Top Annual Events in Sonoma County

  • Events
  • by WINECOUNTRY COLLECTIVE
  • on FEBRUARY 23, 2024
  • 2058
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Events

Top Annual Events in Sonoma County

By WineCountry Collective February 23, 2024

Spanning from the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains to the Pacific Ocean’s shores in Bodega Bay, Sonoma County‘s landscape is as varied as its annual celebrations, and we’ve got the scoop on all the best events to attend this year.

The most beautiful things in life are memories and moments.

Immerse yourself in the divine world of cheese at the California Artisan Cheese Festival or make wine the old fashioned way by stomping grapes during the Sonoma Harvest Fair. Whatever your interest, there’s an annual Sonoma County event to suit anyone and everyone, so get your calendars ready for a memorable time in Sonoma all year long.

SPRING EVENTS

Point Reyes Cheese
Photo courtesy of Point Reyes Cheese

Sonoma County Fairgrounds
March 22 – 24, 2024
Cost: $35-$75

Is there anything more satisfying than cheese? During the California Artisan Cheese Festival, you’ll delight in the wonderful world of artisanal cheese as you eat your way through Sonoma classics like Laura Chenel goat cheese, Point Reyes blues, and countless others—all paired with delicious wines. Various events take place throughout the festival including a Cheese Crawl, the Cheese Tasting & Marketplace, tasting point seminars, and both farmer and producer tours. Included with your ticket is an insulated cheese tote so all of your cheesy finds stay nice and cool while you wander about the festival.

1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Shutterstock
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Various Locations
March 20 – 24, 2024
Cost: $400-$2,750, students can purchase tickets for $75

Cinephiles descend on Sonoma every March to soak up all things film for four days at the Sonoma International Film Festival. As its name suggests, films are submitted in all genres (including food and wine) from across the globe and feature both popular stars and unknowns. Various theaters throughout Sonoma show everything from documentaries to shorts and independent films. As if that wasn’t enticing enough, there’s also incredible food and wine to delight in. Wander around Sonoma’s historic plaza, the heart of the festival, between films to uncover the local restaurants dishing up delectable goodies to coincide with the festivities. Of course, this wouldn’t be a red carpet affair without a star-studded cast. Celebrities like Jude Law and Bruce Willis have been known to attend, so you could very well find yourself in the presence of Hollywood royalty.

Passport to Dry Creek Valley | Prinsley Photography
Photo courtesy of Passport to Dry Creek Valley | Prinsley Photography

Various Locations
April 26 – 28, 2024
Cost: $125 for Friday tickets, $225 for Saturday and Sunday tickets, $40-80 for designated drivers

Tucked between the mountains and the sea, Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is a bite-sized AVA widely known for its Zinfandel. It also just so happens to be one of the very first wine regions to be recognized as an AVA in the United States. April’s annual Passport to Dry Creek Valley is dedicated to the incredible wines of this leading region. Kick off the celebrations by popping by a winery of your choice (you’ll select which one to start at while purchasing tickets) and grab your complimentary wine glass and wristband. Then you’re free to visit any of the 70 Dry Creek wineries at your leisure (no reservations, needed!). Food trucks, along with local catering, will complement the delicious array of Zinfandels and other varietals. If you want to make a full weekend of it, reserve one of the multi-course lunches and dinners held at several local restaurants, which can be added on to the cost of your ticket.

SUMMER EVENTS

Taste of Sonoma | Debbie Wilson
Photo courtesy of Taste of Sonoma | Debbie Wilson

Kendall Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens
June 22, 2024
Cost: $180-$225

Ever wanted the chance to try Sonoma’s incredible wineries and restaurants all in one place? The Taste of Sonoma is like a magic genie, here to grant your wish! There’s a reason Taste of Sonoma was rated as one of the “Best Wine Festivals” in America by USA Today. Roam through the sprawling Kendall Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens to sample Sonoma’s top wines, craft beer, and bites from local food trucks. Each wine region, from the Russian River to the Sonoma Coast AVA, are represented in individual tents to make it easier to understand what each region is all about. You can also make the experience a splurge by upgrading to VIP Club Reserve status, granting you access to unique and award-winning wines you wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to sample. The event only runs for one day which leaves you plenty of extra time to explore Sonoma over a full weekend.

5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, (707) 571-8100

Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Sonoma County Fairgrounds
July 4, 2024
Cost: Free

Celebrate Independence Day with Sonoma’s July 4th spectacular, Red, White, & Boom! Live music, bounce houses, delicious food, and other family-friendly fun can be found at this annual event, held at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. Visitors are encouraged to bring camping chairs and blankets to set up shop for the impressive fireworks display that takes place after dark. Just keep in mind that there’s no imbibing of Sonoma wines—or any other alcoholic beverage—at Red, White, & Boom. You’ll have to save your Chardonnay and Pinot Noir sampling for after the celebrations.

