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Sonoma Wine Tours from San Francisco
Winery Tour Stops
Not every tour is the same. Many factors go into deciding which of the hundreds of wineries to choose from on a given day. In our many years of experience, we have put together a list of wineries that ranges from the very large to the very small, from the brand new to famous labels. In California, the “Wine Country” is almost everywhere, and there are great wines produced from areas that are just too far away for most of our tours. We have come up with a list of wineries that are close enough, make great wine, present their wine well, and have other features, such scenery or history that make them interesting. Our list of wineries is growing as we broaden our research, or staffing or policy changes bring them into the fold. Here is our list of wineries that we have found to be compatible with our criteria. We won’t visit all of these on your tour - this is just a list of possibilities.
View a list of California Wineries that are possible stops on our various tours.
The Golden Gate Bridge
On our way to Wine Country, we cross one of the most famous bridges in the world, the Golden Gate Bridge. We have found a vista point that is a hard for the big busses to get to, and gives you one of the best views of the Golden Gate Bridge and the City by the Bay.
Sonoma County and Valley
Sonoma County is one of California's premier wine-making regions, yet it has remained relatively untouched by tourists compared to its more popular neighbor, Napa Valley (only 5-10 miles east). It is said that Sonoma Valley gets its name from the Miwok Native American Indians. The Miwok named it the valley of "many moons" - while walking through the Sonoma Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains, the moon was said to rise seven times. In the 1850’s, it was Sonoma Valley residents who solved the imported vine disease problem by widely adopting the practice of grafting onto native (resistant) root stock. Hungarian immigrant Agoston Haraszthy basically invented large scale, industrial wine-making, and Sonoma became the epicenter for a huge new wine industry and therefore became a popular tourist destination for locals from San Francisco and visitors from around the world.
Its currently more famous neighbor, Napa Valley, remained the “outback” for about 50 years. Both valleys became “ghost towns” after the Great Earthquake of 1906, followed by Prohibition (of alcohol!) from 1919 to 1933. You could say the Great Depression continued well into the 1970’s for this part of the world (see Napa Valley). Declared National Historic Landmarks, the downtown Sonoma Plaza and the San Francisco Solano de Sonoma Mission (1823) are at the heart of this renowned wine producing region. Sonoma Valley is located in the much larger Sonoma County, which also includes the equally renowned Healdsburg region, the Alexander Valley, Russian River, and other well-known Appellations.
Sonoma Barracks or Presidio
Initially constructed in 1834 as a Mexican outpost established to protect Mexico’s frontier from the Russians who moving down the coast from the North. It was overtaken by American frontiersmen in 1846 in anticipation of the Mexican-American War, and the village of Sonoma briefly became the capital of the “Republic of California” in the “Bear Flag Revolt”. The most lasting effect of the revolt was the design of a flag, as the U.S. Army arrived and dissolved the “Republic”. History took a sharp turn again with the discovery of gold in 1848, and the hordes of fortune hunters who soon overran the new Territory from Sonoma to Monterey and eastward to the Sierras. The newly enlarged population soon petitioned for Statehood and they adopted the Bear Flag for the new state and declared Sacramento as the Capital, but designated Sonoma the more sentimental “birthplace” of California.
Sonoma Wine Tours