Many California wine regions offer special weekends where their wineries are open to the public for barrel tastings, festivals, winery showcases.  One of the best, in my opinion, is the Wine Growers of Dry Creek Valley’s Passport to Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma.

Napa and Sonoma are two of my favorite places in the United States to visit.  Besides having stunning scenery and wine and a fantastic food scene, they are home to some of my favorite memories.  Sonoma offers rich, vibrant Cabernets and Zinfandels, fruit forward Chardonnays, and crisp, grapefruity Savignon Blancs.


In this weekend of wine in April, over fifty wineries open their doors to “Passport” holders.  Some of these wineries are not typically open to the public.  Visitors purchase a pass to visit the wineries on Saturday and/or Sunday and enjoy complimentary wine tastings, an enormous amount of food at select wineries, and music.  It’s the best way to try new wines and reacquaint yourself with your favorites—and perhaps have a few barrel tastings along the way.  Participants receive a passport booklet to be stamped at each winery and space for tasting notes (imperative after an afternoon of tasting).  Each visitor also receives a tasting glass with the passport logo–a prized possession in my home!

During Passport Weekend, wineries often have themes for their décor, entertainment, and of course, the food.  Wineries offer Mediterranean, Southwestern and Californian cuisine as well as chocolates, oysters, and even barbeque.  Some wineries are legendary for their food—planning is essential to avoiding a long line—but even with the line, it is worth it (plus you get to wait while enjoying a glass of wine).

The event typically goes on sale in February and hotels and tickets go fast, so prior planning is imperative.  This year’s event held on April 26th and 27th is the 25th anniversary of the event. View a map of the wineries participating in Passoport to Dry Creek Valley.

We have had many clients over the years attend the festival both individually and in small or large groups.  It’s one of my favorite group trips of all time!!  Wine, food, music, friends….it doesn’t get any better than that!