Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Carneros, Enotourism, Napa Valley, Pinot Noir, Sonoma, Wine, Wine & Food Pairing
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Beyond the Bar: Wine country visits that take you beyond the tasting room

Gone are the days when wine tasting was synonymous with standing at a bar. Wineries are now offering tasting experiences that include such activities as hiking with your dog, appreciating a world-class sculpture garden and breathing through a yoga class. If you think a standard wine tasting at a bar sounds more like drudgery than a dream day, these four non-traditional wine tasting experiences are for you.

Imagery Estate Winery is located just outside of Glen Ellen in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Enjoy an hour-long Vinyasa class with a sequence that instructor Jes Williams says will keep you present and centered for the rest of the day. After practice, you’ll enjoy a walking tour of the winery, followed by a tasting in the winery tasting room. Yoga + Wine ($25-$35 per guest) is offered from 10 am to 12 pm every second Sunday through September. 14335 Highway 12, Glen Ellen, 877.550.4278,

Spend the morning hiking with your furry friend through Kunde Winery’s 1,850-acre estate filled with vineyards, oak woodlands and native grasslands that stretch from the Sonoma valley floor up into the Mayacamas Mountain range. This moderately strenuous hike runs from 9 am-1 pm and concludes with a much-deserved outdoor tasting and wine country lunch ($90 per guest). Dogs must be on leash. Kunde donates a portion of the proceeds to Dogwood Animal Rescue Project and Sonoma County Humane Society. 9825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707.833.5501,

Jeff and Roberta Kunde with their dogs.

Donum’s 200-acre estate is home to 40 contemporary works by such well-known artists as Ai Weiwei, Yayoi Kusama, Louise Bourgeois and Keith Haring. Conceived by Danish collector, vintner and co-owner of Donum, Allan Warburg, the Sculpture Park includes site-specific commissions interspersed with 150-year old olive trees, lavender gardens and vineyards. The experience of combining wine, nature and art is, according to Warburg, “far more powerful than if you enjoyed them separately.” Donum is open seven days a week for wine tastings by advanced reservation only.

The private pavilion at Quintessa Winery offers a Zen-like view of Dragon Lake and one of the most elevated tastings found in the Valley. Held in a glass-walled, open-air pavilion nestled among the slopes of Rutherford, this experience takes you far from the maddening crowd. The 90-minute Quintessential Experience begins with a walking tour of the estate winery followed by a seated tasting that includes a vertical tasting, exclusive barrel selections and rare library vintages plus a cheese pairing. The Quintessential Experience ($150 per guest) is offered daily by appointment at 10 am, 12:30 pm and 3 pm. 1601 Silverado Trail S, St. Helena,

Quintessa Winery’s pavilion.

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