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

Wine Tasting in Sonoma County Without a Car

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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 also easy to do, with a myriad of Wine Country travel options ranging from car-hires to bikes, ride-share options and the SMART train—or simply your own two 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  beautiful oasis features a pond, fountain, and rose gardens, as well as a pool and fitness center, and rooms/suites with sitting areas and complimentary wifi. 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.

From your hotel, 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. 

One of the tempting tasting rooms is Thumbprint Cellars on Matheson Street, known 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 for 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. Getaway Adventures and Spoke Folk Cyclery are two great rental options.

Before, during, and after wine tasting, it's important to keep yourself fed and hydrated, and happily, Healdsburg is home to dozens of excellent restaurants, ranging from casual to high-end. Feast on the mouthwatering artisanal sausages, fries, and milkshakes at The Wurst; the divine wood-fired pizzas at Campo Fina (plan a round of bocce ball here, too); or a full Oaxacan-style meal at the authentic Agave Mexican Restaurant & Tequila Bar .

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

Thanks to Sonoma County's abundant guided tour options (most with door-to-door service available), you can receive knowledgeable recommendations and plan a day that matches your vacation dreams. As you cruise along the byways of Sonoma County, your driver can 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 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.