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Sonoma, Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys Wine Tasting Tour

TOUR DESCRIPTION

Tour Length - 10 hours approximately

Guided (English) small-group tour by a wine enthusiast
Cave or barrel room tour
Tasting fees at four wineries
Stop at charming Healdsburg for lunch
Golden Gate Bridge photo stop (conditions permitting)
Convenient hotel pickups in San Francisco
Lunch
Guide gratuity: recommended
HIGHLIGHTS
MORE INFORMATION

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.

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TOUR ITINERARY

08:30 AM to 11:15 AM

  • Get a tasting refresher course from your wine-enthusiast guide
  • Enjoy a tour and tasting at a boutique winery in Alexander Valley

11:30 AM to 1:45 PM

  • Learn about the distinctive terroir of the Dry Creek Valley
  • Tour and taste at a family-owned Dry Creek winery
  • Enjoy a picnic lunch in charming Healdsburg (not included)

2:00 PM to 4:30 PM

  • Taste wines characteristic of the Russian River Valley
  • Cruise through the southern Sonoma coast
  • Enjoy a vineyard tour and tasting in the Petaluma Gap

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.

Important Information

Does this tour operate every day?

This tour operates on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, based on a minimum number of participants.

How long is the tour?

This tour takes about 10 hours.

Which wineries are we going to visit?

We visit four (4) wineries, each located in the AVAs of California Wine Region. Each winery stop ranges from 40-45 minutes. We’ve narrowed the list of winery stops to those that offer the best California Wine Country experience. We have preferred partner wineries that we like to visit but the wineries will vary depending on the day.

Are wine tasting included?

Yes, all wine tasting fees at the four (4) winery stops are included on this tour. If you want to join additional wine tasting, please feel free to do so.

What happens if I don’t have or forget to bring a valid ID? Is it still possible to participate in the wine tasting?

In the U.S. it is important to have a valid ID if you want to consume alcohol. If you forget to bring your valid ID, you will not be allowed for wine tasting.

Is this tour suitable for children?

We do not recommend anyone under 21 years old on this tour. Drinking alcohol is not permitted for those under the age of 21. Please bring a valid photo ID.

Do you offer this tour in different languages?

This tour is offered in English only. However, if required we can organize a private tour in several languages.

Do you pick up outside of San Francisco?

We only pick-up from hotels located in Downtown San Francisco including Union Square and Fisherman's Wharf.

Is this a guided tour?

Yes, the tour is guided with an English-speaking guide. There will also be time on your own during the stops.

What is the average temperature?

Wine Country weather varies depending on the season. Average temperature data is below.

SUMMER MONTHS (JUNE, JULY, AUGUST):
Average High temperature: 83°F / 28°C
Average Low temperature: 55°F / 13°C

WINTER MONTHS (DECEMBER, JANUARY, FEBRUARY):
Average High temperature: 58°F / 14°C
Average Low temperature: 40°F / 4°C

What should I wear?

Temperatures vary depending on the season and time of day in the Bay Area, so we recommend that you wear layered clothing in case of unexpectedly climbing or falling temperatures. We do not recommend wearing shorts or sleeveless shirts in the winter. However, we realize that everyone is acclimated to different weather and thus trust you to make your own judgement. For footwear, we recommend comfortable walking shoes, such as regular tennis shoes, sneakers, or boots with rubber soles and treads. In the summer months, hiking sandals can be worn on the tour, but high heels, beach flip-flops, and other open-toed shoes are not recommended.

What should I bring?

Valid Government-Issued ID
Extra spending money for meals, snacks, souvenirs etc
A light jacket (easily removable) in case of wind
Camera
Water bottle
Warm clothes and a waterproof jacket (during the winter months)
Hat and sunscreen (during the summer months)
Sturdy umbrella (if the forecast calls for rain)

Are meals included? Can I buy or bring my own?

Meals are not included on this tour. We will make a stop for about an hour where you can purchase lunch. Eating and drinking are allowed on our vehicles, and you can also bring your own food if you do not feel comfortable purchasing it on the trip.

How accurate are the times on the itinerary?

Times listed are approximates only. Traffic and other unforeseen issues can cause delays or changes in these times, which are out of our control. Please do not make flight/travel arrangements on the same day as your tour. Extranomical Tours is not responsible for and will not be providing any compensation for missed flights or appointments.

How will we recognize the vehicle?

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.

Are there restrooms on board the vehicles?

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.

Do I need to call to reconfirm my tour?

Yes, we request that you reach out to us at least a day in advance to confirm your tour and pick up details. You can contact us via our live chat function or by calling our office at 1-866-231-3752 (toll free from the USA) or +1-415-357-0700 (internationally) during office hours. You can call us from your hotel’s phone if you do not have a working mobile phone while you are in the area.

Can I bring a suitcase or large item?

We ask that you do not bring anything on tour larger than 22”x14”x9”, or 56cmx36cmx23cm.

Can I bring a wheelchair?

We do have wheelchair-capable vehicles available – subject to availability. Please notify us at time of booking if you are bringing a wheelchair on the tour so that we can make the appropriate arrangements. Please note that due to limitations we are unable to guarantee an ADA vehicle.

Do you have a lost and found?

Yes, items left in the vehicle are stored in a lost and found area for 30 days. If you left something on one of our tours, please give us a call office at 1-866-231-3752 (toll free from the USA) or 1-415-357-0700 to see if it has been found. Once you have confirmed with us that your item has been found by our staff and you are still in town, you can come by our office to pick up your item. Otherwise, we will ship almost any item to any destination within the U.S. for a flat fee of $25. Extranomical Tours is not responsible for lost or stolen items

Sonoma, Russian River, Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys Wine Tasting Tour

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