By Rebecca Germolus
Welcome, Wine Bloggers, to the upcoming 10th annual conference in Sonoma County’s Wine Country. As one of this year’s sponsors, Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County, wants to help make your visit the best it can be. The following is some information about what we offer to visitors, resources on our website that you can use and share with your readers, and a glimpse into our very special slice of Wine Country.
Wine Road’s Scope
The Wine Road is an association of over 200 wineries and 50 lodgings in the Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River Valleys of Northern Sonoma County. Within these three appellations, you can discover mile after mile of breathtaking scenery, superb weather, exquisite wines, and plenty of knowledgeable and friendly folks whose goal is to give the best customer service possible while sharing information about their wines and their wineries. You might also ask them for recommendations for other wineries, places to stay or dine, things to do, and their favorite places to take out-of-town visitors.
What We Have to Offer
The Wine Road’s membership includes a broad spectrum of wineries from very large internationally known and distributed brands to micro-brands with one person doing it all, and everything in between. The majority of our winery members are smaller producers, often with limited or no distribution outside their tasting room and website. Many of the wineries are multi-generational, with family continuing the traditions. One example is a Wine Road’s founding member, Pedroncelli. During 2017, Pedroncelli is celebrating their 90th anniversary and have second, third and fourth generation family members working side-by-side daily.
The Wine Road works with our membership to hold three major annual tasting events—Winter WINEland, Barrel Tasting, and Wine & Food Affair—and several other events including Breakfasts with the Winemakers, Magical Mystery Tours, and in 2018, a new Rhone-focused event.
Stories Along the Wine Road
Some winery members have grand buildings, expansive gardens, and impressive views, while others are more the garagiste-type wineries, located in a warehouse district, yet making equally impressive wines. And the Wine Road winery members have an equal number of stories to go along with their brands. The Along the Wine Road blog now has member guest bloggers who share glimpses into their personal lives with stories that reflect the same depth found in their wines. The guest blogs have included a winemaker whose side gig was being a pyrotechnican and a winery owner who is also a long-term volunteer firefighter and first responder.
When the Wine Road’s founding nine wineries and one lodging member came together in 1976, there was no internet, no cell phones, or no specialized maps to help wine lovers find their way through the back roads of Sonoma County. This fledging organization’s main goal was to print a map so folks could find them. Fast forward 40+years, and the Wine Road is still printing and distributing a map, but now the same information is available online. The Wine Road’s online map resources include a customizable map that allows visitors to create a map with just the locations they want to visit. Or, if preferred, visitor can download the Wine Road app (iPhone version), but be forewarned that many of our beautiful back roads don’t have cell service.
Wine Road Resources
Every winery and lodging along the Wine Road wants visitors to experience our area the way we do. To help them get the most out of their visit, the Wine Road offers at host of resources on our website. We also offer a concierge service for visitors who want help planning their trip.
Here is a list of some of our online resources:
Upcoming winery events
Winery database searchable by name, region, wine type, and amenities
Lodging database searchable by name, region, type of lodging, and amenities
Downloadable maps or online form to order a hard copy map
A list of wineries that offer wine & food pairings
A list of wineries that offer tours
A growing list of artisanal food & beverage businesses in the area
Recreation opportunities to enjoy in between wine tasting
Wineries and lodging that offer event rental space
Recipe database filled with food & wine pairing ideas
In 2016, the Wine Road added a podcast—Wine Road: The Wine, When, and Where of Northern Sonoma County. Milly Winehouse and DJ Bethy Beth share tips about places to go, things to do, wines to enjoy, and much more.
It is often helpful to learn a more about an area before traveling to it. It is equally helpful to have some information about wine tasting and wine before visiting wine country. Under Wine 101, the Wine Road’s website covers the following topics:
You can also enjoy a humorous tasting etiquette video entitled “Rules of the Road” by going to the Wine Road’s home page and clicking on the Video box, or check it out on Vimeo.
One of the best offerings in the county is the Wine Road’s Tasting Pass. Purchase a one-day pass for $30 and gain access to over 60 participating wineries. Each participating winery offers three complimentary tastings. The perfect solution for folks who just exploring the region to get the flavor of it, and want to visit multiple wineries without paying a tasting fee at each location.
The Wine Road and its members offer even more, but we hope this gives you enough of a glimpse to pique your curiosity. Come explore along the Wine Road when you’re in Sonoma County this November or whenever you’re ready for another memorable wine-centric adventure. We are always open.
p.s. If you’d like more information regarding the Wine Road, please feel free to contact Mysty Stewart at Mysty@WineRoad.com.
Guest Blogger information:
Rebecca Germolus writes the Along the Wine Road blog, which is published every other Tuesday. The alternating Tuesday, Wine Road members write guest blogs.
Rebecca, co-owner of Maximum Value Marketing, loves Sonoma County and playing along the Wine Road. She daily immerses herself in wine country by providing cost-effective marketing and writing solutions to wineries and restaurants.