While they don’t literally send barrels of wine down the Russian River to the Pacific wine fleet, they do produce a lot of wine these days in northwest Sonoma County. The Russian River Wine Road is a collective of wineries and lodgings that aim to draw more people out to see the great wine and beautiful geography their area has to offer.
There are over 120 wineries in the area, and 50 places to stay and recover from all the wine “tasting” you can handle in a day. Througout the year, they host seminars and events at different locations, every thing from the traditional wine tasting to cooking classes. On the site they also have a “wine 101 section,” where neophytes can learn enough to at least sound like they know what they’re talking about when they’re in country.
The whole world centers around the river, however, and there’s nothing like jumping in an inner tube in the summertime and spending the day drifting west with the gentle current, the sun heating the water three feet deep, kids and teenagers leaping from ropes along the bank into the river’s shallow depths. It’s hard to imagine doing this in the wintertime. At least there’s still the wine.