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The Five Best Places to Go Hiking Tipsy in Sonoma

Hit the trail with a winery guide—and a roadie.

 

Anyone who’s lined up a day of wine tasting has faced a quandary that’s both logistical and metabolic: what to do in between the tastings that doesn’t involve near-incessant picnicking or, heaven forbid, getting behind the wheel of a car? Sonoma’s rolling landscape pretty much warrants its own Instagram filter, and these five wineries have plotted out hikes and walks that take you through the valley’s vineyards, orchards, and redwoods. Most come with a ticket price that includes a guide, lunch provisions, and on-trail tastings. A word of caution: No matter how athletic you are, or how easy a hike sounds, wearing high heels or flip-flops will probably lead to an up-close and personal meeting with the soil.

Seghesio Hike at Home Ranch
Saturdays, March 26, May 21, September 10, and October 15. 
10 a.m.–1 p.m. $75.

The wine: Seghesio is best known for their earthy, bold, fruit-forward zinfandels, especially the Home Ranch zinfandel, which comes from the estate where you’ll be hiking. 

The walk: Head to Cloverdale and join fourth- and fifth-generation Seghesio family members and vineyard managers Jim and Ned Neumiller on a hike through the vines. You’ll wind your way through the vineyards and up Rattlesnake Hill, stopping frequently for wine and water breaks. They describe the hike as “hard work,” but the payoff is a tasty lunch, which includes even more wine as you look out over lush Alexander Valley.  


Jordan Winery Spring and Fall Vineyard Hikes 
Saturdays, April 30 and November 5.
10 a.m.–2 p.m. $75.

The wine: Jordan exclusively makes cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, but they do so with great artistry and consistency. The cabernet is smooth, silky, and pairs well with pretty much any style of cuisine. And the chardonnay is crisp and acidic, with a welcome balance of fruit and oak. 

The walk: Fuel up for your Jordan Vineyards hike with breakfast atop the tallest hill on the 1200-acre property. Then head out for what the team calls a “moderately strenuous” four-mile trek through hills, valleys, and vineyards. The trail passes through a wildlife habitat, sustainably farmed vineyards, olive orchards, and wends around secluded lakes, a cattle ranch, and the chef's garden. Finish the tour back at the winery with charcuterie and lunch paired with the chardonnay and cabernet you’ve been dreaming of during the walk. 


Alexander Valley Vineyards Hikes

Year-round (weather permitting)
10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. $50.

The wine: Alexander Valley Vineyards is another winery that’s become quite famous for jammy and peppery zin, but their Cyrus red blend, Estate Syrah, and cabernet franc have also earned their share of plaudits. You’ll have fun tasting your way through the lineup.

The walk: Likely the easiest of the lot, this modest and educational hike through Alexander Valley Vineyards is still not a good spot for Jimmy Choos. Your guide will let you sip the wines while you examine the vines and hear about the different soils and farming techniques. You’ll have the opportunity to get simple or in-depth answers to all of your questions about grape growing and winemaking, and even sample grapes if the time is right. 

 
Kunde Hike and Taste 
Saturdays, April 30, June 25, and October 1.
9 a.m.–1 p.m. $30.

The wine: Kunde is known for great wines at modest prices. The Destination series is definitely worth your focus, since it’s offered only at the winery and through the wine club. Make sure to try the red blends and chardonnays, and you’ll want to venture into the reserve-level wines if you’re interested in the best of what Kunde offers. 

The walk: Another moderately strenuous hike, this trip is designed to be casual and fun, but they do suggest you bring hiking boots, water, and sunblock. You’ll enjoy a long hike through the 1,850-acre volcanic soils at Kunde Family Winery, where you’ll hear about sustainable growing practices, soils, and farming techniques. Wander through different ecosystems and learn about how each element contributes to the process of winemaking and the final flavor profiles of the wines, which you’ll taste along the way.  


Bartholomew Park Winery
Year-round, weather permitting.
Self-guided; free. 

The wine: The sauvignon blanc and syrah are top picks at this organically farmed vineyard. Expect bright spring flavors from the sauvignon blanc, with grassy and acidic notes to balance to the sweeter flavors of honey and nectarine. The syrah is deep and dark, and the earthiness of the wine mingles nicely with dark fruits and spice. 

The walk: Bartholomew Park Winery is located right in the middle of a 400-acre park in Sonoma. When you visit the winery, you get access to the picnic grounds, hiking trails, and a museum. Just behind the winery you’ll find approximately three miles of marked hiking trails that include oak groves, manzanita, madrone, redwoods, and fields of spring wildflowers. Caveat: We’d advise skipping the roadie on this self-guided hike, since you’re on your own and on park property. 

Shoutout to wine maven, Sonoma local, and hiking enthusiast Lisa Mattson for her tips.    


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