Wine Country Living: A Guide to the Region's Culture, Events, and Amenities

Misty mornings and sun-drenched hillsides define the stunning natural beauty of California’s wine country. This spectacular coastal region offers luxe relaxation and a resort approach to life with an elegant array of tony activities and rich cultural events. When it comes to wine country real estate, Sonoma sports some of the most incredible properties in the nation.

Stately mansions and opulent historical estates have alchemized into winery gold, inviting guests to bask in the tranquil scenery and majestic wine country vistas. California’s wine country region will keep your dance card full of fine dining, wine tastings, horseback riding, and so much more. Read on for a complete guide to the best in culture, events, and amenities in this enchanting area.


There are countless reasons to love wine country living, and, of course, wine tops the list. With so many celebrated choices, visiting vineyards alone could keep you busy night after night. These are just a few of the exquisite estates in Sonoma and Napa.

Chateau Montelena

1429 Tubbs Ln, Calistoga, CA

Prepare to be dazzled at Chateau Montelena Winery. This sprawling estate rolls over the green hills like something out of a fairytale. The unmatched beauty and old-world atmosphere set the stage for unprecedented elegance and a refined wine-tasting experience. The chateau offers a membership club that affords members access to exclusive events like the time-honored Moveable Feast, a prestigious dinner inviting tenured members to feast on a four-course, haute cuisine menu and sample the most celebrated Montelena varietals.

Domaine Carneros

1240 Duhig Road, Napa, CA

The glittering amenities at Domaine Carneros include picturesque landscapes and sparkling wines. Known for its pinot noir varietals and collection of bubbly, this imposing estate sports a warm, welcoming atmosphere and French-inspired design. The opulent 18th-century architecture and luxe interiors are the perfect backdrop against which guests can indulge in award-winning wine. The experience at Domaine Carneros is decidedly regal, and the membership club pampers members with the royal treatment. Private balcony wine tastings include treats like a pinot noir flight accompanied by artisan cheese boards and caviar.

Emeritus Vineyards

2500 Gravenstein Hwy N, Sebastopol, CA

In wine country, there is something in the water or, rather, the soil – Sonoma wineries are noted for their exceptional wines, and Emeritus Vineyards stands out as one of the best. With rich soil and a perfect climate, this celebrated estate enjoys prime conditions for creating velvety varietals. Sustainability drives the growing practices, and the proof is in the tasting. Emeritus wines are coveted for their elegant balance of flavors, and the vineyard itself is celebrated as a charming family-owned endeavor. Tastings and tours are available, while the membership club offers complimentary tastings and exclusive access to private events and limited-production wines.


Sonoma and Napa have a well-deserved reputation to uphold, and chefs understand the assignment – there is room here for only the very best in haute cuisine.

The French Laundry

6640 Washington St, Yountville, CA

From the talented palate of famed chef Thomas Keller comes a revelation of epicurean delight – The French Laundry. Lauded for a refined menu of seasonal fare and French classics, this elevated Napa bistro is set in a stately stone house. It features a daily changing menu of artisanal plates. The two tasting menus are simply exquisite, with each dish more artistic and creative than the last – a few delicate pearls of caviar lay atop of fresh oysters while chilled Nova Scotia lobster melts in the mouth.

La Salette

6757, 452 1st St E suite h, Sonoma, CA

Over in Sonoma, New Portuguese cuisine captures a loyal following at the outstanding LaSalette. Exotic flavors and seasonal California ingredients merge to create a mouthwatering collection of innovative dishes. From seared scallops with Japanese sweet potato puree to wood-oven-roasted sardines and whole branzino with saffron-parsley vinaigrette, the offerings are fit for the most discerning gourmand.


The social calendars in Sonoma and Napa boast an impressive array of festivals, from wine and cheese to film and food.

Sonoma International Film Festival

103 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA

The world’s top auteurs gather to honor filmmaking at the prestigious Sonoma International Film Festival. An elegant soiree featuring a seamless blend of wine, film, and food, this highly anticipated event is one of the art world’s best. Widely considered one of the top 25 coolest festivals, the Sonoma International Film Festival attracts the brightest talent from across the globe.

California Artisan Cheese Festival

1350 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA

There is perhaps no better partner for a crisp glass of wine than a plate of gourmet cheese, and the California Artisan Cheese Festival showcases the region’s delectable varieties. This lively celebration of wine’s soul mate features the area’s top cheese artisans and shines a much-deserved spotlight on the exceptional cheesemaking community. Come for the tours, tasting, cheese crawl, and famous marketplace show.

Outdoor recreation

The way the sunlight filters through the treetops and spills down the hillside in wine country is a sight to behold. Whether your brand of adventure includes hiking boots, riding boots, or top-siders, there are endless ways to indulge in the sweet sunshine and captivating beauty of the wine country landscape.


4200 Skaggs Springs Rd, Geyserville, CA

The azure waters of Lake Sonoma offer a serene setting for nautical style. Nestled at the base of steep hillsides and lush vineyards, this gorgeous lake is open to boaters and aquatic adventurers. Spend the afternoon sipping champagne and sailing, or get your feet wet with a rousing day of kayaking. You can even boat out to a secluded campsite and spend the night on the shore.


2400 London Ranch Rd, Glen Ellen, CA

Wine country hillsides are simply glorious. A setting this breathtaking begs for exploration, and hiking trails weave throughout the region, inviting residents and visitors to wander the great outdoors. Jack London State Historic Park is a bastion of blue skies and lush green grass devoted to cherishing the exceptional beauty of the area. Once the home of the eponymous literary hero, this pristine park invites guests to explore on horseback, lounge on a picnic blanket with a book and a good bottle of wine, or take a spin over the network of trails on a mountain bike.


6201 Channel Dr, Santa Rosa, CA

Wine country and horses go together like wine and cheese, and Napa and Sonoma sport numerous options for hoofing it around the scenic equestrian trails. Trione-Annadel State Park is one of the region’s best spots to ride horses, as the extensive trails are swathed in brilliant wildflowers and a hazy, tranquil atmosphere.

After living in Sonoma for more than 40 years, Mark Stornetta knows every inch of this spectacular region. His loyal clients praise his easygoing demeanor, strong communication skills, integrity, and razor-sharp negotiation skills. Mark and his Wine Country Real Estate team have a passion for matching clients with their dream wine country homes and serve as trusted advisors for investment opportunities and vineyard acquisition. If you are interested in touring homes for sale in Sonoma, contact Mark today.

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