Reviews of the Best Sonoma Wine Tours

This post compares wine tours around Sonoma. We include tour descriptions, scheduling, costs, and pick-up/drop-off information. We also share reviews of the tours to help you choose the best tour for you.

 

Disclosure:
While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.

 


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GROUP WINE TOURS OF SONOMA

Below is our list of the most highly rated companies offering group tours of Sonoma. Note that many of these companies also offer wine tours of Napa. Read more from our post on the best Napa Valley Wine Tours

Before booking a tour, always consider added costs (such as wine tasting fees and lunch) when calculating the final cost of the tour.  See more helpful tips below.


Gray Line Tours

In addition to their many other bus tours, Gray Line also offers a Deluxe Sonoma & Napa Valley Wine Country Tour that visits three different wineries and are given free time to explore and have lunch in Yountville.

A nice feature is that, unlike many of the other companies, the wine tasting fees are included in this tour. Lunch is not, however.

Also, for families traveling together, Gray Line permits children on their tours, though the drinking age is 21 years old.

 

Napa Valley Vineyard

 

One plus is that in addition to two centrally-located meeting points in San Francisco, Gray Line offers complimentary hotel pick-up for select hotels.

One downside is that Gray Line tours have a capacity of up to 40 guests. That doesn’t mean that every tour will be packed. 

Cost: $149 Adult / $79 Child (under 12 years old). Purchase here.

Drop-off/Pick-up: Gray Line Office at Union Square (478 Post. St.)  or Gray Line Office at Fisherman’s Wharf (2800 Leavenworth St & Jefferson St).

Reviews: Reviews of Gray Line’s wine tour are generally very positive. Guests praise the knowledgeable drive-guide and the ease by which they were able to visit several wineries from San Francisco.

Some complain about the lack of intimacy, however, that is inevitably the trade-off for such an affordable tour that also includes wine tasting fees. 

TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 


Tower Tours

Tower Tours offers half-day wine tours as well as several full-day tours to both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. The full-day tours are often combined with other tourist attractions like Muir Woods and Alcatraz.

A unique offering of Tower Tours is a full-day outing that starts with a San Francisco Bay Cruise. It is then followed by a half-day tour of wine country with visits to two wineries and an exclusive winery cave tour.

 

Tower Tours Sonoma

 

Bay Cruise and Half-Day Wine Country Tour with Tastings

  • Adult $135
  • 7 hours, departing daily 
  • One hour Bay Cruise
  • 2 tastings included
  • Lunch not included
  • More info and to book.

Check here for all of Tower Tours Wine Tours.

Note that if you are looking at taking a bay cruise during your visit, see our post comparing San Francisco Boat Tours and Cruises.

Reviews: Reviews of Tower Tours are relatively positive as guests praise the guides and the selection of wineries.

Some comment that they wish there was more information regarding the winemaking process, however, this is more of an issue to be taken up with the wineries rather than the tour company.

Overall, guests seem very pleased with this affordable wine tour!

TripAdvisor Rating: 4 stars. 


Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley

Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley is a vintage, open-air trolley that brings guests to 4 different wineries around Sonoma Valley. The tour lasts six hours.

Though wine tasting fees are not included in the price of the tour, a catered picnic lunch, as well as bottled water and soft drinks are part of the cost.

 

Sonoma Wine Trolley

 

Cost: $99 per person, excluding wine tasting fees. Purchase here.

Drop-off/Pick-up: Pick-up at Sonoma Plaza and nearby hotels 

Reviews: Reviews of Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley are very positive, with many guests complimenting the informative and courteous driver guides.

Some felt that the cost of the tour was misleading as the wine tasting fees are written as costing $5-$10 on the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley website, when in fact they run between $20-30.

However, though the cost might be inaccurately listed on their website, it is very typical for wine tasting fees to not be included.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


Extranomical Tours

Extranomical Tours offers full-day tours to both Napa Valley and Sonoma Valley. With daily departures, Extranomical Tours offers guests a lot of variety and availability.  

Many of them are combined with other popular tourist destinations such as Muir Woods and Alcatraz.

 

Muir Woods Redwoods

 

Trips include complimentary hotel pick-up, a guided tour of San Francisco’s wine country, and tastings at a minimum of 2-3 different wineries. Lunch is not included. 

Unlike some wine tours, some of Extranomical permits children on their tours which is ideal for families.

