Blow the dust off winter with blooms gone wild, bike trips, gushing falls, and more
Spring takes its sweet time in wine country. The hills hold their winter green, and some years snow lingers atop Mount St. Helena. The big crowds are months away, but the mustard and lupine are blooming, and nowhere is the display more gorgeous than from the air. “Flying in the springtime,” says Sonoma County balloonist Mike Kijak, “you have all the greens and then, bam, that contrast with the yellow mustard. It’s like somebody took a paintbrush to the land.” After a Sonoma flight, people always ask Mike, owner of Up & Away Ballooning (up-away.com), which winery they should visit. “There are so many you can’t pick just one,” he says, “so I send them to Korbel Champagne Cellars. They have tours and you can see how Champagne is made, which is a whole different process than winemaking. And the gardens are gorgeous.” But it’s not all wine here. Sonoma County Farm Trails has guides to more than 90 local creameries, orchards, and farms.