Sonoma Valley Wine Country
Sonoma Valley is a year-round destination for wine enthusiasts, foodies, outdoor adventurists, event and movies buffs, shopaholics, and even for cheese and beer lovers. Join us on a private custom tour to Sonoma Valley Wine Country to enjoy its serene vistas of rolling hills and vineyards, intimate family-run tasting rooms, lush farmlands, charming shops, and fine restaurants.
Sonoma Valley is home to California’s first wineries and is a top travel destination for wine connoisseurs and curious wine lovers. It is historically significant for being the birthplace of the Statehood of California in 1846 and, more recently, the city of Sonoma gained the added distinction of being named by Condé Nast Traveler Magazine as one of the top ten friendliest cities in America, receiving praise for its laid-back style, down-to-earth people, and amazing wines.
Sonoma Valley brings you to a range of wineries guaranteed to satisfy your palate. You may choose to do a wine tour and tasting at a winery – see first-hand the process of winemaking from grape to bottle, enjoy a food and wine pairing option, reserve a tasting experience in a wine cave or visit a large chateau-style winery style offering elegant wines and tasting experience. There are still small hidden wineries in Sonoma Valley where you may have the opportunity to meet the winemakers. Homewood winery is one of the smallest located in Carneros.
If you wish to learn more, you may for example consider visiting Benziger, an estate winery in the charming town of Glen Ellen. There, you can take a tram tour around their biodynamic and scenic vineyards, visit their wine cave, and end your tour in the tasting room where you will be served a selection of their carefully crafted wines.
If you are looking for an outstanding culinary experience with a wine and food pairing, we highly recommend St. Francis Winery in Sonoma Valley, whose restaurant was recently named no. 1 Diners’ Choice by Open Table reviewers.
Sonoma Plaza: For lunch , you may choose to dine or picnic in Kenwood or Glen Ellen, or you may wish to spend more time in the bustling town of Sonoma with its historic Plaza, City Hall, Sonoma Mission, and former army barracks. The town offers an amazing array of local and international restaurants including French, Italian, Portuguese, Californian, Mexican, Basque, Irish and much more. Plus, there are approximately 18 wine tasting rooms around the Plaza. Please note that we do not work on commission – these are simply suggestions. You may choose your own wineries or restaurants, and we will take care of the rest.
Historic Sonoma Plaza
Sonoma plaza is the perfect mix of a rich historical tradition and modern sophistication. Located in the center of one of the most elegant wine-growing regions in the world, the city of Sonoma’s historic town square manages to have retained its small-town personality in the middle of a burgeoning wine empire. Complete with spas, upscale eateries, a relaxing open-air plaza, and a California mission, this town focal point is a true testament to the blend of old times and modernity that characterizes the entirety of the Sonoma Valley.
The plaza has a rich history and was involved in much of the state of California’s development. Though the square is now the formal town square of the city of Sonoma, the region has humble beginnings in the form of several Native American settlements. The Miwok, Pomo and Wintun people all occupied the area, taking advantage of the same fertile soil and good weather now adored by wine connoisseurs throughout the world. However, the town, directly adjacent to where the town square now stands, soon became known as “El Pueblo de Sonoma” after the settling of the spot by Mexican church leader Father Joseph Altimira. The Mission San Francisco Solano was built but promptly taken over by the Mexican army, prompting the creation of a military barracks (that still stands facing the modern town square today) and the basic layout of the town square itself. The commanding officer Guadalupe Vallejo spearheaded this construction, crafting the town much as would be a traditional Mexican village: with a large town square at its center. However, Vallejo’s military presence here did not last forever.
In 1846, revolutionaries calling themselves members of the “Bear Flag Republic” took power from the mighty Vallejo in a coup at the center of this historic town square. The individuals represented Colonel John Fremont and ordered that they were officially declaring the independence of California from Mexican rule. Their tactic worked, and the short-lived Bear Flag Republic was headquartered at this square until earning statehood in 1850.
Many of the historical buildings from this tempestuous period in California’s history (the last half of the 19th century) still stand in the town square today. In one corner of the plaza, El Presidio del Sonoma, or the military barracks that General Vallejo’s troops first occupied, are a California State Landmark and can be toured year-round. In the center of the town square, whose wide greens are the largest in the entire state, still stands Sonoma City Hall, part of which still contains the remnants of General Vallejo’s grand Casa Grande, the large house he occupied during his reign over the territory. Mission San Francisco Solano also still stands as the farthest north of all missions, and its gardens can also be toured. Be sure not to miss taking note of the typical adobe-style construction, a common feature of all missions throughout California. Another typical adobe-style building (characterized by long, horizontal, one-story, white mortar and wood beam construction) that lies across from the mission was once the Blue Wing Inn, a gambling house and saloon during the region’s heyday during the California Gold Rush, when prospectors came west in search for ever-elusive gold. However, the town square is not purely a historical destination.
Many elegant restaurants and spas line its exterior, and a playground makes the lush square kid friendly. Additionally, many wine brokers are also present on the town square offering some of Sonoma’s best wines old and new. Due to the abundance of wineries in the area, you can count on the store for a huge selection and the staff for having lots of knowledge about their product. Make sure to find a souvenir!
There are so many ways to enjoy this blend of past and present, be sure not to miss it while visiting the wine country!