1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, California 95404

Gravenstein Apple Fair
Photo courtesy of Gravenstein Apple Fair

Ragle Ranch Regional Park
August 10 – 11, 2024
Cost: $30 for adults, $15 for children (discounted advance tickets and family passes can be purchased online)

During the (very) dry years of Prohibition, many Sonoma vintners turned to growing fruit, including apples, to make ends meet. The Gravenstein Apple Fair celebrates the sweet yet tart Gravenstein apple, a favorite of acclaimed local horticulturist Luther Burbank, through a weekend of live music, farm exhibitions, and plenty of food and drink. While there will of course be Sonoma wines to sip, cider has been slowly edging its way into the Sonoma bevie scene. Sample local favorites Golden State Cider and Tilted Shed, alongside over a dozen others. You’ll feel even better knowing that your hard earned cash is being spent well, as proceeds from all alcohol sales go straight to local farmers. Apples by the pound, pies, fritters, donuts, applesauce, apple blossom honey, and a litany of other baked goods and apple products will be on offer—ready to take home and devour.

500 Ragle Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472

FALL & HOLIDAY EVENTS

Sonoma County Harvest Fair
Photo courtesy of Sonoma County Harvest Fair

Sonoma County Fairgrounds
October 12, 2024
Cost: Tickets not yet on sale

Harvest is a magical time in Sonoma. The grapes have been safely harvested and it’s time to celebrate all the vineyard and winery crews’ hard work! Visitors can get a rare sneak peek into the winemaking process and take part in cherished traditions, witnessing what it takes to produce the wines they so love. The Sonoma County Harvest Fair showcases a World Champion Grape Stomp, an amateur winemaker competition, the judging of over 900 words, and a fabulous Grand Tasting. Visitors will want to make a bee line for the Tasting Pavilion where the creme-de-la-creme of Sonoma wines are perfectly paired with cuisine from local chefs.

1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95404

Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Various Locations
November 2 – 3, 2024
Cost: Tickets not yet on sale

Similar to the Winter Wineland event, Sonoma’s annual Wine & Food Affair, hosted by Wine Road, brings together over 100 wineries from the region. The only requirement is to start at your designated check-in winery, where you’ll receive a wristband and a complimentary wine glass, and then you’re free to taste away! Each participating winery offers a minimum of three wines for sampling, paired with specially selected bites from local chefs. The event is also great for designated drivers, who can enjoy the creative food menu. Additionally, various wineries host special activities such as wine cave tours, concerts, and exclusive tastings.

Sonoma Plaza Holiday
Photo courtesy of Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau

Sonoma Plaza
November – December 31, 2024
Cost: Free

Anchoring the center of downtown Sonoma is the Sonoma Plaza, a historic landmark surrounded by an expansive eight-acre park. As the holiday season approaches, the Plaza is transformed into a festive wonderland, where over 250,000 twinkling lights adorn the trees, creating a magical atmosphere. Surely the highlight is the annual tree lighting event to kick off the holiday season, welcoming visitors to enjoy live music, dance performances, and indulge in a variety of local culinary delights.

453 1st Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-2109

WINTER / OFF-SEASON EVENTS

Winter Wineland
Photo courtesy of Winter Wineland

Various Locations
January 18-19, 2025
Cost: $75 for Sunday only, $95 for the entire weekend, $10 for designated drivers

If those post-holiday blues find you a bit down in the dumps, plan for a winter weekend getaway in Sonoma to lift the spirits, and your wine glasses! Winter Wineland is a beloved winter celebration held over two days every year in mid-January. Over 100 different wineries around the Sonoma area participate, and your ticket gets you into any of your choosing. Pick a “starting winery” when you purchase your tickets, where you’ll check in on day one and collect your complimentary wine glass and wristband. Each location provides a minimum of three different wines to taste, so you can really cover some ground in just one weekend. Winter Wineland attendees can also opt for the VIP ticket option which includes an exclusive happy hour, along with a Saturday morning breakfast paired with local wines.

Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards and The Olive Press
February 2025
Cost: Free

Previously known as An Olive Odyssey, the Sonoma Olive Festival has transitioned from an event that took place across Sonoma to one that’s held solely at the family-owned Jacuzzi Vineyards. An homage to the Mediterranean fruit which flourishes in Sonoma’s coastal climate, festival-goers can taste artisan olive oils, explore olive-themed vendors, and even take a peak at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards’ very own olive press. Wine tastings will be on offer in the tasting room, while olive-focused food vendors will be busy slinging mouthwatering dishes. This is also a great opportunity to stock up on locally-made oils for your own kitchen.

24724 Arnold Drive, Highway 121, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 931-7516

Unsplash
Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Various Locations
February 2025
Cost: Fixed menu prices for lunch range between $10-$25, dinner runs $25-$55

Calling all gourmands and foodies! Every February, we’d suggest flocking to Sonoma County to savor an entire week of good eats. Over 100 different restaurants participate each year, featuring everything from French Basque cuisine to Puerto Rican fare to gourmet pizzas. Each participating restaurant will have a prix fixe menu item (or many) to choose from that showcases their delicious cuisine, often made with locally-grown ingredients (this is Sonoma County, after all). During Sonoma County Restaurant Week, you’ll be able to taste your way through Sonoma’s restaurant scene while supporting small, local businesses in the process.

Conclusion

You might notice a theme to Sonoma’s annual events—great wine and food. Distinctive to this region, Sonoma’s yearly festivities showcase the obvious dedication to quality that each farmer, vintner, and artisan has. One thing’s for sure, you’ll leave any of these gatherings with a better understanding of what makes Sonoma such a uniquely welcoming place and why locals are so devoted to preserving their traditions. And be sure to visit our Sonoma Events Calendar to view all the great events happening throughout the region each week. Cheers!