Celebratory Sonoma Sips: Winter WINEland

Enjoy the post-holiday quiet-down among the wineries of North Sonoma.

DO YOU TAKE BUSTLE WITH YOUR WINE? Most people would describe wine as a beverage they enjoy in a relaxing environment or when they're looking to hang out with friends and wind down from the week. It isn't a go-go-go, octane-fueled sip, by any means, though there are busier times of the year in which to do a winery. Vineyards can lean more octane-y come crush and the holidays, where nearly every weekend seems to have a little something on the schedule. And while jovial bustle-based enjoyment is part of the harvest-time, holiday-fun scene, one does not desire it in January. No one does not: One wants chilled-out chill days in which to chillax, and maybe to score some discounts on favorite vinos, too (since the first month of the year is rather famous for people making new budgets). That quieter, no rush, no bustle winery-based time can be found at many Northern Sonoma winemaking houses most any day of the first month, but Winter WINEland, a long-running cold season party that's soon to mark its quarter-century anniversary, is a confab that collects lines up many of the region's wineries for one low-key but still lively weekend.

THAT WEEKEND... in 2015 is Saturday, Jan. 17 and Sunday, Jan. 18. It's billed as "a great opportunity to meet the winemakers, taste limited production wines, new releases, or library wines." Also? "All wineries will have something on SALE for the weekend!" Seeing SALE in all caps, complete with an exclamation mark, is promising to those who saw their wine cabinet emptied during their holiday hosting duties. For sure, this is a go-to-the-winery kind of thing, so expect some traveling, and your ticket prices includes "all of the participating wineries" in and around the Wine Road.

SO... what's your favorite way to experience wine country? During the wine stomps and seasonal concerts and gift fairs or during the laid-back days of deeper winter? Can't we like both? (We can.)

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