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Backpacker Magazine – November 2009

Natural Wonders: Sonoma Valley's Wine Country

Wine making and hiking come together perfectly in the Sonoma Valley, where California meets the Mediterranean.

by: Jayme Otto

Sonoma Vally's Wine Country (Thomas Hallstein)
Sonoma Vally's Wine Country (Thomas Hallstein)

Sonoma Valley's Wine Country | Pacific Northwest's Salmon Run | Maui's Nakalele Blowhole

The Wonder
For 7,000 years, grapes–or more accurately, the wine they produce–have wowed humans worldwide. Winemaking and hiking come together perfectly in Northern California, where Russian colonists planted the area's first grapes in 1812. Vineyards flourished in Sonoma and Napa Valleys' hot, dry summers and cool, wet winters; the area now produces some of the world's best wines.

The Way
From Santa Rosa, take US 12 east past Glen Ellen to the Sonoma Valley Regional Park. From the gate at the end of the lot, pick up an unmarked trail for a four-mile out-and-back. During summer and fall, hike through sun-dried fields of prairie grasses (flowers in spring) into California oak woodlands. Pause a quarter-mile in for sweeping views of the B.R. Cohn Winery. Silvery-green olive trees grow alongside the neat rows of grape vines. Apres hike, head a mile farther down US 12 to the winery. Wander through the eight acres of cabernet sauvignon grapes and 140-year-old olive groves. Then visit the tasting room ($10 to sample current vintages). brcohn.com; sonoma-county.org/parks




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Reader Rating: -

READERS COMMENTS

Catherine Hyde
Mar 31, 2011

You've got to be kidding me. The making of wine is now a wonder of nature? I can see the draw for some people, but to put this is in with natural phenomena just seems silly.

BMTA Bob from GA
Feb 13, 2010

My wife and I have enjoyed hiking the trails of Armstrong Redwoods State Park which is very near the Russian River vineyards in Sonoma County.

BMTA Bob from GA
Feb 13, 2010

My wife and I have enjoyed hiking the trails of Armstrong Redwoods State Park which is very near the Russian River vineyards in Sonoma County.

Evan Pemberton
Dec 17, 2009

My recommendation is to hike the Sonoma Ridge and Mt. Trail loop here:
http://www.jacklondonpark.com/

Then take the biodynamic wine tour here:
http://www.benziger.com/

The two are right next to each other just outside the town of Sonoma.

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