Ten things to consider when visiting Wine Country:

  1. Hire a car or have a designated driver. Even if you’re careful, you’ll probably drink more wine than you expect.
  2. Plan to spend more than one day to see what you want without being stressed or feeling like you missed something special.
  3. Include week days as part of your trip for the peak months of July through September to get the best deals on lodging and reservations at popular restaurants.
  4. Visit during off-peak months to take advantage of restaurant deals, lodging packages with more “extras” included, and less crowded tasting rooms. Sonoma’s restaurant week in March offers three-course dinners for $19, $29, or $39 at popular restaurants.
  5. Most lodging properties require two-night stays if you check in on a Friday or Saturday night, especially during peak months.
  6. Schedule your day before you start and don’t do too much. Distances are deceiving and traffic is always worse than expected. (Besides, it’s difficult to really enjoy more than five wineries a day.)
  7. Consider the kind of wine you enjoy or want to try when planning your trip. There are 32 separate wine growing regions between Sonoma and Napa alone, each with unique soils and climates that grow different grape varieties.
  8. No matter what time of year you visit, there’s almost always a festival or special activity of some sort going on. Check website event calendars when planning your trip.
  9. Pour out what you don’t drink. Don’t feel that you need to drink everything in the glass (even if two of you are sharing a glass). This is important if you are going to enjoy the many wines you might sample during the day.
  10. Take notes. You might think you’ll remember the name of that delicious wine you loved in the morning, but by the afternoon you probably won’t.

Interesting facts: one acre of grapes = 3,958 bottles of wine; one acre of grapes = 15,940 glasses of wine; 12 bottles of wine (one case) = 30 pounds of grapes or 48 glasses of wine.