenix-Sky Harbor (PHX); United Airlines, San Francisco (SFO); and Sun Country Airlines (seasonal, June 29-Aug. 27, 2018), Minneapolis / St. Paul (MSP) and (seasonal, Aug. 30-Dec. 2, 2018), Las Vegas (LAS). Sonoma County is also about 60 minutes from the San Francisco and Oakland international airports, and 90 minutes to Sacramento International Airport.
Find your passion in Sonoma County, located only 30 miles/48 kilometers north of San Francisco, and featuring more than 400 wineries, 100-plus organic farms, and 50 miles/80 kilometers of stunning Pacific coast.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call +1-707-522-5800.