As the grapevines awaken from their winter slumber and the land bursts with a kaleidoscope of twinkling poppies, lupine, vetch and buttercups, spring may be the most beautiful time of year in Sonoma County.
For wine lovers, spring also is the start of wine event season, kicking off with Sonoma County Wine Month in April.
Now in its seventh year, Sonoma County Wine Month celebrates the region’s viticultural diversity, wines and all the people — from soil to glass — who make it possible. If you need an excuse to get outdoors and drink wine, this is it.
Here are our picks for the best events and tastings during Sonoma County Wine Month.
Gateway to Wine Road Event
Saturday-Sunday, April 9-10: Gateway to Wine Road is a two-day event celebrated at over 30 wineries in Sonoma County. Purchase a two-day pass ($100) and enjoy special tastings at five wineries of your choice. New releases, limited-production wines, chats with the winemaker, food, music and more will be on offer. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. April 9-10. Tickets are $100/weekend (no one-day tickets); designated drivers pay $5.
For tickets and a list of participating wineries, visit wineroad.com/events.
Winemaker Tour & Tasting at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery
Friday, April 22: Celebrating its 40th anniversary this year, Gary Farrell winery is hosting a behind-the-scenes winery tour, followed by a private tasting with Director of Winemaking Theresa Heredia. Located in the Russian River Valley, the historic winery is known for its small-lot, single vineyard pinot noir and chardonnay. $95 per person; reservations required. 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Dog hike at Kunde Family Winery
Saturday, April 23: If your dog loves chardonnay — I mean, hiking — as much as mine does, he/she will jump for joy at the chance to join you for a dog-friendly day hike at Kunde Family Winery. The four-hour moderately strenuous hike at the 1,850-acre winery estate will take you from the valley floor into the Mayacamas Mountain range and through a winding trail of vineyards, oaks and grasslands. The hike concludes with lunch and wine tasting. $90 per person, including wine and lunch. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
To make a reservation, call the Kunde hospitality department at 707-833-5501. 9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, kunde.com
Rosé Release Party at Limerick Lane
Saturday, April 23: At Limerick Lane, join their Rosé Release Party, an afternoon highlighting their newly released 2021 rosé (grenache, syrah and mourvèdre) along with live music, wood-fired pizza from Sonoma Crust and ice cream from Screamin’ Mimi’s. $50 per person; $25 for wine club members. 3 to 6 p.m.
For tickets, go to limericklanewines.com and click on visit, then events. 1023 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg, 707-433-9211.
Bodega Bay Wine Weekend with Papapietro Perry Winery
April 28 – May 1: Splurge for Sonoma County Wine Month with a three-day weekend getaway with Papapietro Perry Winery at The Lodge at Bodega Bay. The package (from $3,400 for two people) includes three nights of lodging, a welcome reception with library wines, a Friday poolside rosé lunch, a Riedel wine glass seminar, a winemaker’s dinner and more. Plus you can take in the views of Bodega Bay and the rugged Sonoma Coast. Reservations required.
For reservations and information, visit papapietro-perry.com/bodega-bay-lodge-staycation. The Lodge at Bodega Bay, 103 Highway 1, Bodega Bay.
Paint a charcuterie board at Rodney Strong Vineyards
Sunday, April 30: Settle in for an afternoon of wine and making art at Rodney Strong Vineyards, where you can paint your own farmhouse charcuterie board. Your monogram, a custom saying or a variety of phrases can be printed on the board beforehand. Led by Boards & Bottle, the two-hour event includes one glass of wine. Cheese and charcuterie available for purchase (and highly recommended. From $89 per person; reservations required. 1 to 3 p.m.
For reservations, visit boardsandbottle.com/rodney-strong-vineyards-april-30. 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 707-431-1533.
Biodynamic Tram Tour at Benziger Family Winery
Various dates in April: Learn about Benziger Family Winery’s commitment to sustainability, biodiversity and biodynamic farming on a tram tour through the undulating vineyards of their Sonoma Mountain estate. During the 75-minute tour, you may catch a glimpse of the resident sheep dutifully nibbling cover crops and the insectary, which lures beneficial insects to the property. The tour concludes with a tasting of four limited-production wines. $35 per person. Children welcome.
For reservations and more information, visit benziger.com. 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen; 707-935-3000.
Terroir Hike and Tasting with Sutro Wine Co.
Various dates in April: Learn about the distinct volcanic-driven terroir of Warnecke Ranch & Vineyards in Alexander Valley on a hike and wine tasting with Sutro Wine Co. Winemaker and artist Alice Sutro produces small-lot wines from vineyards on the historic 260-acre property, which her grandfather bought in 1911. Today, Sutro helps manage the vineyards and artist residences, while being an advocate for women in the wine industry. The 45-minute hike concludes with a tasting of three Sutro wines at nearby Medlock Ames Bell Mountain Estate, where Sutro produces her wines. $45 per person. Hikes at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m.
For more information and to make a reservation, visit sutrowine.com/hike. 13301 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, 707-509-9695.
Immersive sound experience at Medlock Ames
Various dates in April: Developed by local sound artist Hugh Livingston, the Immersive Sound Experience at Medlock Ames is a leisurely 1-mile hike with self-guided audio through the winery’s 338-acre Bell Mountain Ranch in Alexander Valley. Meander through the vineyards, olive grove and California oaks while GPS-cued headphones provide narration on the winery’s commitment to sustainability and land preservation. After the hike, enjoy a flight of five wines paired with local cheeses. $75 per person.
For information and reservations, visit medlockames.com/Visit/Bell-Mountain-Ranch. 13414 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, 707-431-8845.