SONOMA COUNTY, CA (January 18, 2024) Sonoma County’s wintertime allure is multifaceted for travelers seeking a special experience. Whether you are looking to unwind, explore a new town, or engage in adventurous activities, our rich, immersive and educational experiences connect people with the unique sense of place in Sonoma County. Discover more story ideas. 

Rest and relax with our local artisans and makers and enjoy a variety of seasonal events that celebrate our rich agricultural roots amidst the beauty of Sonoma County.  

New in Restaurants 

Sushi by Scratch Restaurants  

Los Angeles-based, Michelin-starred husband-and-wife chef team Phillip Frankland Lee and Margarita Kallas-Lee have announced the opening of Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Healdsburg within The Matheson, Dustin Valette’s acclaimed food and wine experience in Downtown Healdsburg. Sushi by Scratch Restaurants: Healdsburg will operate in a speakeasy fashion, tucked away and hidden in the private dining room in the back of The Matheson. With three seatings offered nightly, 10 guests are guided through an intimate, progressive 17-course nigiri tasting menu experience. 

New in Wine 

Stonemason Cellars 

Stonemason Cellars has unveiled its new tasting room in Historic Railroad Square in Downtown Santa Rosa, a space that seamlessly blends tradition with modern design. Stonemason Cellars commitment revolves around cultivating the finest Sonoma County fruit to craft wines that boast both elegance and robust flavors, exemplifying the distinct characteristics of the region’s terroir. Visitors to the new tasting room are invited to savor a curated selection of high-quality, limited-production wines. Each wine is meticulously handcrafted in the Stonemason Cellars vineyards, utilizing sustainable and organic farming practices. Elevating the tasting experience, guests can pair their tastings with an array of artisanal small bites, thoughtfully chosen to complement and enhance the flavors. 

Gundlach Bundschu Winery 

Gundlach Bundschu has achieved Regenerative Organic Certified (ROC) status, recognized by the Regenerative Organic Alliance (ROA). Known for their premium estate wines and a longstanding commitment to sustainability, the Bundschu family prides themselves in their 165 years of operation with a sustainability mindset. To attain ROC status, companies must first have a nationally recognized organic certification, such as CCOF. The certification involves meeting rigorous prerequisites related to soil health, animal welfare, and social fairness for farmworkers. ROC(R) requires extra measures like zero use of chemical pesticides, organic cover cropping, composting, and the use of livestock. This certification reflects a commitment to holistic farming practices and aligns with the current trend of conscious consumerism, offering individuals a sense of contributing to positive environmental and social impacts through their purchases of ROC(R) products. 

Mill Creek Vineyards 

In 2024, Mill Creek Vineyards is celebrating its 50th commercial wine vintage. Founded by the Kreck family in 1965, Mill Creek Vineyards stands as a trailblazing winery in the Dry Creek Valley appellation. Synonymous with a commitment to quality and tradition, the family-owned and operated establishment integrates vineyard care and winemaking, reflecting a genuine passion for crafting exceptional wines. Located in Healdsburg, the winery’s estate is a testament to the marriage of expertise and terroir, resulting in award-winning wines that have earned acclaim. 2024 festivities will honor the enduring legacy and dedication that define this remarkable family winemaking journey. 

New in Outdoors 

The Pottery of Margurite Wildenhain 

Located just above Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve in Austin Creek State Recreation Area, Pond Farm Pottery joined a select group of noteworthy places that possess exceptional value in illustrating the history of the United States. In December, U.S. Secretary of Interior Deb Haaland designated Pond Farm Pottery a new National Historic Landmark. Pond Farm is cooperatively managed by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods and California State Parks, with Stewards providing onsite support and programming including an artist-in-residence program and docent-led tours. Pond Farm Pottery is significant for its association with the mid-twentieth century American Studio Pottery Movement. The Farm was founded by Margurite Wildenhain, the first woman to achieve the designation of Master Potter in Germany who brought her Bauhaus influenced pedagogy to Sonoma County. The Stewards will host a Margurite Wildenhain exhibit vernissage at the Agrella Art Gallery at the Santa Rosa Junior College. Following the opening there will be a screening of the documentary: Marguerite: From the Bauhaus to Pond Farm in the followed by a Q&A with Pond Farm students. 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm | February 8. 

