11 Top Sonoma Vineyard Hikes – Best Wine Country Activities 2017

This story originally appeared in California Winery Advisor.

Spring is here. The vines are coming back to life and soon the grapes will start to develop. It is the perfect time to head to Sonoma. But why stand inside a tasting room or head into a barrel room. Put your feet on the ground and get up close and personal with the vines by taking a hike through the vineyard. This is the best way to understand how important “place” is to wine.

Now, you cannot just pull off the side of the road and walk into any vineyard you like. But luckily a handful of wineries in Sonoma offer guided and self-guided hikes through their vineyards. So, put on your hiking shoes and get walking! Of course, as these hikes are in wine country, wine tasting is typically part of the hike.

Jordan Winery

1474 Alexander Valley Rd
Healdsburg, CA 95448

www.jordanwinery.com

Jordan Vineyard & Winery sits on 1200 acres in Alexander Valley AVA in Sonoma County. On the property is 112 acres planted to grapes, 18 acres of olive trees, a one-acre garden, two lakes and several grazing pastures. Three-quarters of the property has been preserved as a natural habitat, home to geese, ducks, rabbits and turkeys. Jordan Winery offers six guided hikes each year. Upon arrival, you will be driven in a luxury van to Vista Point, the highest hilltop on the property for a continental breakfast. After taking photos of the extraordinary views and having a bite to eat, the hike will commence. Covering three miles of hills and valleys, the hike will pass through the sustainably farmed vineyards, the natural wildlife habitat, the cattle ranch, secluded lakes, the chef’s garden,

Jordan Winery offers six guided hikes each year. Upon arrival, you will be driven in a luxury van to Vista Point, the highest hilltop on the property for a continental breakfast. After taking photos of the extraordinary views and having a bite to eat, the hike will commence. Covering three miles of hills and valleys, the hike will pass through the sustainably farmed vineyards, the natural wildlife habitat, the cattle ranch, secluded lakes, the chef’s garden, apiary, and orchards. The hike will pause mid-way for a tasting of Jordan Estate Olive Oil and at the end of the hike, a wine tasting with charcuterie will be offered on the winery terrace.

Timing of Hikes: Six hikes each year (in April, May, June, July and November) at 9:45am – 2:00pm

Intensity of Hike: Moderate

Cost of Hike: $95, reservation required

Alexander Valley Vineyards

8644 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448

www.avvwine.com

The next hike is located in Alexander Valley. Alexander Valley Vineyards is owned by the Wetzel Family. The winery offers a grape to glass tour. This guided hike through the Wetzel Family Estate demonstrates why valley namesake, Cyrus Alexander, called the property “the brightest and best spot in Northern Sonoma.” The hike will pass by the working winery, the original 1868 Alexander Valley

The hike passes by the working winery, the original 1868 Alexander Valley school, and the Alexander homestead. You will truly understand the vineyards while tasting wines from where the grapes are grown. Following the hike, you will visit the underground wine cave and taste barrel samples, followed by a wine country picnic.

Timing of Hikes: Monday through Saturday at 10:30am

Intensity of Hike: Easy

Cost of Hike: $50, reservation required

Seghesio Family Wines

24035 Chianti Rd
Cloverdale, CA 95425

www.seghesio.com

On to Seghesio Winery, where family members Jim and Ned Neumiller, the 4th & 5th generation vineyard managers, lead the guided hike. Walk through the 120-year-old vines at the Home Ranch estate. The historic estate dates back to 1895.

The hike will take you past the zinfandel and Italian varietals as you head to the top of Rattlesnake Hill. Wine and water are provided along the hike. The hike concludes with more wine and lunch at a scenic perch overlooking the Alexander Valley.

Timing of Hikes: March 25, May 20, Sept 9, 2017 at 10:00am – 1:00pm

Intensity of Hike: Easy

Cost of Hike: $75, reservation required

Kunde

PO Box 639
9825 Sonoma Hwy
Kenwood, CA 95452

www.kunde.com

Next, you can explore where five generations of the Kunde family have farmed the 1850-acre estate in Kenwood in Sonoma. Five times each year, fourth-generation winegrower, Jeff Kunde, or longtime employee, John Hardman, lead a group of 50 people through the property.

Your hike begins on the Sonoma Valley floor and you hike 1400 feet into the Mayacamas Mountain range. As a sustainable winery, Kunde takes a holistic winegrowing approach. They aim to reduce their environmental impact. Hiking through the vineyard gives you a chance to experience the sustainable winegrowing up close. You will also witness the distinct ecosystems and native habitats on the estate that impact the grape growing.

Timing of Hikes: April 9, June 11, August 13, October 22 and December 3, 2017 at 9:00am – 1:00pm

Intensity of Hike: Moderate

Cost of Hike: $30, reservation required

Additional Sonoma Vineyard Hikes Information

For self-guided hikes, the Sonoma County Winegrowers have put together a program called Vineyard Adventures (www.sonomavineyardadventures.com) to promote their commitment to become the nation’s first 100% sustainable winegrowing region. Head to one of these wineries and ask about Vineyard Adventures inside the Tasting Room, they will give you a map for the vineyard walks.

Read the original story in California Winery Advisor.

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