Napa and Sonoma Experiences

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Napa and Sonoma Features

  • Top Napa Wineries

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

  • Top Sonoma Wineries

    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... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • 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 might... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • 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, many... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • How Wine Is Made

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

  • Best Bets for Carneros District Wineries

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

  • 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... Read more

  • 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 always... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • 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 to... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • Best Books and Films

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

  • Best Bets for Napa Valley Wineries

    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-walled... Read more

  • Best Bets for Sonoma Valley Wineries

    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 wines... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • Best Bets for Northern Sonoma County Wineries

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

  • 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 for an... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • 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 your... Read more

  • 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 certain... Read more

  • 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 life,... Read more

  • 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 with... Read more

  • 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 than... Read more

  • 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 he... Read more

  • 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 looks... Read more

  • 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... Read more

  • 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 & Creamery,... Read more

  • 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... Read more

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