Blooming Now Guide – Jack London State Historic Park 

Hikers, horseback riders, or nature lovers will delight in seeing blossoms along the trails of Jack London State Historic during peak wildflower season in February-August. To help visitors make the most of the natural splendor, the park provides a free online Blooming Nowguide to the latest blossoms at the 1,570-acre park, with photos, names, and recently spotted locations.  Visitors can seek out a variety of flowers, with names like California Buttercup, Pacific Hounds Tongue, and Checker Lily. The “Blooming Now” guide will be updated every two weeks through August 31, 2024. The guide is easy to print or follow online for walkers and hikers as they seek and identify the blooms found along the park’s 29 miles of trails. In addition to admiring the wildflowers, visitors can enjoy the park’s historic side and learn about the lives of famed author Jack London and his wife, Charmian, who made the place they called “Beauty Ranch” their home. 

Living Sculptures – The Art & Science of Bonsai – Sonoma Botanical Garden 

Experience a world of serene beauty and intricate craftsmanship both indoors and outside, at Sonoma Botanical Garden’s new bonsai exhibit. Take in a fusion of modern and classic forms, from graceful uprights to dramatic windswept styles with more than 20 amazing, tiny trees, meticulously nurtured and shaped by local artisans and each a testament to the patience and creativity involved in bonsai’s contemplative art form. Then stroll the Garden’s paths to see some of the full-sized species showcased in the exhibit. Through March 22. 

New in Air Travel 

Avelo Airlines Resumes Service Between Palm Springs and Sonoma County 

Avelo Airlines has resumed its seasonal nonstop service between Palm Springs (PSP) and Charles M. Schulz-Sonoma County Airport (STS). The Palm Springs-Sonoma County route will operate one flight per day twice a week, on Mondays and Fridays, until early January, according to Avelo. Starting Jan. 8, the flights will operate one flight per day four days a week, on Mondays, Thursdays, Fridays, and Sundays. Avelo also services the Burbank, Las Vegas, and central Oregon markets from STS. 

New in Experiences 

Olio Nuovo Exploration Tastings – Gold Ridge Organic Farms 

Experience the outstanding 2023 olive harvest at Gold Ridge Organic Farms, where they present the freshest Olio Nuovo – a new olive oil crafted from their Estate Grown olives. Enjoy a selection of four unique blends, including invigorating citrus oils, during exclusive tastings held in January and February of 2024. Olio Nuovo, a luminous and verdant elixir, provides the initial taste of the season’s harvest. Pressed at Gold Ridge’s Estate Mill, it features vibrant hues and robust flavors. With the highest concentrations of polyphenols and antioxidants right after harvest, this limited-edition oil is exclusively available for a 12-week period. These freshly born oils are presented as unfiltered representatives of the new harvest year. 11:00 am to 3:00 pm | Fridays and Saturdays. 

The Brunch Flight – Abbots Passage Winery + Mercantile 

Experience the newest seasonal offering at Abbots Passage Winery + Mercantile, the Brunch Flight, featuring a flight of three wines and pastry pairings from Les Pascals Glen Ellen Bakery. During your experience, your host will share stories of Katie Bundschu’s winemaking perspective and how her unique blends begin in the vineyard and pair well with any meal of the day – especially brunch. The Brunch Flight is offered on Sundays either inside the historic Abbot’s Passage tasting room or outside in the olive grove (weather permitting) through the winter months. 

Pinots for Paws – Dutton Estate Winery 

A paw-some weekend where you can sip, savor, and support the Sonoma County Humane Society. Join the Dutton Estate Winery for any tasting experience. As you taste, representatives from the Sonoma County Humane Society will be on hand to share information about the organization and accept donations for a Pet Supply Drive. Bring food, blankets, leashes, and supplies to help furry friends in need. And don’t miss out on the adorable “Puppy Kissing Booth” where you can cuddle up with lovable puppies.11:00 am – 4:00 pm | January 27-28. 

I’ll Show You the Night – Celebrating the Night Sky, Queer Artistry 

Sonoma County queer musician, Anne Carol Mitchell (Artist name Brightdarkdawn), is organizing a 2-hour immersive music concert. This event incorporates songs, video elements, audience involvement, and storytelling to promote awareness about preserving the night skies of Sonoma County amidst the prevalence of artificial light. This unique experience delves into the theme of collective connection to the natural world through the mediums of music, audience-participatory poetry, and the use of telescopes provided by the Robert Ferguson Observatory (RFO). The RFO not only enhances the audience’s understanding of the Sonoma County night skies during the concert but also offers opportunities for further engagement. 6:30 pm | January 27. 

