Summer visitors to Sonoma County can savor the flavors and experiences of this genuine Wine Country destination.
In addition to wine tasting and farm-to-table culinary delights, Sonoma County's summer activities and events include zip-line canopy tours, farm visits, community celebrations, abundant farmers markets, hiking, cycling, paddling, splashing, and more. Families will love the more affordable Sonoma hotels and kid-friendly activities.
Below is a sampling of Sonoma County’s diverse summer happenings. Each are subject to change. Check our calendar of events for dates and times.
Sipping in the Russian River Valley
The annual Russian River Valley Experience weekend at the end of June showcases the wineries, vineyards, and exceptional beauty of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley. With the purchase of a weekend ticket ($65 per person), you can meet winemakers and vineyard owners while exploring five convenient neighborhood “hubs,” where eight or more wineries will gather to pour and talk about their wines. Each “hub” features different foods, and offers something special, such as music, art, or a seminar. The weekend begins with Friday night’s Somm Challenge Dinner ($250 per person), where three highly regarded sommeliers will be vying for your vote, by pairing wines with the four-course meal prepared by local celebrity chefs. More details are available from the Russian River Valley Winegrowers.
Celebrate the Fourth
From small-town parades and festivals, to concerts of all types, to fantastic fireworks that light up the night sky, Sonoma County celebrates the Fourth of July in grand style. Many communities host all-day celebrations. For details, read Fourth of July Fireworks and Fun Events in Sonoma County.
Zip Through the Redwoods
Sonoma Canopy Tours offers the unique experience of zip-lining through the world-famous California Coastal Redwoods in western Sonoma County. Guests enjoy a two-and-a-half hour guided eco-tour that includes seven zip lines, two sky bridges, a spiral staircase, and an 80-foot rappel. Sonoma Canopy Tours, 6250 Bohemian Highway, Occidental, 888-494-7868.
Explore Seasonal Farmers Markets
With fresh-picked produce, live music, baked goods, prepared foods, artisan handicrafts, and a general atmosphere of good cheer, the best that Sonoma County has to offer goes on display at its summertime farmers markets. Each community hosts its own weekly market, and some hold more than one a week, giving visitors to Sonoma County about 20 farmers markets to choose from. On Wednesday evenings thousands of people gather in downtown Santa Rosa for the Santa Rosa Original Certified Farmers Market, the oldest and largest farmers market in Sonoma County. And each Friday the Cloverdale Farmers Market pulses to a jazzy beat thanks to Friday Night Live concerts sponsored by the Cloverdale Arts Alliance. Those are just two of the possibilities; check the 2016 market schedule for a complete list.
Get a free map from the nonprofit Sonoma County Farm Trails and explore some of Sonoma County's agricultural bounty, including cattle, sheep, pumpkins, honey, apples, melons, fields of lavender, olive oil, and more. For example, pet baby cows at McClelland’s Dairy in Petaluma, with 90-minute weekend farm tours scheduled throughout the summer. Experience "sustainable living from the inside-out" in the two-hour farm-life tours at Full House Farm in Sebastopol. Or search by region or type of farm, to create the farm tour that's best for you. Sonoma County Farm Trails, 707-837-8896.
Follow the Cheese Trail
Sonoma County produces some of America's finest cheeses, and the Sonoma Marin Cheese Trail map lets you visit the area's artisan cheese makers. Depending on the property, you can reserve full tours, taste cheeses, take a cheese-making class, or visit with the farm's goats, cows, sheep, or even water buffalo. The map provides an overview of each cheese maker, the history behind the cheese, fun facts, and details on where to buy these cheeses. The guide is available free of charge at local visitor centers and can also be downloaded at www.cheesetrail.org.
Celebrate Sonoma Wine Country Weekend
Every Labor Day weekend, wine enthusiasts from around the world join with Sonoma County's grape growers, winemakers, and chefs to celebrate this region's glorious abundance at the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend. This highly-anticipated weekend combines the elegance, sophistication, and style of Friday night's Starlight Event with the festivity, frivolity, and fundraising of the Sonoma Valley Harvest Wine Auction on Sunday. In addition to these flagship events, more than 200 world-class wineries and chefs showcase their talents at stylish winemaker lunches and dinners throughout the weekend. Ticket prices vary. Read more about the Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, or call 800-939-7666.
And these are just a few of Sonoma County's summertime offerings. With more than 400 wineries, 50-plus spas and resorts, miles of hiking and biking trails, and more than 50 miles of dramatic Pacific coastline, there is always something new to discover in Sonoma County.