Dry Creek Valley
Nestled in the heart of Sonoma County and best known for its Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley offers more than a century of grape-growing history and is one of the first California growing regions recognized as an official American Viticultural Area (AVA. With more than 9,000 acres of vines and 70+ wineries to choose from, the Dry Creek Valley is an oenophile's paradise.
Officially recognized as an AVA in 1983, the valley first started growing grapes shortly after the Gold Rush, but came to a screeching halt during Prohibition. It wasn’t until the 1970s that the area started to pick back up again. At roughly 16 miles (26 kilometers) long and 2 miles (3 kilometers) wide, Dry Creek Valley is one of the smallest AVAs in the area, but with more than 140 years of growing history under its belt, it's one the densest collection of Old Vine Zinfandel in the world. Wine tasting tours to this beautiful region typically include visits to multiple family-operated wineries, enjoyed at a leisurely pace, ensuring a relaxed day of vino sipping.
Things to know before you go
- Bring warm, light layers as it tends to cool off in the evening.
- You must be 21 years or older to consume alcohol.
- Make sure you have a designated driver to take you back home.
- Be sure to wear comfortable shoes as some tours are active.
How to get there
Following along the US-101 North, Dry Creek Valley is 70 miles north of San Francisco, or roughly one hour from the Golden Gate Bridge by car.
When to get there
Depending on what tour you book, departure times may vary. But to enjoy the warm, Mediterranean weather northern California is known for, consider visiting wine country during spring (March through May) or late summer/early fall (August through October).
While You’re There
Located just southeast of Dry Creek Valley is the quaint Sonoma County town of Healdsburg. Downtown Healdsburg in particular is packed with charming boutiques, cozy tasting rooms, and delicious dining options.