Sonoma County enchants visitors with rolling hills, green pastures, coastal hideaways, charming historic towns, and of course, plenty of wineries and wine-tasting rooms. Beyond winery tours and tastings, some vineyards host hikes and adventures, which are the perfect way to further explore the terroir. Each winery is unique and so is the experience they offer, but what they all have in common is wine, food, fresh air, and a fabulous time.
JORDAN VINEYARD AND WINERY
Jordan Winery recently launched their hiking program with two annual hikes and plans to expand over time. Their hike is a grand experience, as is everything else they do. The estate, which is more than 1,000 acres, offers a variety of different environments and features. You’ll take a leisurely and moderately strenuous 3-mile hike around the property, passing by a lake, mountains, meadows, orchards, and plenty of vineyards, of course. It all begins with a ride from the winery up to the highest spot on the property where you can take in the views and have a bite before heading onto the guided walk. There’s a stop for estate olive oil tasting and it concludes at the chateau with a lavish picnic with house made charcuterie, breads, crackers, local cheeses, and a selection of chardonnay and cabernet. Dates and tickets for upcoming hikes are available online.
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KUNDE ESTATE WINERY & VINEYARDS
Picturesque Kunde offers two different hiking programs: one where you bring your own sack lunch and another, specifically for dog lovers, that includes lunch. The annual Dog Hike is a fundraiser for both Canine Companions and the local Sonoma County Humane Society. It’s BYOD (bring your own dog) and you’ll join fourth-generation winemaker Jeff Kunde and his wife, Roberta, along with their dogs for a hike through the Kunde family vineyards. The hike follows the Sonoma Valley floor through oak woodlands, native grasslands, and chaparral. Along the way, you’ll learn about the winery’s sustainable growing and winemaking practices. It’s a moderately strenuous hike of approximately 4 hours, and concludes with a wine tasting and wine-country lunch.
SEGHESIO FAMILY VINEYARDS
Hike the Home Ranch at Seghesio Family Vineyards with Jim and Ned Neumiller, who are fourth- and fifth-generation vineyard managers. The tour takes you through the Home Ranch estate, which dates back to 1895, and up to take in the panoramic views from Rattlesnake Hill. The winery specializes in zinfandel and Italian varietals such as Vermentino, Sangiovese, and Barbera. You’ll enjoy the wines along with a lunch of gourmet sandwiches from a local bakery, salads, and a cookie. The 3-hour experience takes place once in the spring and again in the fall.
ALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS
For an exploration of Alexander Valley, you might as well start at the source. Family-owned Alexander Valley Vineyards is named for Cyrus Alexander, who settled on the historic site in the 1840s. Today the vineyards go from the banks of the Russian River to the Mayacamas hillsides. The Vineyard Hike on the Wetzel Family Estate is an easy walking tour, but there are hills and dirt trails. You’ll explore the vineyards and the working winery, the original 1868 Alexander Valley school, and the Alexander homestead. After the hike, you’ll taste wine straight from the barrel in the wine cave, and the experience ends on the winery deck with a picnic. There are eight gourmet sandwiches to choose from, served with salads and a cookie or brownie. The hike takes place year-round, weather permitting.
GARY FARRELL WINERY, DAVERO ESTATE, AND LANCASTER ESTATE
While more of a walk than a hike, three wineries have partnered up to offer a three-part adventure that allows you to discover three different Sonoma valleys—Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley. The experience takes all day and begins with an in-depth tasting of single-vineyard chardonnays and pinot noirs from vineyards in the Russian River Valley at Gary Farrell Winery. Local salumi, cheeses, dried fruit, and nuts are paired with the wine.
Next, DaVero estate in Dry Creek is where you’ll stretch your legs. DaVero started as an olive oil producer and currently has two biodynamic farms across the street from each other as well as a vineyard. The tour brings you from the winery to the home farm, where the owners live. You’ll head through the olive groves, the estate vineyard, the farm, and back to the winery on walking trails through both flower and vegetable gardens. After touring, there’s a focused tasting of estate wines and olive oils along with a catered picnic lunch. Depending on the season, it will include farm produce with nibbles from the farm.
The journey concludes at Lancaster Estate in Alexander Valley for a tour of the vineyards and winery before a cabernet sauvignon tasting in a hillside cave. Reservations can be made through any of the wineries.
PLAN YOUR TRIP: Visit Fodor’s Sonoma Guide