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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Winter 2012-13 wine events in Sonoma County

Major Wine-Related Events for 
December 2012 and January / February 2013

This is the off-season in the wine country and it's a great time to visit. What to expect:
  • There won't be any crowds (except on major event weekends). If you go on a weekday you could be the only people some wineries see all day!
  • At smaller wineries you have a chance to chat with the owner or winemaker.
  • Small crowds also means not much traffic, it's easy to find hotel rooms and get dinner reservations.
  • The weather can be 70 and sunny or 48 and raining so check the forecast.

There are various holiday events, crab feeds, etc. besides these few major events listed below. Yes, winter is crab season in the San Francisco Bay Area. It's also the time to see the gray whale migration at the coast.

From Lytton Springs Winery in January

December 2012

Many wineries have their own holiday open house events on the weekends leading up to Christmas. Check with your favorites and see if they have anything going on.

Almost all wineries are closed on Christmas Day; some will close early, or all day, on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve. If you plan on visiting at the holidays call in advance to be sure they will be open.

January 2013

Most wineries are closed on New Years Day.

19-20 Winter Wineland. It's the 21st year for this open house of wine, food, and art at over a hundred wineries in northern Sonoma County. This is the big wine event for the winter. Info


For Valentine's Day several wineries put on chocolate and wine pairings or even host a lunch or dinner. Check with your favorites to see if they have anything going on.

1-14 Russian River Brewery. No, nothing to do with wine, but this has become a big event. The annual release of Pliny the Younger, a 100 point double-IPA that beer nerds come in from all over to sample. The lines form at the pub every morning during these two weeks. Hint: Don't show up on Superbowl Sunday.

15  VinOlivo. Wine is the #1 ag crop in Sonoma County, but olives are #2. This event celebrates both. Info

15-18 Cloverdale Citrus Fair includes a wine competition. Info

23  Eighth Street Wineries Open House. Several small producers in a warehouse area of Sonoma open up for visitors. Info

23 Mr. Healdsburg Pagent. No, I don't get it, but the women really enjoy this. And, of course, they serve wine. Info
Local fireman hoping to be crowned Mr. Healdsburg
Image from


1-3 and 8-10 The first two weekends of March are the Barrel Tasting weekends. Open house at over 100 wineries. The greatest concentration of wineries and over-imbibers is in Healdsburg and on Dry Creek Road. If you want to party then that's the place to be; if you don't then stay in Russian River Valley or Alexander Valley.  Info

January in the Russian River Valley