I recently took my wife on a trip to the Sonoma region for her birthday. While there, I thought it would be a good idea to take a wine tour, so I got in touch with several local tour operators. John from California Rivers quickly became my preferred choice by far. The first good sign was that John's email responses were always quick, courteous, and informative. He made arranging our tour an absolute breeze, and the terms and plans were clearly and concisely described.
The day of our tour, John arrived at our hotel precisely on time and warmly greeted us. He even offered a stepstool to make it easier for my wife to enter the vehicle! As soon as we were underway, John was already describing the tour that lay ahead of us, and it sounded thrilling.
Our day began with a tour of the Korbel California champagne winery, which was fascinating and enjoyable. After that, John took us to several area wineries, including several smaller boutique vineyards that we might otherwise have missed. I'm glad we didn't miss them, though, because every stop on the tour was great.
Throughout the day, John was explaining the local history, bringing his significant experience in the area to bear. He told us some very interesting stories about his life in the Russian River area and the various tales of the wineries we visited, and the region as a whole. It added another dimension to the tour--this wasn't just a trip to several places to sample wine, it was a history lesson, a geography tour, and at one point, a feast: at one winery, John served us a delicious private lunch he had prepared just for us. The lunch consisted of a variety of tasty foods, including several vegetables John himself had grown. It even had a birthday cake for my wife, and John made sure to start the caroling of "Happy Birthday," in which some nearby patrons joined, adding just one more unforgettable moment to an unforgettable weekend.
I can summarize my opinion with this statement: if you are going to be in the Russian River/Sonoma area and you want to take a wine tour, you would be foolish to skip California Rivers Wine Tours.
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