Sonoma, Calif. (September 14, 2020) – With the winegrape harvest in full swing, Sonoma Valley welcomes visitors this fall. As travelers find comfort in things and places they know, Sonoma Valley offers a classic wine country experience, wide open spaces and some major openings and new experiences making 2020 the time to visit.
This fall, with harvest is at its peak, our outdoors beckon. The area is home to many state and regional parks – like Jack London State Historic Park and Sugarloaf Ridge State Park – allowing for natural social distancing while you hike, bike, ride, camp and explore. For small town charm, the historic, eight-acre Sonoma Plaza is an ideal place to picnic, dine and wine taste with plenty of room to spread out.
Hotels, restaurants, wineries and businesses are offering new experiences to make Sonoma Valley the ideal autumn getaway – or use this flexible time to make the area your office or classroom for the semester ahead.
Work and Learn in Sonoma Valley
The Sonoma Valley is the ideal place to work or learn remotely this fall. The region’s perfect fall weather, variety of museums, historic attractions and, of course, wine blend into the perfect backdrop for business or education. Sonoma is the birthplace of California history, so be sure to plan a field trip to Sonoma’s Bear Flag monument and the historic Mission San Francisco Solano. Take American literature class to the next level with an excursion to Jack London State Park.
For science class, get an up-close and personal zoology at Safari West, a 400-acre private wildlife preserve. Safari West offers a Sunday through Thursday package where kids stay free on the second, our third, or fourth, night of your adventure. After months of being cooped up and having to do school online, a little rest, relaxation and rhinos are just what the doctor ordered. Note that this special is only available by phone, so call direct to find out more: 800-616-2695.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa’s School & Pool Package moves the classroom from the kitchen table to a dedicated guest room, while providing families an opportunity to immerse students of all ages into a dedicated learning environment. Forget the cafeteria, the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn culinary team takes Farm to Fork dining to a whole new level, including special kid-approved menus, recess and after-school activities revolve around the resort’s geo-thermal pool and Friday evening music class (live weekly performances on the resort lawns with local musician Sean Carscadden). The School & Pool package is available with rooms from $199 with 50% off a second room, until December 23, 2020. Add a second room for 50% off. Details are online.
Take the classroom outside and get free high-speed wifi at Sugarloaf Ridge State Park when you book four nights at the campground. Students can learn online all day and then participate in Phys. Ed. on the park's hiking trails and learn valuable Home Ec skills cooking over a campfire.
If you want to move your Zoom Room to the “Sonoma Office,” then consider the “Work from Wine Country” package from the chic MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa, a three-day minimum package which includes a 30% off discount best available rate, early check-in and late check-out to get in a few more minutes of “work,” upgrade to a suite, $50 daily resort credit, free internet property-wide and lots of small gardens, pathways, firepits and a swimming pool for the perfect video-call backdrop. If you want to take the meetings on the road, check out a free e-bike and head to the historic Sonoma Plaza just up the street.
The Hampton Inn Petaluma’s Work From your Home Away Package combines a standard room with a workstation, Wi-Fi, “grab & go breakfast” and two bottles of water
If you just need to get away for the workday, The Sonoma Valley Inn is offering a special Work Day Rate of $49 plus tax per day. The room can be your office away from home between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. any day of the week, giving guests a break from a house full of potential interruptions (you know who they are). Afterwards, walk the block-and-a-half to the Sonoma Plaza for restaurants, wine tasting and shopping.
New and Expanded Dining Options
Opening on September 14, Wit & Wisdom Sonoma will be Chef Michael Mina’s first wine country restaurant. This charming tavern offers American comfort food and a robust wine list at The Lodge at Sonoma. The restaurant features regional California cuisine cooked on a hearth oven, buoyed by a magnificent wine program. Whether enjoying the bocce ball court, the happy hour experience or a celebratory dinner with friends, Wit & Wisdom - a name inspired by the writings of Jack London - is the ideal dining experience for visitors and locals who are looking for a different type of tasting room in wine country.
Neighborhood restaurant and bottle shop, Valley Bar & Bottle, recently opened on the Sonoma Plaza and is serving California home cooking - simple food driven by seasonal produce and their personal histories. Their bottle shop sells delicious wines with a focus on organic, biodynamic, regenerative and traditional agricultural practices.
Family-owned and run Hanson of Sonoma Distillery offers a change from the typical wine country experience. Their lush, pond-side Spirits Garden has recently expanded to allow guests to sit around the pond while tasting Hanson’s delicious organic fruit-infused vodkas and American Single Malt Whiskey. They also offer refreshing cocktails that pair well with their brand-new pizza menu. Chef Martin Rivera is making wood-fired pizza in their custom pizza oven made with Valoriani firebricks imported from Tuscany.
