Red barn and grape vines in Alexander Valley AVA
Alexander Valley AVA

Wine Tasting in Sonoma County Without a Car

Share this story

Wine Tasting in Sonoma County is wonderful no matter how you do it, but there's something to be said about enjoying the adventure without a car. The benefits include savoring all those wonderful wines then not having to drive, of course, but also the extra-relaxed pace that chauffeured and ambulatory tasting brings.

It's so easy to do, too, with the myriad of travel options in Wine Country, ranging from car-hires to ride-share options like Lyft or Uber, to bikes, to the new SMART train, and, of course, your own trusty feet.  

Day 1:

people playing Bocce in Sonoma County
Vintners Resort

Arrive at Charles M. Schulz–Sonoma County Airport (STS) in Santa Rosa, and take the free shuttle to the Hilton Garden Inn Sonoma County Airport hotel. This is a beautiful oasis, complete with a pond and fountain, rose gardens, a pool, fitness center, and rooms/suites outfitted with Garden Sleep System beds, sitting areas with ottoman, flat-screen HD televisions, complimentary wifi, and home-style amenities like a microwave, coffee maker and refrigerator. Thursday and Friday evenings, there are complimentary wine tastings from Sonoma County wineries, too. Other hotels nearby include Vintners Resort, Farmhouse Inn, Holiday Inn Express Windsor, Hampton Inn & Suites Windsor, or take a look at all hotels in Sonoma County.

Then take a taxi or ride-sharing service nine miles north to the Healdsburg Plaza in downtown Healdsburg

healdsburg plaza in Sonoma County

You can easily spend the entire day in this gracious town, strolling among dozens of wine tasting rooms, plus boutiques, antique stores, cafes, art galleries, bakeries, bars, tea lounges, and even high-end pet 'lifestyle' salons. 

Two of the tempting tasting rooms include Ferrari-Carano's Seasons of the Vineyard Wine Shop on Plaza Street (wine, charming home decor and chocolates!) and Thumbprint Cellars on Matheson Street for fabulous blends.

Be sure to walk around the block, too, and visit Cartograph on Center Street and Portalupi Wines on North Street.

vineyard view in Sonoma County
Seghesio Family Vineyards

You can also rent a bike, to pedal short scenic jaunts to destinations like the famous Seghesio Family Vineyards on Grove Street, the surf-themed Longboard Vineyards on Fitch Street, and Pezzi King Vineyards on Hudson Street. Wine Country Bikes and Spoke Folk Cyclery are two great rental options.

Before, during and after wine tasting, it's important to keep yourself fed and hydrated with good, old-fashioned water. Healdsburg is home to dozens of excellent restaurants, ranging from casual to high-end.

So stop often to nibble and feast, on the mouthwatering artisanal sausages, fries, and milkshakes at The Wurst; the succulent Yucatan pork tacos at Mateo's Cocina Latina; the divine wood-fired pizzas at Campo Fina (plan a round of bocce ball here, too); and a full dinner at the authentic Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar (hint: the Enmoladas are divine, bringing Oaxacan style enchiladas stuffed with Mary's shredded chicken, smothered in mole de Oaxaca and scattered in queso fresco alongside rice and black beans). 

Day 2:

If your lodging doesn't include a complimentary breakfast, tuck into the hot cooked-to-order breakfast in the onsite restaurant at the Hilton Garden Inn.

women in a vehicle provided by pure luxury tours
Pure Luxury Tours

Your options today are many, thanks to Sonoma County's abundant guided tour options, most with door-to-door service available. Besides offering convenient ways to explore, your guide will have recommendations on whatever you're looking for, such as wineries with spectacular gardens, beautiful art collections, or simply a focus on spectacular Pinot Noir.

The touring company specialist will listen carefully to your desires, and put together a day that matches your dreams. As you cruise along the byways of Sonoma County, your driver can also answer questions about the sights you see, the wineries you visit, and the wines that interest you.

Pure Luxury Transportation is one of Sonoma County's top rated companies, operating one of California's largest chauffeured fleets, ranging from executive luxury sedans, limo sprinters, and shuttles up to 56-passenger motor coaches. It offers everything from two-person excursions to customized private outings for large corporate groups.

Other great companies include Artisan Wine Tours, Platypus Wine Tours, Sonoma Wine Tours, Wine Country Chauffeur, Wine Country Journeys, Woody's Wine Tours, and Beau Wine Tours.

Or perhaps you want to visit by bike. Sonoma Valley Bike Tours offers partial day or one-day tours, with a relaxed trip of three to six miles between winery stops, lunch, and bonuses like learning about the vineyard growth cycle and local farming practices. Other fine companies include Wine Country Bikes, Ace It! Bike Tours, and the Velo 'n' Vino Bike Tour by Getaway Adventures

Did you know that you can also travel from one town along the main corridor in Sonoma County to another on the new SMART train? Check out the Guide to exploring Sonoma County by SMART train