Instagrammable Cheese & Charcuterie Boards – Crafted at Appellation  

Join an exclusive class at The Setting Wines at Bacchus Landing for a journey into the world of aesthetically pleasing and delicious food presentation. Led by industry experts Pete Seghesio and Kuba Hemmerling, the class offers hands-on experience in crafting Instagrammable Cheese & Charcuterie Boards. Participants will learn the intricacies of selecting the perfect combination of cheeses and charcuterie, discover the secrets of pairing textures and flavors, and gain expert tips for creating visually appealing arrangements. Throughout the class, indulge in delectable bites from Journeyman Meat Co. and Point Reyes Farmstead Cheese. Each participant will leave with newfound knowledge, inspiration, and a selection of fine cheeses, meats, and accompaniments to create their own Instagram-worthy board at home. 1:00 pm | January 28. 

Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping – Winter Warmer Package 

Wildhaven Sonoma Glamping’s new cabins provide an ideal retreat boasting spacious 180-square-foot accommodation that seamlessly integrates with nature. The cabins feature three windows, two skylights, and large glass doors that open like tent flaps, allowing guests to immerse themselves in the surrounding beauty. Sleeping arrangements include a queen-sized bed with a memory foam mattress, quality linens, and a comforter. The well-furnished cabins also include nightstands, bedside lamps, a bistro patio set for dining, ample storage with hooks for clothes, and a large rug. Guests can conveniently charge their devices using bedside USB outlets. The cabins are equipped for year-round comfort with an AC unit and heater, and each unit boasts a 6-foot covered front deck. Additionally, the front yard of each cabin offers a firepit with a cooking grill and an 8-foot-long picnic table, providing a cozy outdoor space. Wildhaven’s Winter Warmer Package features a complimentary bundle of firewood, S’mores kit, bottle of Pedroncelli wine, and two Wildhaven wine tumblers when reserving a 2-night, Sunday-Thursday stay before February 29. 

The Latest in Dry Tripping 

Pomme Cider Shop & Taproom 

Pomme Cider Shop & Taproom is introducing visitors to the emerging world of cider. Located just off the Sonoma Plaza, this bright and airy space exudes a charming French ambiance. Serving as both a taproom and a bottle shop, Pomme Cider Shop & Taproom boasts a diverse selection of local ciders and imports from Spain and France, complemented by a range of French rosés and champagnes. The venue offers an immersive experience with 18 ciders on tap, available by the glass or in flights, showcasing the best flavors from the West Coast and beyond. With over 100 bottled ciders sourced globally, patrons can explore a tapestry of cider varieties. Pomme goes beyond ciders, featuring pét-nats, grower Champagnes, orange wines, all available by the bottle. To enhance the tasting experience, the shop provides charcuterie and cheeseboards, creating the perfect pairing for noshing between sips. 

Citrus Shrub Drinks – Gold Ridge Organic Farms 

Gold Ridge Organic Farms offers a delightful range of Citrus Shrub Drinks, also known as drinking vinegars. Rooted in 17th-century England and Colonial America, shrubs were originally used as preservatives for fruit. Lavender Lemonade, crafted from hand-picked Meyer Lemons, apple cider vinegar, and True English Lavender, present a refreshingly bright and floral flavor with a subtle sweet-tart balance. Another standout is the Mandarin-Kumquat, a hybrid citrus grown on the West County farm. blending the tartness of kumquats with the sweetness of Satsuma mandarin for a perfectly balanced and refreshing taste. These unique shrubs, along with all Gold Ridge Organic Farms’ apple cider vinegars, are handcrafted locally by Little Apple Treats in Sebastopol. Additionally, the orchards are proudly Certified Organic by Oregon Tilth, ensuring the highest quality standards. 

