For a trip that’s all about leisure, soak up Sonoma’s choice wineries and sweeping vistas

by Caitlin Flynn

SONOMA — Even for adventure seekers, sometimes you just need a true vacation — one filled with relaxation, delicious meals, wine and retiring to the whirlpool at a luxurious hotel. If your weekend getaway goal is to chill out, California’s Sonoma Valley fits the bill.

Sonoma is the birthplace of California’s wine industry. It’s where the first commercial vineyards were planted in the early 19th century. So while it’s a relatively small area geographically, Sonoma Valley boasts a wide array of wineries, 85% of them family-owned. And with a more laid-back vibe than nearby Napa Valley — and plenty of opportunities to sip wine while taking in beautiful surroundings — it’s the epitome of leisure.

Tastings galore

Although I’d be the first to say there’s no such thing as too many wine tastings, I highly recommend mixing it up a bit and going for a vodka tasting at Hanson of Sonoma Distillery ( This family-owned distillery offers a wide variety of unique vodkas distilled from organically farmed grapes and infused with a range of fruits and vegetables including cucumber, ginger, habanero and mandarin. Call in advance to request a tour of the distillery room so you can see where the magic happens. Then let the informed staff whip up the martini of your dreams.


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