Tour Length - 10 hours approximately
On this one-day California wine country tour, you’ll visit celebrated and award-winning wine makers in four distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). You’ll go off the beaten path into the benchlands and ridgelines of Sonoma County to discover vintages you will treasure.
Alexander Valley: King of Cabs. The breathtaking Mayacama Mountains loom above the Alexander Valley AVA. Cabernet Sauvignon grapes thrive on its rolling hillsides of volcanic, calcium, sand, and clay soils. Up its mountain ridges, stressed soil conditions and cool Pacific breezes extend the growing season, producing grapes with added color, flavor, and complexity.
At our first winery, you will taste this sublime marriage of Alexander Valley’s soil and climate. You'll learn the benefits of barrel-aging at a steady temperature and humidity. You'll also learn about sustainable aging in naturally cooled caves that enhances the flavor of the wine in French Oak barrels.
Dry Creek perfection. Next, we’ll head over to the small 16-by-2-mile AVA of Dry Creek. The soil is a gravelly clay loam that is perfect for grape-growing. Relatively low precipitation makes it difficult for vines to establish their roots, a condition that makes for award winning Zinfandel, the region’s signature varietal.
At our stop in Dry Creek, you will enjoy a wine flight featuring releases from a single-vineyard collection. The tasting takes place alongside aging barrels in a wine cave tucked under 100-year-old Zinfandel vines. There, you’ll learn how the winemaker uses the gifts of the AVA to make “wines of place”.
Scenic Russian River Valley. The Russian River Valley AVA, in the heart of Sonoma County, is blessed with a climate remarkedly like the Bordeaux region in France. Warm days and evening coastal cooling enable grapes to mature slowly and retain their acidity, a good reason why this AVA is widely regarded as Pinot Noir country.
To fully experience this valley, your small-group wine tour will visit a small family-owned winery outside the idyllic town of Healdsburg. You’ll not just taste their Pinots but learn how the natural characteristics of the region’s soil and climate are accentuated by the winemaker.
Surprising Petaluma Gap. The Petaluma Gap AVA is on the wild, wind-swept Pacific coast not far from the northern span of the Golden Gate bridge. Ridges created by the heavy winds coax a harvest of Chardonnay grapes with mature, dry flavors and aromas.
Our final stop of the day in Sonoma wine country will be at a vineyard estate located at the heart of Sonoma’s Petaluma Gap. There, you’ll sample wines produced from fruit grown on the property. Learn about the sustainable, gravity flow methods employed by this winery to create its elegant and balanced wines.
As the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean, we’ll make one last stop before returning your hotel—underneath the iron Northern span of the Golden Gate Bridge. Take this memory home with you!
Exact destinations and itinerary may differ due to weather, road conditions, and the guide’s discretion.
08:30 AM to 11:15 AM
11:30 AM to 1:45 PM
2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
4:30 PM to 6:00 PM
*For international guests, please be aware that the legal drinking age in the United States is 21 years of age.
Around 15-20 people
We run our tour every Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday
Our vehicles at this time do not have any restroom facilities. We do, however, make several stops throughout the tours and there will be opportunities for you to use the restroom.
As we have several different vehicles, we don’t know until the morning of your tour which vehicle will be hosting your tour as well as the name of your Expedition Leader. Please feel free to call us in the morning of your tour if you like. Regardless of which vehicle will come to your location, it should say “Extranomical Tours” on it.