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Napa and Sonoma Travel Guide

Napa and Sonoma Top Experiences

Want to learn more about Napa and Sonoma? Read our in-depth articles on a variety of topics.

Highlights

A Great Southern Napa Drive

Traffic permitting, you could easily traverse the entire Napa Valley in about 45 minutes, passing scores of wineries along Highway 29. Many...

Highlights

Napa Valley Bicycle Tour

Thanks to the scenic country roads winding through the region, bicycling is a nearly perfect way to get around the Wine Country (the lack of...

Highlights

Napa Valley Balloon Rides

Thought those vineyards were beautiful from the highway? Try viewing them from an altitude of about a thousand feet, serenely drifting along...

Highlights

Wine Tasting

Hall, Rutherford or St. Helena. Two choices: a quiet brick-lined cave at a hillside retreat or (after its opening in late 2013) a flashy glass...

Highlights

Jack London Country

The rugged, rakish author and adventurer Jack London is perhaps best known for his travels to Alaska and his exploits in the Pacific, which...

Highlights

Sonoma Valley Driving Tour

It's easy to zip through the Sonoma Valley in a day—the drive from Sonoma at the south end to Kenwood to the north can be done in half an hour...

Highlights

Napa Valley Driving Tour

Decadent Dean & DeLuca in St. Helena opens early, making it a fine starting point for a day of exploring the northern Napa Valley. Purchase...

Highlights

A Great Drive in Carneros

Starting in the western Carneros on Highway 37, head north along Highway 121, also known as the Carneros Highway. Stop at Ram's Gate Winery...

Highlights

Russian River Valley AVA

As the Russian River winds its way from Mendocino to the Pacific Ocean, it carves out a valley that's a near-perfect environment for growing...

Highlights

Sonoma Crush Camp

The harvest in late summer and early fall is a prime time to connect with the beauty of sprawling Sonoma County, the rhythms of agricultural...

Highlights

Alexander Valley AVA

The lovely Alexander Valley, one of Sonoma's least-visited regions, extends northeast of Healdsburg through Geyserville all the way to Mendocino...

Highlights

A Great Drive in Northern Sonoma County

Dabble in three AVAs in one day on a scenic drive that begins in downtown Healdsburg. Break your fast at Flying Goat Coffee or Downtown Bakery...

Highlights

Wine Tasting

Joseph Phelps Freestone Vineyards Guest Center, Freestone. A tasting here provides a splendid introduction to the cool Sonoma Coast and the...

Highlights

Dry Creek Valley

If you drive north along Healdsburg Avenue and turn left onto Dry Creek Road, you'll soon feel like you've slipped back in time. Healdsburg...

Highlights

Artesa Vineyards & Winery

The modern, minimalist layout of Artesa blends harmoniously with the surrounding landscape, yet this Napa winery makes a vivid impression with...

Highlights

Wine-making Pioneer

Count Agoston Haraszthy arrived in Sonoma in 1857 and set out to make fine wine commercially. He planted European vinifera varietals rather...

Highlights

Napa and Sonoma Winery Tours

Some wineries in Napa and Sonoma have opulent faux châteaus with vast gift shops; others welcome guests with rough converted barns where you...

Highlights

Money-Saving Tips

Those $20 tasting fees can add up awfully quickly if you're not careful, so consider the following tips for whittling down your wine-tasting...

Highlights

Wine Tasting 101

Don't be intimidated by sommeliers who toss around esoteric adjectives as they swirl their glasses. At its core, wine tasting is simply about...

Highlights

Movies

Bottle Shock (2008). Filmed primarily in the Napa and Sonoma valleys, this lighthearted, fictionalized feature about the 1976 Paris tasting...

Highlights

Napa and Sonoma with Kids

By its very nature, the Wine Country isn't a particularly child-friendly destination. Don't expect to see many children or to find tons of activities...

Highlights

Benziger Winery

It's best to visit Benziger in fine weather so that you can enjoy a tram ride through the vineyards before tasting wines—most notably the Chardonnays...

Highlights

Buying and Shipping Wine

Don't feel obliged to buy a bottle of wine just because the winery has given you a taste, especially if you have paid a tasting fee. Still,...

Highlights

The French Connection

Sparkling wines were perfected in Champagne, France's northernmost wine district, where wines tend to be a bit acidic because grapes do not...

Highlights

Grape Growing: The Basics

Most kinds of wine grapes are touchy. If the weather is too hot, they can produce too much sugar and not enough acid, resulting in overly alcoholic...

Highlights

It's All on the Label

If you look beyond the photograph of a weathered château or the quirky drawing of a cartoon creature, a wine's label will tell you a lot about...

Highlights

The Crush

The process of turning grapes into wine generally starts at the crush pad, where the grapes are brought in from the vineyards. Good winemakers...

Highlights

Top California Grape Varietals

Several dozen grape varietals are grown in the Wine Country, from favorites like Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon to less familiar types like...

Highlights

Napa and Sonoma Cuisine

The concept "eat local, think global" may just be catching on elsewhere in the nation, but it's established doctrine in the Wine Country, home...

Sights

Wine Tasting

Anaba Wines, Sonoma: This boutique winery's stalwarts are the Burgundian varietals (Chardonnay and Pinot Noir) that made the Carneros famous...

Sights

Wine Tasting

Deerfield Ranch Winery, Kenwood. You have to walk deep into the underground caves here to find the tasting room, where you'll sip "clean" red...

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