Best Time of Year to Visit Sonoma County

  • Guides
  • by WINECOUNTRY STAFF
  • on JANUARY 12, 2023
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Courtesy of Jordan Winery
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Whether looking to visit next weekend, next month, or later this year, Sonoma County is one of the most destination-worthy locales in Northern California, and for good reason.

Located just 45 miles north of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, this expansive California Wine Country truly has something for everyone: rugged natural landscapes, farm-to-table fare, intimate lodging, endless outdoor activities, and, of course, a plethora of family-owned wineries pouring everything from Pinot Noir to Zinfandel, Chardonnay to Cabernet. And, thanks to its temperate weather year-round, you really can’t go wrong with a vacation in Sonoma County any time of year.

Our seasonal guide to visiting Sonoma County will help you discover what makes this Wine Country region so wonderful, regardless of the time of year you choose to visit.

Winter

bathroom at Stavrand
Courtesy of The Stavrand Russian River

Thanks to its moderate Mediterranean climate, you won’t find snow or severe weather conditions during winter in Sonoma County. You’ll still need to pack a jacket and perhaps an umbrella, but most of the time winter in Sonoma is pretty mild, revealing daytime temperatures in the mid-to-high 50s and evening temps ranging in the mid-30s to low-40s. Often considered the low season, winter is a great time to visit Sonoma, as you can usually find fewer tasting room crowds, a slower pace, and seasonal specials on lodging, dining, and wine tastings.

Winter in Sonoma: What To Do

Experience a vodka and chocolate truffle pairing at Hanson of Sonoma
Indulge in a little (or a lot) of R&R at The Spa at Kenwood Inn & Spa
Taste the diverse flavors of Sonoma during Sonoma County Restaurant Week
Sip wine from your in-room deep soaking tub or outdoor cedar hot tub at The Stravrand Russian River
Head to the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant to dine on exceptional farm-to-table fare

Spring

Courtesy of Unsplash | Emese Toth

Spring brings new life to the Sonoma Valley, thanks to seasonal rains that grace the region with vivid, green life. In the vineyards you’ll notice buds breaking this time of year, signaling the start of the growing season, as well as wildflowers like mustard blanketing the hills with a stunning display of color. While daytime temperatures vary depending how close to the coast you are, Sonoma County generally sees daily highs in the 60s, sometimes 70s, with partly cloudy days that give way to sunshine. Though rain can still be in the weather forecast, generally spring means patio weather in Sonoma County. Just note that evening temperatures, especially along the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley, can still be quite cold (think low 40s to 50s), so layers are a necessity during a spring trip.

Spring in Sonoma: On Our Must-Do List

Zip-line through redwood forests with Sonoma Canopy Tours
Experience the region on two wheels courtesy of Sonoma Valley Bike Tours
Catch a new film during the Sonoma International Film Festival
Discover a wild side of Sonoma at Safari West
Explore Sonoma’s wild mustard fields

Summer

picnic
Courtesy of Jordan Winery

What can you expect with summer’s weather forecast? From sunrise to sunset, the forecast looks good: think clear skies, plenty of sunshine, and dry, warm temperatures. You may see the occasional marine layer of fog in the regions closer to the Pacific, but it usually burns off by late morning to reveal blue skies and warm weather. Daytime temperatures range between 60s along the coast to the 70s and high 80s further inland, while evening temperatures throughout Sonoma Wine Country usually stay in the mid-to-high 50s at night. One thing’s for sure: you’ll want to take advantage of those laid-back sunny days of summer by finding every excuse to get outdoors, whether visiting tasting rooms, dining at restaurants, exploring the coast, or hitting the hotel pool.

Summer in Sonoma: Our Favorite Things to Do

Savor an al fresco culinary experience or vineyard hike at Jordan Winery
Explore the region’s summer bounty at one of the local farmers’ markets
Spend a leisurely afternoon sipping Chardonnay while playing Bocce ball at Landmark Winery
Enjoy fresh seafood at sunset from The Tides Wharf Restaurant after a day of kayaking in Bodega Bay
Indulge in cheese, oysters, and sparkling mead with a Point Reyes Culinary Tour

Fall

Courtesy of Unsplash | Gabriella Clare Marino

No season draws more attention to Wine Country than fall, when harvest is in full swing. Visiting during the harvest season means you’ll not only get to enjoy the changing colors of the vineyards, but you’ll also likely get to witness the grapes being picked and brought into the winery for production (and you may even get to stomp a few grapes yourself!). While many parts of the U.S. are cooling off dramatically this time of year, Sonoma enjoys more temperate climatic conditions. Expect 60s throughout the coastal regions during the day, and temps in the high 70s and 80s inland near Healdsburg and the city of Sonoma. Though still warm, layers become more of a necessity during autumn, as nighttime temperatures can drop to the low 50s.

Fall in Sonoma: 5 Don’t Miss Activities

Visit Benziger Family Winery for a vineyard tour of the Biodynamically-farmed estate
Explore the amazing hiking trails of Sonoma County with Getaway Adventures
Pedal your way through the vineyard during a trolley tour at St. Francis Winery
Picnic in an oak grove with views of the “castle” at Ledson Winery
Discover the many artisan creameries of Sonoma with a self-guided cheese tour

Winter Holiday Season

Courtesy of the Sonoma Valley Visitor’s Bureau

While the months of January, February, and March are considered Sonoma County’s “slow” season, there’s nothing slow about the holiday season in Wine Country, when the area comes alive with plenty of reasons to eat, drink, and be merry. Though temperatures rarely exceed the mid-to-high 50s during the day, and drop into the 30s at night, with the occasional rain shower, all the seasonal splendor of this joyous season is sure to warm you from the inside out (though a cup of hot cocoa never hurts).

Holiday Season Musts

Witness the over 100,000 holiday lights adorning the Sonoma Plaza each holiday season
Watch the charming Holiday Lighted Tractor Parade in Geyserville
Get your holiday shopping on at the Healdsburg Plaza (with stops for wine in between stores)
Toast to the season with bubbly and delectable bites at J Winery
Hop aboard the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley for an open-air tour of Sonoma’s holiday lights


What to Pack for a Trip to Sonoma County

8 Cozy Boutique Hotels in Sonoma County


Author

WineCountry Staff

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