The 'best' time to visit is usually a personal preference. Our most popular time of year to visit is May through October, and especially during the grape harvest in September/October.
The Sonoma Valley has a "Mediterranean" climate. Temperatures in the Valley rarely drop below freezing during the rainy winter months; in the summertime, coastal fog and breezes bring cool evenings even after very warm days.
Below are the average high and low temperatures and rainfall for the city of Sonoma. In other parts of the Valley the numbers can very: in Schellville, for example, breezes off the San Pablo Bay keep temperatures as much as 10 to 15 degrees cooler than in the City of Sonoma, while more rain falls in Glen Ellen than in downtown Sonoma.
To get to Sonoma on public transit from San Francisco you would take Golden Gate Transit from San Francisco to San Rafael, and then transfer to Sonoma County Transit to get to Sonoma Valley. There are no public transit routes that go directly to wineries, though some Sonoma County Transit routes do pass near wineries. For schedules and information, visit the San Francisco Bay Area Transportation website at transit.511.org
For more information on Sonoma County Transportation visit www.sctransit.com.
Wineries in the Sonoma Valley do not have full service restaurants. There are a number of wineries that conduct food and wine pairings, and others that have pre-made picnic and/or deli items available. Many wineries are happy to have visitors use their picnic facilities.
Wineries and tasting rooms generally open between 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM and close between 4:30 PM - 6:00 PM. Many wineries stop pouring wine one half hour before the tasting room closes.
It depends on the winery or tasting room, but most wineries are open year round with the exception of major holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Years Day, and Easter Sunday. Wineries may have limited hours the day before a major holiday or on nationally recognized holidays such as Independence Day, Memorial Day, Labor Day, etc. Some may also have shorter hours in the winter season.
Most properties require a two-night minimum on weekends and during our busy season (April - October). Properties may require a 3-night minimum stay on holiday weekends. The Sonoma Valley Visitors Bureau keeps a list of lodging that will consider a one-night stay. Please call 866-996-1090 for more information.
The grape harvest generally begins in August with the light-skinned grapes such as Chardonnay and ends in late September or October with the dark-skinned grapes such as Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Harvest is dependant on summer weather patterns and the sugar content (called a Brix count) of the grapes themselves.
Crush is the term used to describe the process of wine grapes being crushed to release their juice. The term is also used to describe the harvest season.
Distances to other destinations(drive time is approximate)