The Wine Enthusiast announced its annual Wine Star Award Winners, and Sonoma County won the big one—Wine Region of the Year.
Why Sonoma County?
Wine Enthusiast writer Virginie Boone said it best in her description of the region, “Sonoma County is a study in contrast: It’s historic yet forward-thinking, innovative yet traditional, and coastal yet mountainous. The most dynamic and resilient wine region in America right now, it’s as complex as its outstanding wines.”
More Reasons Why
With this ringing endorsement for the land I love, here are some more enticements to lure you to visit, or at the very least try a bottle of Sonoma County wines.
Sonoma County is home to more than 425 wineries, with over 180 of them members of the Wine Road.
A visit to Sonoma County’s Wine Road leads you through breathtaking scenery as you travel between wineries, and the vistas from many of the wineries are equally photo worthy.
Vintage after vintage, Wine Road wineries produce world-class wines that earn scores in the 90s from top wine reviewers and countless medals and awards from prestigious wine competitions.
Hiking trails, water sports, art galleries, farmer’s markets, boutique shops, redwood tree lined parks, 50 miles of coastline, and so much more can fill your time in between wine tasting.
Explore Sonoma County’s Wine Region
Sonoma County covers over a million acres, with about 59,000 acres planted to grapes. The county’s wine regions are divided into sub-appellations. Within the Wine Road, you can explore wineries in the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley sub-appellations.
Don’t be overwhelmed by the county’s vastness. I recommend dividing your exploration into these smaller regions and explore a section at a time. The Wine Road has developed day trips by topic for each of the three sub-appellations: Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Alexander Valley. Some of the day trip options are No Such Thing as Too Many Pinots, Love Italian Varietals!, and Sonoma County Roots.
If you’d prefer to have a curated experience, check out the various offerings along the Wine Road. They include specialty food pairings, vineyard or cave tours, an in-depth look at winemaking, and more. Each of the experiences gives you a closer look at Sonoma County and why it was selected as The Wine Enthusiast’s Wine Region of the Year.
For an overview of the area wineries, I recommend attending one of the Wine Road annual events. A weekend ticket gives you access to over 100 wineries for one low price. The next event is Winter Wineland, held the weekend of January 18 & 19, 2020. Tickets are $60 in advance for the two days, or $45 for Sunday only. Not only is that a great way to explore the region, it’s an amazing bargain. The Winter Wineland list of participating wineries is online now, and the program will be posted on December 20th.
Hint: Winter Wineland tickets make the perfect holiday gift!
Don’t let tasting fees keep you from exploring the Wine Region of the Year. The Wine Road offers a one-day Tasting Pass for $35. This pass gives you access to your choice of 65 different wineries along the Wine Road. Each participating winery offers at least three complimentary tastings to each ticket holder. The Wine Road Tasting Pass is a terrific way to get an overview of what wineries offer and let you explore without thinking about paying a tasting fee at each location.
Photo Contest Around the Corner
If you like to snap photos and post them on Facebook or Instagram, and are looking for a fabulous (and paid for) adventure in Sonoma County, be sure to check it out.
The Wine Enthusiast selects their Wine Region of the Year from all the regions in the world. Last year, they picked Champagne, France. Let that sink in for a minute. You might not be able to put together a trip to Champagne, but I’m thinking a trip to Sonoma County’s Wine Road is doable. If you haven’t visited, or haven’t visited recently, time to add it to your bucket list for 2020. Don’t you want to be able to tell your friends you’ve tasted your way through the Wine Region of the Year? And, in the meantime, pop a cork on a Sonoma County wine or two.
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