If there was one person who could truly be called an icon of the travel industry, it was Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart.
TORONTO — If ever there was a definitive season where “life opens up” in Sonoma County, it’s spring.
Spring in Sonoma County means meeting makers and artisans in pop-up markets and festivals, wildflowers opening their blooms and even whales off the coast breaching the surface to say hello. Things are just a little brighter and a little fresher this time of year. It’s the energy of the season that will leave you feeling renewed, refreshed and ready to drink it all in. The refreshing first few months of the year make the perfect time to hike through flower-laden meadows, indulge in an outdoor creativity retreat, or enjoy special new release parties at wineries.
Spring kicks off in Sonoma County when the mustard flowers begin blooming in between the rows of vines, bathing our valleys in bright yellow typically starting in February. Budbreak, an exciting Wine Country marker, follows soon after.
Here are the top 5 reasons to book a trip to Sonoma County this spring:
1. The Great Outdoors. You can plan an entire trip across Sonoma County by the wildflowers you’ll find, from the blue sky lupine of our regional parks to the famous pink blossoms of Kruse Rhododendron State Natural Reserve. Sonoma County is home to more than 60 nature parks, including its newest, Jenner Headlands Preserve, home to 5,630 acres covered with redwood and Douglas fir forests, oak woodlands, chaparral and coastal prairies. Wildflowers of every colour, shape and fragrance carpet parks and open spaces throughout the county. The Pacific coastline is also in season, with whales migrating and sea lions sunbathing along its shores.
2. Wellness. Spring equals rejuvenation. Keeping the heart and body healthy in Sonoma County is an easy thing to do, especially with so many of nature’s great wonders to explore with your family and friends. In Sonoma County, that means whether you want to try yoga in a vineyard, enjoy a full-service retreat, or soak in a hot cedar enzyme bath before getting a massage in a pagoda. And the spa treatments often change with the seasons, since lots of local ingredients are celebrated – think grape seed body scrubs, apple balms, and honey facials. Restore your mind, body and spirit has never been easier.
3. Festivals. Celebrating excellent food and wine is what we just call eating in Sonoma County. But in the spring, Sonoma County is even more special for such luxury, since we grow so many gorgeous seasonal veggies, and welcome so many pasture-raised cattle and sheep. Join us at our spring table – you’ll discover how Life Opens Up in our culinary world. ‘Fe-brew-ary’ kicks off with Santa Rosa’s Beer passport program, which runs throughout the month with tastings across the city whereby guests collect stamps for a grand prize. Sonoma County Restaurant Week runs from Feb. 21-March 1 with the region’s best chefs dishing out limited-time, multi-course meals and sweet treat specials at over 100 participating Wine Country restaurants. Tickle your taste buds at the California Artisan Cheese Festival (March 27-29), the Butter & Egg Days Parade & Festival (April 25), and Spring Tour: Blossoms, Bees and Barnyard Babies (May 2-3).
4. Sustainability. Sonoma County became the first sustainable certified sustainable wine region in 2019, meaning that when visitors purchase a local bottle of wine, they can rest assured it was grown responsibly using a triple-bottom-line approach to sustainability. The County has partnered with Kind Traveler, the first socially-conscious ‘give and get’ booking and educational engine. By booking, visitors agree to pay a US$10 fee/night that goes to a local charity, unlocking special rates and amenities. The County also implemented a travel pledge to protect its resources, both natural and human. Visitors are encouraged to sign the pledge at https://www.sonomacounty.com/pledge as a reminder to travel kindly.
Get out into the vineyards and learn about how the growing season goes from grape to glass. The complimentary, self-guided vineyard walks are available at various wineries throughout this diverse wine region. Walk among the vine rows and discover each winery’s unique story.
5. Outstanding food and wine. As one of the world’s leading wine-producing regions, Sonoma County is home to more than 425 wineries and over 500 eateries that include Michelin-starred and Zagat-rated restaurants. Breweries, farms and farmers markets all make it a farm-to-table paradise. Our farms and orchards are a great place to spend the day exploring and tasting the savory flavors of the cheeses, eggs, fruits and vegetables. Some of the farms have tours, giving you a chance to see how your food gets from the farm to the table. Sonoma County’s Mediterranean climate means luxuries like enjoying dining outside year-round. A farm-to-table meal tastes even fresher, somehow, when we’re relaxing al fresco, surrounded by gorgeous gardens. Sonoma County was named Wine Enthusiast magazine’s 2019 Wine Region of the Year. Visitors can find trip ideas and special offers on www.sonomacounty.com.
Plan your spring getaway to Sonoma County during peak wildflower bloom and experience special offers on lodging, tours, and tastings.