No trip to Sonoma County would be complete without a little wine tasting, so make sure to leave some time for sipping. While the region is home to some of Northern California’s most celebrated vineyards, many of these are not open for tours and tastings. There is nevertheless a small handful of wineries open to the public.
Furthermore Wines, just north of Sebastopol, offers a selection of limited-release wines made primarily from pinot noir. Owners Bob Zeches and Chad Richard are deeply passionate about the exploration of how pinot noir expresses itself throughout the different macro- and microclimates of California, a love that shows in their lineup of wines — available for tasting daily.
Stop in to the tasting room at Bohème Wines in Occidental, named after the Bohemian Highway that winds through the Redwoods, vineyards, and farms of the Sonoma Coast. Here, you will sip estate-grown, small production wines made primarily from pinot noir, chardonnay, and zinfandel, crafted at the hands of owner/winemaker Kurt Beitler.
For a mere $5, you can belly up to the tasting bar at the family-owned and operated Occidental Road Cellars and sip chardonnay, pinot noir, zinfandel, and syrah grown from lands farmed by the family for four generations.
In Freestone, book an appointment at the small, family-owned Freeman Vineyard & Winery. Believing that California is as capable of producing wines as noteworthy as those from another of their favorite regions — Burgundy — owners Ken and Akiko Freeman set out to produce world-class, cool-climate pinot noir and chardonnay in Western Sonoma County. Tastings are $30 and limited to groups of six or less. They include a tour of the winery as well as the adjacent Gloria Vineyard, Freeman’s first estate vineyard property, and a tasting of small-lot chardonnay and pinot noir from the West Sonoma Coast and the Russian River Valley.