Muir Woods and Wine Country: Sonoma and Napa Full-Day Tour 

  • Adult $144 / Child (under 11 years old) $99
  • 8 hours, departing daily 
  • 3 tastings included
  • Not included: Muir Woods entrance fee ($15, subject to change)
  • More info and to book.  

Wine Country Discovery Full-Day Tour 

  • Adult $135 / Child (under 11 years old) $99
  • 9 hours, departing daily 
  • 3 tastings included
  • More info and to book.

Wine Country Discovery Half-Day Tour 

  • Adult $99 / Child (under 11 years old) $65
  • 6 hours, departing daily 
  • 2 tastings included
  • More info and to book.

Reviews: Extranomical Tours comes highly rated, with an impressive 4 ½ star rating on TripAdvisor and a 4-star rating on Yelp.

Negative reviews are few and far between, and usually due to unforeseeable traffic or road closures that reduced the length of the tour. However, these comments are uncommon, as most guests offer high praise for the company’s efficiency and value.

The guides also receive many compliments for being extremely informative and personable.  Almost every other similar service has received complaints about the bus either being late or broken, so it’s worth noting that Extranomical does not appear to have these problems.

TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars.


Platypus Wine Tours

Platypus Wine Tours is the top-rated wine tour company in both Sonoma and Napa Valley on TripAdvisor.

They offer a small-group tour of Sonoma wine country (currently limited to 6-8 guests). This ensures that the experience is always intimate.

Your knowledgeable guide will take you to three wineries, with a picnic lunch served at one of them. All the time you’ll be learning about winemaking and local history.

Though tasting fees are extra, some wineries waive tasting fees if you make a wine purchase.

Cost: $119 ($129 on Saturdays) per person, picnic lunch included. More info and book here.

 

 

Pick-up/Drop-off: Platypus Tours will pick up from almost any hotel or inn in Sonoma or Napa Valley. For those traveling from San Francisco, Platypus Tours dispatches a bus to collect guests a Vallejo Ferry Terminal.

Reviews: Platypus Tours has an outstanding reputation, with a 5-star rating on TripAdvisor and several thousand reviews.

Former guests comment that “there can’t be a better wine tour out there” and ask “is it possible to have too much fun??”.

Though complaints are few and far between, some guests felt the tour was overpriced and that the wine tasting should have been included in the fee.

However, it is very common for all wine tours to exclude the wine tasting fees in the cost of the tour.

TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 


Grapeline Wine Tours – Sonoma 

Grapeline offers three Sonoma wine tours: a group tour, an all-inclusive group tour and a private tour.

Like most of the other group tours, this company visits three wineries and offers a catered picnic lunch. 

On their Sonoma Valley Wine Adventure, wine tasting fees are not included, but many wineries waive tasting fees with bottle purchases. The cost of course is less than the all-inclusive tour.

For those looking for an all-inclusive tour, Grapeline is one of the few companies to offer that.

 

Grapeline Tours

 

Cost:

  • Sonoma Valley Wine Adventure – between $119-$139 per person.
  • All-Inclusive Wine Tasting Tour – between $189-$219 per person.
  • More information and to book.

Pick-up/Drop-off: Complimentary pick up from most local hotels.

Reviews: This tour comes highly recommended, with reviews saying that it was the “best decision ever” and “seamless.  

TripAdvisor: 5 stars. 

 


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PRIVATE WINE TOURS OF SONOMA

For a more intimate tour of wine country, you might like a private tour. There are several companies that offer private tours of Sonoma. Some combine a visit to Napa as well.

Though private tours may appear significantly more expensive than any of the group tour offers, they can be a reasonable alternative for those already traveling as a group.

Occasionally there are ‘hidden fees’ in the form of tax, wine tasting fees, the cost of the fuel, and any other number of things, so be sure to clarify what is included in the cost of the tour. 


Valley Wine Tours

Valley Wine Tours is the oldest wine tour company in the country, having been established nearly 20 years ago.

Each tour visits 4-5 unique wineries and includes a gourmet picnic lunch. Guests are encouraged to fully customize their tour according to their tasting preferences.

Thanks to their history in the industry, Valley Wine Tours maintains an excellent relationship with many of the wineries. 

Cost: Varies. 

Pick-up/Drop-off: From most places in Sonoma. 

Reviews: This company maintains an outstanding reputation, with nearly all guests praising Valley Wine Tours for their wonderful service.

Some wished that the wineries were farther apart so that there would be more downtime in the car, but this issue can be alleviated by selecting different wineries.

Also, though the proximity of the wineries makes for little downtime, this also means that guests can spend the majority of their day in the wineries rather than the car.

TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 


Sonoma Wine Tours 

Sonoma Wine Tours promises “an inside look into winemaking, one-on-one time with winery sommeliers, access to fantastic wines and barrel tastings.”

Groups of 4 or more are eligible for discounts. Additionally, there are off-season rates available in the winter, so be sure to inquire about any discounts! 

Cost: Varies. 

Pick-up/Drop-off: From most places in Sonoma. 

Reviews: Due to the small size of this company, all reviews are of Soussan, the owner of the company.

Many comment that their tour was “amazing” and that Soussan is “the best”. A few reviewers were less impressed with Soussan’s guiding skills, however, those are few and far between. TripAdvisor Rating: 4.5 stars. 


Valet of the Moon Wine Tours

Valet of the Moon Wine Tours exclusively leads private wine tours of Sonoma and Napa. The company requests that all guests complete an inquiry form so that they can best organize a tour that suits everyone’s individual needs.

Furthermore, this company is unique in that they drive your own car rather than supply the car. As a result, their tours are often more affordable than those offered by their competitors. 

Cost: Varies.

Pick-up/Drop-off: Guests meet their private chauffeur at a determined location in Sonoma or Napa. 

Reviews: This company has an outstanding reputation with5 star reviews nearly 100% of the time. Guests refer to the company as “the only way to wine taste” and the “perfect wine tour.”

Additionally, many felt that the use of their own car made the tour all the more personalized.

TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars. 


Artisan Wine Tours 

Artisan Wine Tours specializes in private, customized tours Sonoma and Napa Valley. They have connections with more than a dozen wineries around those areas, as well as several restaurants.

Guests are encouraged to develop their own unique itineraries, selecting which wines suit them most. 

Cost: Varies. 

Pick-up/Drop-off: From most places in Sonoma. 

Reviews: Once again, the reviews are excellent with guests saying that Artisan Wine Tours are “a treasure” and “the best way to experience Sonoma wine country.”

Though the company does have a handful of negative reviews, all of those are in regards to tours taken prior to 2012. 

TripAdvisor Rating: 5 stars.

 


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THINGS TO KNOW BEFORE BOOK

Confirm what exactly is included in the cost and what is not.

Be sure to check if tastings are included or extra. Some tours include lunch in the price or offer an optional add-on for lunch. Some private tours do not include the price of gas. Ask in advance and add up all the costs before booking a tour.

Check which wineries are included

Though some group tours have a set list of wineries that they visit, some group tours and all private tours will try to accommodate any requests made by the guests.

If there is a particular winery you want to visit, read up on it beforehand and ask your guide if it could be included. 

Don’t forget your ID!

The last thing you want is to pay for a wine tour and then not be able to drink the wine!

TIP: For some wine tours, you can get up to a 20% discount using the Go SF Card Build Your Own Pass.

 


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DEALS AND DISCOUNTS

For the budget-conscious traveler, there are several websites that regularly offer discounts on wine tours of Sonoma. Here are some of the best websites to browse through in search of a deal: 

Smart Destinations

Smart Destinations sells a Go San Francisco Card that is valid for either a Full Day Northern California Wine Country Tour or a Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour.

The first costs $95 and allows guests to spend the entire day exploring Napa and Sonoma. The first wine tasting is included in the price of the ticket, but all tastings that follow must be purchased separately.

Additionally, guests can choose to take the Muir Woods and Wine Country Tour, which gives visitors a brief chance to experience both sites. 

Groupon, LivingSocial, Goldstar, and Viator

Additionally, there are several other discount websites such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Goldstar, and Viator that periodically offer discounted tours on Sonoma.

These companies update their deals on a regular basis, so be sure to check each website to learn more about what special discounts are on offer. 

 


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VISITING SAN FRANCISCO

Most people visiting Sonoma also spend at least 1 day in San Francisco. We have written several guides and ‘how to’ posts about visiting San Francisco.

Below we’ve included the articles that we believe are most helpful.

Getting Around: 

Tours of San Francisco: 

Things to Do:

 


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OTHER WINE TOURS AND DAY TRIPS FROM SAN FRANCISCO

 


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About the author

Manager | San Francisco

Britt is a San Francisco Bay Area native, and has spent 25 years in this magical city. He has traveled to over 30 countries, and has never found a place he loves as much as this one! If you come to San Francisco, you might join one of Britt's tours of the city.

A graduate of the University of Maryland and University of Southern California, he has been leading tours for Free Tours by Foot since 2015.