The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn has added CaliForno Street Eats food truck to its list of culinary options. On Friday and Saturday evenings, guests are invited to dine around several private outdoor fire pits or appropriately distanced picnic tables. The relaxed vibe is complemented by live music from local artist, Sean Carscadden. The hotel has also announced a new concert series, Suite Sundays, that will run throughout October. Carscadden will hold balcony performances every Sunday afternoon, giving guests an opportunity to enjoy live music from the comfort of their own private Mission Suite balcony or patio. Swinging Sunday packages can be booked online.
The Glen Ellen Star has expanded its outdoor seating area and is serving its full menu seven nights a week. Chef Ari Weiswasser specializes in wood-fired cooking which is ideal for the patio. In Kenwood, Palooza Brewery and Gastropub has a large outdoor patio for enjoying delicious pub food and live music on the weekends. The team has developed a contactless walk-up service process to keep customers and staff safe. TIPS Roadside serves wine country comfort food – including their signature Tri-Tip Sandwich – on their covered outdoor patio and shaded courtyard with views of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Wine and Distillery Experiences
Walt Wines has been producing weekly happy hours, airing live on their social media channels, showcasing their new wine releases with the help of some celebrity guests. Authors, artists, Broadway stars, TV personalities, CEO’s, tech wizards, athletes and more have joined the conversation. Wine lovers can purchase the offerings in advance, tune in live and sip along with them. Past and upcoming guests include actress Catherine O’Hara, NBC’s Natalie Morales and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak.
Cline Family Cellars is perfect for a girlfriend getaway or a couple’s retreat with their newest experience - private cabanas enveloped by the beautiful landscapes of the Cline Great Lawn and spring-fed ponds. Guests will enjoy private, socially distant cabana for two hours with a bottle of Nancy's Sparkling Cuvée and a delicious provisions basket full of cheeses, crackers, nuts, salami included. A private host is available for any additional needs. Auteur Wines has renovated its back patio, turning it into a delightful outdoor tasting room right off the Plaza. Discover their world-class wines under their old-growth olive trees or our gorgeous shady magnolia trees.
Three Sticks Wines has just released their fall lineup and is hosting daily private appointments outside. In addition to daily tastings and virtual private tastings, we have begun hosting virtual events including corporate/large group tastings which are perfect for company team building events, happy hours, staff appreciation/engagement and private events, like bachelor and bachelorette parties and holiday gatherings.
Loxton Winery continues their tours of the crush pad, where visitors can watch grapes come in from the night harvest on their way to becoming premium Sonoma Valley wines. The tour provides a front row seat to harvest by allowing guests to watch as grapes are being sorted and crushed, see and smell fermentation, and get all of their production questions answered. Following the tour guests will be seated in our picnic area for a tasting of our current releases. Tours are usually offered daily (depends on the grapes) and reservations are required.
The Halloween Spirit will be on the menu at Paradise Ridge Winery’s winemaker Dinner Series at the Kenwood Inn & Spa. Guests who book Halloween night at the Inn will receive a bottle Paradise Ridge Bubbles in their room and the following day can enjoy a complimentary chocolate & wine pairing. The chocolates are infused with herbs straight from the gardens of Paradise, to be perfectly paired with their wines. The Inn is also preparing an Early Autumn Harvest five-course dinner. The menu includes delicious seasonal plates including chile lime prawns, duck confit, Coq au Vin and Chinook Salmon, each course accompanied by a Paradise Ridge wine.
Speaking of spirits, locally-owned Prohibition Spirits is now offering outdoor spirits tasting in the cocktail garden adjacent to their tasting room at Cornerstone Gardens. The small-group private tastings and food pairings are now being offered Thurs-Sun, noon to 5pm. Make a reservation to enjoy locally produced, small-batch distilled spirits in the beautiful Cornerstone gardens.
On October 2, 1950 the first published Peanuts comic strip was published and Charlie Brown and the gang became iconic American characters. The Charles M. Schulz Museum is celebrating the 70th anniversary with a series of online events. The museum is hosting everything from drawing and origami classes to live events with Jean Schulz and other influential cartoonists and animators.
Fall is the best time to get outside. Active Wine Adventures is introducing two exciting new Sonoma Hike & Wine Tours and a new Sonoma Hike & Beer Tour. These private adventures feature guided hikes in scenic areas of Sonoma Valley, with private outdoor tastings and lunch at wineries or microbreweries. You'll have plenty of sunshine, fresh air and social distance.
About Sonoma Valley, California
Located in the heart of Northern California wine country, Sonoma Valley is a 17-mile long area within Sonoma County, and which encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of Carneros, The Springs, Glen Ellen, and Kenwood. The birthplace of the state of California, as well as the state’s wine industry, the year-round destination is home to more than 100 premium wineries, 85 percent of which are family owned. For more information, visit SonomaValley.com, or follow us on Instagram at @sonoma_valley, and on Facebook at @ExperienceSonomaValley.
Note to editors: Photos of many of the businesses mentioned are available at https://sonomavalley.smugmug.com/. If you need something else, let us know and we will do our best to get it for you.
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