Located in the San Francisco Bay area in southeastern Sonoma County is the Valley considered the birthplace of the California wine industry. The Sonoma Valley runs from Santa Rosa in the north to the San Pablo Bay in the south. Formed between the Mayacamas Mountains and Sonoma Mountains, Sonoma Valley was home to the earliest California Vineyards which survived both the phylloxera epidemic of the 1870s and the effects of 20th century prohibition.
Today along with being the home to over 100 wineries, The Valley plays host to events year-round. Along with historic wineries Sonoma Valley encompasses many other historic sites including the Jack London State Historic Park which preserves the land that Jack London called home. Visiting the Sonoma Valley includes hot springs resorts, historical buildings, and the history of the settlement of California by the missionaries.
The vineyards of the Sonoma Valley are as varied as the tastes of its wine. Award winning wines from Sonoma are made in wineries that include castles, Mediterranean influenced villas, garden chateaus and modern lounges. Grand estates, quaint wine cellars and subterranean caves are all a part of the winery tour experience in Sonoma Valley.
Paul, our driver and guide
A proper tour of the Sonoma Valley begins on the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. Whether you are a seasoned wine enthusiast, a novice, a sommelier or a history buff the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley offers an informative overview of the valley during a fun, friendly, relaxing, carefree day.
The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is a six-hour adventure aboard a replica California cable car. Your hand-built cable car is based on the original blueprints from the San Francisco cable cars that were in operation from the 1890s through the 1930s. It is an all wooden carriage detailed right down to the brass bell. The modern conveniences of the day have been added including a state-of-the-art sound system and PA, along with connections for iPod and iPhone. The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is an open-air cable car that lets you experience a panoramic view as you visit four of the world class wineries of The Valley.
On the day we travelled we were lucky to have Paul as our conductor on the guided Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley who explained the history, legacies, and folklore as we traveled the green valley from vineyard to vineyard. The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is a group friendly event that encourages making new friends along the way.
The day on the Wine Trolley includes a catered picnic lunch prepared by the Girl & the Fig Restaurant, noted for their country French cuisine, a visit to four selected wineries for a taste of the treasures of Sonoma and a day of knowledgeable adventure. The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley departs from Sonoma Plaza at 10:30 AM and returns at 4:30 PM. You must be 21 years old to purchase a ticket for the exclusive wine tasting adventures aboard the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley.
Along with the historical education, laughs and priceless views the Trolley tour visits four wineries. Winery visits on the tour vary because of seasonal and special events happening on certain days, the tour will always include a visit to four premium wineries for a semi-private tasting. Winery tasting fees are separate, ranging from $20-$30 per vineyard.
Wineries are selected for daily tours from the list of twelve regularly visited by the tour conductors of the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley. The selected wineries are chosen to provide visitors with a general overview of the Sonoma Valley Wine experience. Each of the chosen wineries offer a unique vineyard property and premium vintages.
On the day we took this fantastic tour we started at the Sonoma Barracks to learn the history of Sonoma.
First Winery Stop - Imagery Estate Winery
John, our driver and guide
The second winery - Benziger Family Winery
Midway through the tour lunch is served!
On this day we enjoyed Assorted Sandwiches (House Roasted Turkey, Cheddar, Apricot Fig Chutney and Salami, Pears, Red Onion Confit, Brie and Ham, Comte Cheese, Dijon) along with Grilled Eggplant, Salsa Verde, Hummus, Sprouts Salad and Provencal Potato Salad. Finally Decadent Chocolate Brownie,Fig Crisp with Walnut Streusel Topping and Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
Mark Leonardi General Manager Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
Third winery -Paradise Ridge Winery
Rene Byck, Proprietor Paradise Ridge Winery
Heather Baker at Mayo Family Winery
Fourth winery - Mayo Family Winery
The replica cable cars of the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley are available for private charter and rentals for company and personal events. As a unique transport for the wedding party, family tours, birthday parties, corporate promotions or fun for a group of family and friends you can charter a historically detailed cable car. Details and reservations are available by calling 707- 938 – 2600.
Reservations for the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley can be made online up to 3 hours before a tour departure.
The Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is located at 21707 8th Street East, Suite B - Sonoma, California 95476
Phone: (707) 938-2600
Story by Daniel Dachille and Laine Page
Voice over by Jim Reynold's
Some photos courtesy Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley