Don’t worry! Northern California winter weather doesn’t involve snowstorms or blizzards, but come October, Sonoma County becomes just a bit cooler. The pool might be closed and the ground might be a bit wet, but wine country activities and events are still going strong. Here are our favorite winter time activities:
Spa Day Pampering:
Harsh winter weather and holiday stress can take its toll, but thankfully, in Sonoma County there is no shortage of gorgeous day spas to let you bliss out and revitalize. From the tips of your toenails to the hair on your head, there are services for whatever pampering you might need. Try the unique vinotherapy baths at Kenwood Resort & Spa
where you can soak in red wine extract or chardonnay salts to soften the skin and relax muscles.
Always arrive early because almost any appointment will come with complimentary access to their facilities, including the pool, saunas, and hot tubs.
Mouthwatering Cooking Classes:
Take advantage of the culinary bounty of Sonoma County by learning something new in the kitchen. Sign up for cooking classes with Relish
in the heart of wine country. Take a class that teaches you how to use seasonal ingredients and expert techniques to create something deliciously special for your dinner table. From family-friendly hands-on workshops to demo classes with top chef-instructors, you can’t go wrong when playing with food.
Always ask the instructors their favorite glass of wine to accompany the meal and find the nearest winery to pick up a bottle for your future culinary endeavors.
Precious Petaluma Antiquing:
Get your fill of unique and cherished treasures in the bustling charm of Petaluma. Known for their spring Antique Fair, the winter shopping is just as prime. Check out the pioneer furniture, Art Deco cutlery, California artwork, and all kinds of incredible options for original holiday gifts for your whole list.
Be sure to stop at Vintage Bank Antiques because, well, it’s actually a vintage bank. Like a time machine, you can imagine it as it was, complete with an old vault.
Favorite Winery Fireplaces:
Cuddle up with a tasting at any of these amazing Sonoma spots and wineries. Sip on a delicious Cab or Pinot and get into a cozy vibe outdoors or indoors with a roaring fireplace. Kick up your feet for a relaxing and entirely perfect experience in wine country, especially during the winter months.
A rustic gem is Ram’s Gate Winery with it’s contemporary open floor plan and stylish farmhouse interior. Snag a seat anywhere, purchase a bottle of your favorite tasting, and splurge on their charcuterie board with a spread of chicken pate, duck terrine, and bison pastrami.
Visit Art Galleries:
When it’s just too chilly to be outside, view the masterful work of Sonoma’s finest art galleries and exhibits. Admire the stunning hand-blown glasswork of Studio Bel Vetro’s showroom, or the Sonoma County Museum for a mixture of history and art. Witness future artists taking shape at the Sonoma State University Art Gallery or visit the Riverfront Art Gallery for exquisite North Bay artists.
If you prefer pairing your art intake with delicious wine, you can see all the best art and wineries here.
Exciting Hiking Adventures:
Gear up and get out on the rugged trails of Sonoma. Even in winter there are countless hikes to explore throughout the county, from coastal exploration to long winding paths through the hills, you won’t regret the fresh air. Favorite spots like Hood Mountain Regional Park and Open Space Preserve have trails like Pythian Road and Goodspeed Trail to Gunsight Rock, the tallest peak in the mountain range.
Breaking a sweat is good for you and hydration is key. Reward yourself with a tasting at St. Francis Winery, which is conveniently located at the bottom of Hood Mountain.
Catch A Show:
It’s not all spa days and wine tastings, you can see award-winning speakers and performances by both local artists and global acts. Check out the Luther Burbank Center for the Arts for a myriad of inspiring and unique entertainment. Be sure to purchase tickets in advance, but no matter when you attend, you can bet that it will be a performance to remember.
Prior to or immediately following an act, make sure to plan the time and see the pre-or-post interview with Luther Burbank Center for the Arts professionals, scholars and artists for contextual and cultural history regarding the show. Plus, admission is free to these fascinating discussions.
Take The Trolley:
Bundle up and get on board. The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
is a fantastic way of hopping from winery to winery while also getting a full 360 view of the journey. Based off the classic San Francisco cable car, this 6-hour ride takes you to four great wineries and guides you through a ton of historic landmarks. Friendly guides, fresh air, history of Sonoma, and wine along the way — perfect way to spend a wintery day.
Worried about weather? If there is a chance of rain or high winds they will substitute the trolley for a minibus and will discount each ticket by $10.
Stunning Bodega Bay Beaches:
Traversing to the coast is never a bad idea in Sonoma County — even in the winter months. Fog or not, Bodega Bay is known for their beautiful Northern California beaches
. Play in the tide pools, grab a picnic basket, and don’t forget a scarf! The scenery is epic, which makes the car ride worth every minute.
Stop off first at Wildflower Bakery for serious gourmet breads, sourdough breads, scones, biscotti and coffee drinks. Bring along any of their artisan sticky buns, and cheese fougasse and grab a thermos of coffee for a satisfying morning at the beach.
Hot Air Ballooning:
So long as it’s not raining, you can find a hot air balloon tour to take you soaring over the Sonoma County area. Get a one-of-a-kind view of the rolling hills, sprawling vista and California coastline. Soar over every winery, redwood tree and follow the Russian River in an experience that you won’t forget anytime soon.
Try Healdsburg’s Up and Away Ballooning
for the ultimate hot air balloon ride, with a perfect back-on-Earth breakfast of champions.
Bio: Tiffany Bukowski
is a Northern California native and specializes in brand marketing in San Francisco. She enjoys red blends, fancy cheese boards, and talking with her hands.