As a San Francisco resident, I’m lucky enough to live within driving distance of many incredible wine-growing regions. But when I want to spend a day (or even weekend) tasting wine among the vines, more often than not I head to Sonoma County’s wine country. The 1,575-square-mile county is home to world-renowned wine and Michelin-starred restaurants, yet its laid-back vibe is perfect for ambling along a dirt road flanked by farms or cruising down a windy, redwood-lined highway as you drive to your next tasting.
Compared to neighboring Napa Valley, Sonoma wine country is varied, expansive, and spread out, with 18 distinct AVAs and dozens of detour-worthy small towns (including Healdsburg, Sebastopol, Guerneville, Glen Ellen, and Sonoma) within its bounds. This range is part of the fun: At a single winery, you might sample a pinot noir grown along the region’s foggy coast, followed by a robust zinfandel from further inland. But it also means you’ll want to pay attention to location if you plan to schedule more than one tasting—which we highly recommend you do.
Whether you want to taste some of the region’s best wines guided by an experienced sommelier or simply open a bottle and picnic among the vineyards, these are 20 of our favorite places to drink wine in Sonoma County.
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