SONOMA COUNTY, CA (September 27, 2022) Harvest in wine country certainly lives up to the hype, but locals and savvy travelers know that grapes are only part of this food lover’s paradise. More than just a place for wine, Sonoma County delivers big on all the quintessential fall experiences and then some.

  1. Experience Sonoma County’s harvest beyond the grapes
    It’s not surprising that visitors flock to the most sustainable wine region in the world for the annual crush. While sipping world-class wines at the 24th Annual Wine & Food Affair (Nov. 5-6), visitors can also sample produce from local farms. Sonoma County’s peaches, apples, olives and citrus are every bit as good as the grapes – and grown just as sustainably. Gravenstein apples are delicate and best enjoyed fresh at u-pick orchards in Sebastopol and along the Russian River. EARTHSeed Farm, a 14-acre, solar-powered orchard rooted in Afro-Indigenous permaculture principles, offers tours and u-pick by appointment. Gravensteins also heavily influence the region’s many cideries. Visitors are encouraged to go beyond the grape and sample locally crafted brews featuring the varietal – Golden State Cider’s Save the Gravenstein and Tilted Shed Ciderworks’ Graviva Semidry Cider are just two of several odes to the heirloom.Travelers seeking additional produce exclusive to Sonoma County will also enjoy hard-to-find jewels like Santa Rosa plums and Crane melons, a terroir-driven fruit developed at the Santa Rosa Crane Melon Barn. The site, along with its namesake melons, has been in the Crane family for more than 160 years. The melon is exceptionally sweet with honey, rose and orange blossom notes.Outdoor activities abound in Sonoma County and fall is prime time for orchard hikes at Gold Ridge Organic Farms, home to 70 acres of olive, apple and citrus orchards. Visitors can sample award-winning homegrown olive oil varietals, milled onsite within hours of harvesting every November and December and powered in part by the farm’s windmill that harnesses maritime breezes.Finally, Sonoma County’s coast keeps its harvest coming when Dungeness Crab season begins in early November. Local restaurants serve up dishes with the day’s catch, which are only sold fresh locally and in limited quantities, adhering to the highest sustainability ratings.
  2. Be a part of the harvest
    Sonoma County encourages visitors to participate in activities that promote, protect and preserve the bounty of the destination and visitors are encouraged to try their hand at harvesting and giving back to the local community by volunteering with Farm to Pantry. The nonprofit connects surplus, fresh produce with those in need. Those looking for a more traditional harvest experience can still partake in activities like grape stomping – locals and visitors are encouraged to attend the 198th annual Valley of the Moon Festival (Oct. 7-8), which celebrates the region’s rich history and heritage in winemaking.
  3. Take in harvest through the culinary scene
    Autumn means a full-court press for growers, and that doesn’t mean Sonoma County’s Slow Food Movement is in full swing. After all, Sonoma County is the epicenter for farm-to-fork, with local chefs like Mark Hopper of Barndiva and Tom Schmidt from Vintners Resort sourcing local, organic ingredients daily. Travelers during harvest season especially will support local farmers and restaurants when dining at the many farm-to-fork establishments throughout Sonoma County.
  4. Explore under-the-radar towns
    Petaluma, a small town that’s all grown up with boutique hotels and award-winning distilleries and known as the chicken and egg capital, also serves as the region’s cheesemaking headquarters. Small family dairy farms dot the pastoral hills surrounding town with many, like Pacheco Farms’ Achadinha Cheese Company, offering tours and cheesemaking workshops.
  5. Find new inspiration 
    What’s happening in Sonoma County, including information on other destinations within the region, can be found in the newly released Fall/Winter Visitor Inspiration Guide 2022-2023.

Hot tip – visit during the weekdays
Travelers who cash in PTO days on weekday travel to Sonoma County are rewarded with a more low-key (and often more affordable) experience. Weekday trips to Sonoma County’s under-the-radar towns are an easy way to travel responsibly and help preserve the region’s ecosystem.

More ways for travelers to recreate responsibly this fall:

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About Sonoma County
Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s official Destination Stewardship Organization. Through a multi-channel sales and marketing program, the organization promotes Sonoma County as a global visitor and meetings destination, where diversity thrives, and everyone is welcome. Leveraging the region’s unmatched assets, wine, culinary, wellness and sustainability continue to define its character. Pre-pandemic, tourism generated $2.3 Billion in visitor spending, $194 Million in tax revenue and employed more than 23,000 Sonoma Countians. Post-pandemic, SCT will work with partner businesses to rebuild the tourism economy, regain critical revenue and re-establish a vibrant workforce. For more information, visit www.sonomacounty.com

Birgitt Vaughan
Director of Public Relations

Chris Vomvolakis
Senior Manager, Consumer Public Relations

[email protected]