Lagunitas Brewing Company 

Lagunitas Brewing Company in Petaluma is known for its innovative and often irreverent approach to brewing, with a commitment to producing high-quality and flavorful beers. Their Petaluma brewery and taproom have a distinctive, laid-back atmosphere, and its beer labels often feature whimsical and humorous artwork. Lagunitas Brewing Company offers two options for those interested in alcohol-free or low ABV beverages: a Hoppy Refresher and an IPNA (non-alcoholic IPA). The Hoppy Refresher is a zero-alcohol, zero-calorie, zero-carbohydrate, extra-low-gluten beverage with all the flavor of a highly hopped beer. The IPNA is a full-bodied, hoppy IPA with herbal, tea-like notes, and the aroma of lemon zest and just 0.50% ABV. 

H20 Sonoma Soft Seltzer 

H2O Sonoma Soft Seltzer 0.0% is a unique beverage that combines the purity of Sonoma County water with the essence of winegrapes. Infused with 100% California varietal winegrapes, premium dealcoholized wine, and natural flavor extracts, this refreshment is the first wine-infused drink with zero alcohol. Catering to those who enjoy the taste of wine but prefer an alcohol-free option, H2O contains potassium, vitamin C, and vitamin B12, with only 30-60 calories per 16 oz. can. It is a sparkling soft seltzer crafted to showcase the fine wine varietals, offering a California wine-infused experience with 0.0% alcohol, no artificial flavors, no added sugar, and no detectable sulfites.  

New in Accolades  

  • Travel + Leisure Magazine named Sonoma County as one of the 50 Best Places to Travel in 2024
  • Sonoma’s Animo Restaurant was named among the best in the United States in Open Table’s recently released “Top 100 restaurants in America for 2023.”  
  • The Robb Report, an ultra-luxury lifestyle magazine, includes Kyle and Katina Connaughton of Healdsburg’s Single Thread Restaurant & Farm on their “Most Powerful People in American Fine Dining” ranking. In the list of “the restaurant industry’s most influential figures, as chosen by their peers,” the couple reached No. 12 in the ranking. 
  • Travel Lemming released its list of 50 best places to travel in 2024, with a focus on slow travel. Slow travel, for the uninitiated, is a more sustainable way to travel focused on local communities and less mass produced and high-volume travel experiences. Coastside, Sonoma County’s very own Jenner made the top 50 list. 
  • The San Francisco-based Good Food Foundation sifts through thousands of entries nationwide to identify small and emerging producers each year. A Good Food Award serves as a valuable platform for these small, sustainable, and often family-owned businesses, granting them exposure to a wider audience and capturing the attention of food enthusiasts across the nation. Among the noteworthy 2024 Sonoma County finalists are Canteen Meats (Petaluma), offering a dry-cured and cold-smoked beef round known as Beef Cecina, sourced from Silver Sky Ranch and Beffa Springs in Petaluma. Gold Ridge Organic Farms (Sebastopol) for their Mandarin-Kumquat Shrub, featuring organic mandarin-kumquat and citrus from the Gold Ridge estate, combined with sugar, small-batch barrel-aged apple cider vinegar, and bay leaves. Spirit Works Distillery (Sebastopol) and their Barrel Gin, a product aged for several months in new American White Oak barrels, resulting in a distinctive and complex balance between botanicals and oak. Tobias Glen Vineyard, part of California Wineries & Vineyards (Sonoma), is recognized for their Russian River Bee Raw Honey, a complex raw honey with floral notes from blooming trees and perennials in spring, along with hints of apple, pear, and wild berries later in the year. 

New in the Digital Landscape    

Check out the latest in our “What’s Happening in Sonoma County” video series.   

Story Ideas for Winter/Early Spring 2024 

Beyond our renowned wineries and farm to table cuisine, visitors are immersing themselves in our beautiful landscapes, connecting with our local artisans and makers, and rejuvenating themselves through our holistic approach to wellbeing. With so many artisan-makers and unexpected activities to experience, we invite visitors to explore Sonoma County and “Discover Your &.” For inspiration, find suggested story ideas for Winter/Early Spring 2024 here


About Sonoma County Tourism    

Sonoma County Tourism is the region’s destination stewardship organization. Inspiring travel to the region through a variety of sales and marketing programs aimed at consumers, meeting and event planners, the travel trade, and media, the organization strives to ensure responsible tourism helps create a robust economy for the Sonoma County region. For more information visit             

Media Contacts:       
Birgitt Vaughan, Director, Public Relations     
Chris Vomvolakis, Senior Manager, Consumer Public Relations      
[email protected]