It’s Christmas time in Wine Country, and Sonoma County residents know how to do it with flare.

Our Santa Claus rides in on tractor or boat. Our kids play tag among the vines after opening presents under the tree. Our scenery is frequently brown and soggy instead of snowy and white. And parents finish the day off with a great local and seasonal meal and a nice glass of Russian River pinot noir.

While traditional Christmas customs may change throughout the years, the holidays continue to bring Sonoma County families together. Travel down memory lane with us as we take a glimpse at Christmases past in the gallery above.

Chardonnays that deliver



Chappellet, 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.1% alcohol, $35. ★★★★

This is a concentrated and complex chardonnay with a silky texture. It’s got notes of lemon curd, brioche and ripe apple, and yet it’s balanced. Lingering finish. Impressive.


Landmark Vineyards, 2016 Damaris Reserve, