10 Things to Do Indoors in Wine Country this Winter

Kenwood Inn and Spa

Sonoma County boasts year-round good weather, because even when it’s a bit rainy and chilly, sunshine is usually just around the corner. Still, there are days when the indoors beckon—and we’ve got plenty of ways to entertain, whether your taste is in music, fine wine, dining, or all of them together.

Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

A concert hall with red and blue lights streaming over the audience
Luther Burbank Center for the Arts

Celebrate the sound of music at this Santa Rosa venue, plus dance, theater, comedy, family activities, and arts education programs. The non-profit center hosts performances of everything from folk music to symphony, to the smart humor of Wanda Sykes, to the spectacular theatrics of the Golden Dragon Acrobats touring from China.

Green Music Center 

The interior of the hall during a concert has a blue light shining over the audience
Green Music Center at Sonoma State University

Opened in late 2012 at Sonoma State University, this is still one of the hottest tickets in town for a long list of remarkable performers. The state-of-the-art theater, concert hall, and lawn performance space brings to life such stars as The Silk Road Ensemble, Lyle Lovett, and Philharmonia Baroque. The recital hall is named after the Peanuts character Schroeder, in honor of Jeannie and Charles M. Schulz’s contributions to the university and ties to the community.

The Barlow

A sign for the Barlow hangs over the street
The Barlow

There’s a treasure trove of shopping, wine tasting, and dining at this 12.5-acre, $23.5 million culinary and artisan center set in a former apple cannery property at the southeastern entrance to Sebastopol. There’s Woodfour Brewing Company, an on-site brewery and gastropub with delights like maitake mushrooms dressed in 63° farm egg, purple barley, and black garlic soubise, or braised pork belly with sunchoke, Asian pear, sunflower, and pickled mustard. Discover several artisan wine tasting rooms, Taylor Lane Coffee, Spirit Works Distillery for handcrafted gin and whiskey, and so much more.

Graton Resort & Casino 

The modern entrance to the casino
Graton Resort & Casino

The flashy 340,000 square foot destination is heaven for fashionable gamblers and foodies alike, thanks to a dizzying array of games played in luxurious surroundings and fabulous restaurants. Here are the stats: 3,000 slot and video poker games. 144 table games, like blackjack, baccarat, and Pai Gow poker. An 18-table poker room. A high limit table game room with private salons. A high limit slots room, with $300 pulls. Enjoy casual dining in four full restaurants: gourmet Italian at Tony’s of North Beach; dry-aged beef and seafood at 630 Park Steakhouse; classic American and Mediterranean cuisine at the Daily Grill; and an eclectic mix of Japanese and East Asian cuisine at the Boathouse Asian Eatery. Or check out the eight eateries in the casino’s Marketplace, offering pizza, burgers, sushi, barbecue, and more.

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards 

A pairing lunch of salmon with vegetables and white wine
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

You can see the elegant Mission-style tower from Sonoma Highway, and within awaits another treasure. The wine and food tasting offers a wonderful multi-course meal from chef Peter Janiak, bringing an assortment of dishes to pair with hand-selected artisan wines.

The dishes change daily to reflect seasonal markets, but some temptations might include pan-seared day boat scallops with bacon-onion-maitake mushroom marmalade, sunchoke purée, Brussels sprouts and Asian pear alongside Estate Cuvée Blanc from Sonoma Valley; plus roasted Liberty Duck breast cassoulet with fresh shelling bean ragout, duck confit, Antohi peppers, fennel, haricot verts and huckleberry gastrique alongside Zinfandel from Bacchi Vineyard in Russian River Valley.

Fritz Underground Winery

A view of the winery from across a lake
Fritz Underground Winery

Some wineries have caves, but here, the entire operation is buried underground, dug into a remote hillside on the edge of Dry Creek Valley. Built in 1979, it spans three stories showcasing a gentle, gravity-flow winemaking process and ‘bubble’ architecture with windows that look like sunglasses peeking out of a grassy rise. Enjoy the specialties of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, plus Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon either under the earth or on a sunny patio, and if you show up on a weekend, you can make an appointment for a tour of the entire subterranean architecture.

Relish Culinary Adventures

Owner Donna del Rey brings together talented chefs and fabulous cuisine at her state-of-the-art Healdsburg center. Classes and culinary events focus on a variety of topics, such as DIY canning, wild mushroom foraging, cheese making, and ethnic cuisines; private cooking lessons are available. Often, the classes include working with the actual farmers, cheese makers, and other food artisans, and whatever the event, the goal is the same – get everyone involved and having a terrific time while they learn. Chop those onions, whisk that cream, blend that butter, stuff those chickens, and enjoy a few sips of great Sonoma wine along the way. Relish caters to adults, but also to children, with specialty classes designed for the little ones.

Valette 

Two people sit at a table looking at manus with empty wine glassses and there is a painting on the wall that says Sotoyome Market
Valette

The rustic, charming interior welcomes you in for a warm, delicious cocoon retreat. Dustin Valette wows with his contemporary Cal-global cooking in sexy, wood-trimmed, open kitchen ambience. Reservations are recommended to score a table laden with seasonally (and often weekly) changing dishes like slow cooked celeriac soup with toasted pistachios, yellow beet tartare, and goat cheese meringue, or crispy skin local sable fish with MIX garden bok choy, roasted ginger dashi, toasted soba noodles, and spicy kimchee purĂ©e. Start with handcrafted charcuterie from the custom-made curing case, and if you’re feeling adventurous, tuck into the ‘Trust me’ tasting menu, where Valette sends out a multi-course feast of his daily picks.

Kenwood Inn and Spa 

The exterior of the hotel is covered with ivy
Kenwood Inn and Spa

Blink and you might miss this boutique hotel shrouded by ivy, roses, and trees on a gentle Sonoma hillside. With just 29 rooms, it’s an exclusive retreat—but here’s a secret: from Monday to Tuesday, even us everyday folk can indulge in pampering at the elegant, intimate spa. Pad softly up the jagged stone walkways past the private hot tubs, and indulge yourself with the Himalayan Salt Stone Massage, the Espresso & Mud Detoxifying Body Wrap, or the Ti Amo Massage for Two.

Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa 

Rooms overlook the courtyard and pool
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa

Warm your very soul at one of Wine Country’s iconic destinations, the spectacular, 40,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art Willow Stream Spa, which has 36 treatment rooms and both indoor and outdoor pools. The baths are fed by the resort’s own source of natural thermal waters, running 1,100 feet directly beneath the Inn. Rich with 24 trace minerals, these waters rise at 135 degrees, and have to be cooled for guest use. The signature Bathing Ritual is a must and is included with every visit, featuring an exfoliating shower, two mineral-water soaking pools, herbal steam, dry sauna, and cool down showers.

Here are some other great ideas: Fabulous Winter Getaway to Wine Country Itinerary and Fun Things to Do in Sonoma County on a Rainy Day.

Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.

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