Best Hiking in Sonoma County: Vineyard Hikes with Views
When I want to go wine tasting, my natural tendency, as a local, is to hop in the car and go find a tasting room. It’s the easiest route to a splash in the glass. No appointment, no planning. But so many wine lovers want to take their wine country getaways to another level, getting closer to the grapevines and the great outdoors. And maybe get a little bit of exercise. A few wineries have answered the call and added a whole new way to experience a wine tour: offering hiking in their Sonoma vineyards (by appointment on select days). Many of these vintners have some of the best views in the region. These hikes vary in length, style, and frequency but all of them get visitors out of the tasting room and into the vines. Here’s a rundown on some of our favorite vineyard hiking in Sonoma County.
Best Hiking in Sonoma County: Vineyard Hikes with Views
Jordan Vineyard & Winery
The 1,200-acre Jordan Estate in Healdsburg offers plenty of room to roam, and the winery’s seasonal Vineyard Hike events cover about four miles of trails in a four-hour immersion like no other. Tours begin with continental breakfast at the winery chateau, then head out into the ranchland. The moderate tromp passes through woods, meadows, and sustainably farmed vineyards before a break at Jordan Vista Point, the highest hilltop on the scenic property. From the top, there’s a 360-degree view of the entire Alexander Valley. There’s also a great tasting of Jordan Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil and other refreshments. From there, the group descends 300 feet into the olive orchards, winds around a lake, and heads past a cattle pasture to the chef’s garden and apiary. The experience concludes back at the winery chateau, with a charcuterie picnic and wine tasting on the terrace. Offered on select dates in April, May, June and October for $110 per person. These Sonoma County hikes are announced in Jordan’s monthly newsletter and sell out quickly, so it’s best to sign up for their mailing list.
Jordan Vineyard & Winery, 1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA, 707-431-5250, jordanwinery.com
Alexander Valley Vineyards
What makes the lunch hike at Alexander Valley Vineyards different from the rest on this list? Weather permitting, this tromp is available every Monday – Saturday at 10:30 a.m. (It is also the lowest-elevation of the Sonoma wineries hiking trails, so the views are of benchlands rather than mountains.) The 90-minute excursion is an easy stroll from the tasting room through the vineyards while tasting wine where it’s grown. Along the way, the group passes the winery building, the original Alexander Valley school building, and the Alexander homestead. Tour guides regale hikers with area history, which, in this part of the valley, dates back more than 150 years. They also provide perspective on the evolution of farming practices, and information about any wildlife you might see. The tour ends with a barrel tasting in the cave. Guests can enjoy their picnic lunch (and wine) on the deck at the tasting room or at picnic tables in the vineyard. Price: $50 per person. 48-hour notice required.
Alexander Valley Vineyards, 8644 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA, 707-433-7209, avvwine.com
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Gun Bun, located just outside the town of Sonoma, boasts 320 acres straddling three Sonoma AVAs, so there’s plenty to explore here. This historic winery was founded in 1858 and they offer a seasonal, 90-minute vineyard walk with Instagrammable views and plenty of fascinating stories. A wine educator will entertain you with Gun Bun’s winemaking history as well as sustainable farming practices while you walk and sip wine where it was born — their Rhinefarm estate. The guided tour includes a tasting of five wines plus a catered picnic lunch to enjoy at your leisure anywhere on the property. They describe this Sonoma vineyard hike as moderately strenuous and advise on wearing comfortable shoes. Available Saturdays and Sundays at 11:30 a.m. from April to August. Reservations required.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery, 2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA, 707-938-5277, gunbun.com
Kunde Family Winery
Heading south, hiking in Sonoma Valley, there is another historic winemaking family that has offered vineyard exploration for several years. There are two different hiking options at Kunde Family Winery in Kenwood. Both are moderately strenuous. The first, dubbed “Hike & Taste in the Vineyards,” is a four-hour adventure that meanders from the tasting room through a range of ecosystems and native habitats. This tour offers basic science interpretation—and tastes of wine—along the way, including a look at their sustainable farming practices. The hike, which costs $40 per person, concludes back at the winery. Reservations are required and this hike is offered twice per year. The second option, their “Dog Hike,” is a similar itinerary, only it includes lunch and is designed for visitors and their dogs. This latter tour is led by winegrower Jeff Kunde, his wife Roberta and their dogs Cooper and Kalie. A portion of the $90 per-person fee will be donated to Dogwood Animal Rescue Project and the Sonoma County Humane Society. Reservations are required and it’s offered several times per year. For more information about both hikes, see the website.
Kunde family Winery, 9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA, 707-282-1537, kunde.com
Bartholomew Estate Winery
On the outskirts of the town of Sonoma, Bartholomew Estate Winery is an organic property once operated by Gundlach Bundschu. They offer access to three miles of expansive hiking trails in the hills behind the winery. Trails are moderate to difficult in places and are free to roam. The nonprofit foundation of Bartholomew Park maintains the 375-acre property and is open from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. daily and the tasting room is open from 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. daily. No reservations required.
Bartholomew Estate Winery, 1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma, CA, 707-509-0450, bartholomewestate.com
If you’d prefer to a hike without a guide, Sonoma County Vineyard Adventures, a program run by the Sonoma County Winegrowers, facilitates a number of self-guided walking tours, some of which also involve vineyard tromps. For more information, visit their website.
To slay additional thirst after your hike, be sure to read our advice on where to taste wine in Sonoma County.