Looking for a Wine Tour that goes above and beyond the usual? Thunderstar Stages will introduce you to:
Sonoma and Napa Valley back country and back roads with intriguing, yet little-known history.
Wineries where the owner and winemaker are often the hosts who are proud to show you their caves, production facilities, barrel rooms.
Perhaps even invite you to enjoy a charming picnic area.
THE PERFECT WINE COUNTRY EXPERIENCE
We specialize in wine tours through the heart of Wine Country. Travel around Sonoma and Napa counties where:
The wine is as diverse as the views of the awe-inspiring landscape.
Perfect weather, vine-covered slopes, sustainable practices and biodynamic techniques come together to produce some of the world’s most celebrated wines.
More than 425 wineries in Sonoma County alone welcome you to their tasting rooms.
You can sample some of the more than 60 locally produced, world-class varietals representing 18 American Viticultural Areas.
We offer custom van/shuttle bus tours. When you call to set up a tour, tell us which wineries or varietals you want to experience. Please review the Sonoma Wine website from which to choose two or three wineries to visit sonomawine.com/Sonoma-County-Wineries. Or ask us for suggestions to help you make the most of your day in Wine Country.
The pace is leisurely, ideal for enjoying the area’s great vintages. Our friendly, professional drivers know the highways and byways (and they’ll keep DUI concerns from spoiling your day). Because we travel in vans and shuttle buses, we can access amazing boutique wineries. Thanks to our small groups, our tours are intimate. You’ll learn the skill of wine tasting and why so many of Europe’s great wine grapes thrive in this part of Northern California. By day‘s end, you’ll have a barrel of memories to take home with you.
TIPS FOR A GOOD TIME:
Spitting is Normal and Expected
You can have a great time even without drinking all the wine — in fact, the pour isn’t really intended for you to drink. Sure, everybody says, “I just can’t spit out good wine!” That one’s really old. Actually, spitting is what wine professionals always do.
In a wine cellar, you can spit in the drain; outside, you can spit in the gravel.
In the tasting room, it can get a little tricky — even a sommelier may be put off by a brimming dump bucket. Don’t be afraid to ask for a spitty cup, or bring your own plastic picnic cup (this is routinely provided at wine tastings but is sadly absent from many tasting rooms).
Tasting technique: Take a good sip of wine, hold it in your mouth for a few seconds, then discreetly spit it out. Later, pour out the remainder of the cup. If you like the wine, keep a final sip for yourself — you’re not likely to get intoxicated on a quarter ounce at a time, but do keep track.
Learn to Swirl
Have you ever seen in the movies how people swirl their glasses and sniff the wine before taking a sip? It looks impressive, but it’s not for show. Swirling gets more oxygen into the wine and helps it “breathe,” softening the flavors and enhancing the fragrance. It allows you to better appreciate the wine’s bouquet before taking your first sip.
Swirling is best (and most safely) done by holding the bottom of the wine glass stem. Swirl 5-8 times, then go for it!
Rohnert Park Roberts Lake Park & Ride
(by Golf Course Dr. and Roberts Lake Rd.)
Smart Train Depot, 8100 Santero Way, Cotati, CA 94931Departure Time:
Park & Ride
(Healdsburg Ave. and Grant Ave.)
MEETING AND PICK-UP:
We’re happy to pick you up from your home, hotel, SMART train station, Vallejo or Larkspur Ferry Terminal, or a pre-arranged location that fits your needs. Rates will vary depending on pickup location.
At the end of the tour we’ll be happy to call you a cab, drop you off at a nearby restaurant, hotel or any safe place so you won’t need to drive.
WINE TASTING FEES
Tasting fees vary widely. The average is currently about $25 to $45 per guest for anywhere from four to nine samples (an ounce or two). Some wineries charge less and some charge more. Nearly all wineries charge these fees, but some will waive them if you make a purchase.
Although many of our local wineries welcome dogs, for the safety of other passengers and our drivers we cannot accommodate dogs on our vans or mini buses at this time. Thank you for your understanding.
If you have any questions, please call or email us and we’ll be happy to help.
Must be a mature adult, ready to enjoy wine responsibly, 21 years or older, to participate in this tour.
Alcohol service is conducted by winery staff members.
Please note: Private Tours are not available on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day and Easter.