SONOMA, Calif. (KRON) – After months of sheltering-in-place and travel restrictions, Sonoma County wine country has re-opened to travelers from outside of the county. Local wineries are making good use of their wide-open backyards to welcome visitors back. Our travel enthusiast Dana Rebmann joined KRON4.

As wineries reopen, many are combining the wine they’re famous for with new opportunities to get outside and enjoy some fresh-air.

Sonoma County Wine Country

Let’s head to the Russian River Valley. La Crema’s 200-plus acre estate boasts more than just vineyards. Along with oaks and redwoods, you’ll find fruit trees and colorful gardens.

Now folks have the opportunity to get to know the nooks and crannies of the estate on the new walking tour and tasting. Available daily at 11am, it’s limited to a maximum of six guests; masks and reservations are required!

The first 45 minutes or so, is a guided walk, then you sit down for the tasting either on the patio or indoors, your choice. Masks are required for everything but the wine tasting and hand sanitizer is in generous supply. ($75 per person)

At Notre Vue Estate Winery & Vineyards in Windsor, with the purchase of three bottles of wine, you can become a wine club member for the day for free. And that gets you access to the 700 acre property with more than 14 miles of trails, to hike, bike, or maybe have a picnic by the lake.

You need to make a reservation, but being organized comes with the benefit of essentially having a park to yourself.

Notre Vue is also using its open space to hold socially distanced events throughout the summer. Along with virtual fireworks tonight, there are sunset runs, yoga, and there’s even a drive-in movie night on the calendar. (Wine prices start in the $20 range per bottle. ($24))

In Healdsburg, Jordan Winery boasts almost 900 acres of open space. Now, four days a week they’re offering guided four-mile hikes that end with a seated wine tasting and picnic one of the winery’s terraces. It’s limited to 10 people. Masks are required whenever you can’t social distance, but that should not be an issue for a vast majority of the hike. ($110 per person)

If you’re not looking to break a sweat, the winery is also offering a French bistro-style lunch and wine pairing on select days. It’s limited to

12 guests, and masks are required whenever you need to get up from your table. ($110 per person)

Virtual Wine Tastings

Travel – even daytrips – has never been more about knowing your comfort zone. The wine industry is doing everything they can to keep visitors and their community safe.

If you’re not ready, that’s okay. There are countless virtual wine tasting options being offered. And they’re particularly great if you’re trying to reconnect a large group of people. In June, Bouchaine Vineyards hosted a virtual tasting for more than 100 graduates from UC Berkeley’s Hass School of Business.

It’s an informal tradition for seniors from the business school to head to wine country for a day. Instead of letting COVID-19 crush the practice, they made the trip virtually.

Bouchaine Vineyards was developing virtual tastings before the pandemic, so they had a bit of a jumpstart. Virtual offerings with three bottles of wine, starting at $59, including the shipping.

For more about Dana’s adventures and writing, follow her on Instagram @danarebmann and Twitter @drebmann. You can also visit her website.

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