Ready to hit the wineries of California's Sonoma County and not sure how to go about it? Enter the Sonoma County app which lets you build your dream itinerary by helping you research events, hotels and experiences, and also offering discounts curated to you. Once you download the free app, you can click on categories like, “See/Do,” “Eat/Drink” and “Outdoors.” For instance, the Outdoors category opens up offerings like regional parks and golf courses, each anchored by a beautiful photo. You can then click on “add” to put that destination into your itinerary. Once you have all your destinations added, the app creates driving directions.
Of course, most people are coming to this area 30 miles north of San Francisco for the winery options, and under Eat/Drink, you can further limit the search to show you only wineries (or breweries, cider houses, distilleries, restaurants and artisanal producers like cheese makers and chocolatiers). Whew!
The Events tab shows you things happening in the area, and you can click “join” to add them to your travel plan. For instance, right now the app suggests the 30th annual Winter WINEland event happening Jan. 14-15, where 70 wineries in the Alexander, Dry Creek and Russian River valleys are participating for a progressional tasting tour. If an event requires a sign-up, the app automatically takes you to the proper form.
Once you have an itinerary, you can share it with friends through social media, text or email. You don’t have to use the app on your phone; if you want a larger screen, you can work on a computer or tablet (and your selections will also show up on your phone). The app includes a handy weather tab to ensure your plans match up with what Mother Nature is thinking.
Finally, there are built-in rewards for using the app, with status badges and the chance to win free experiences. You can compete against friends to see who can meet your “three day wine tasting streak” or your “wine tasting explorer” goals. You simply check in with your phone at any winery within the app. The goals also apply to visiting spas and parks, and doing experiences like ziplining and hot air ballooning, hitting the beach and more.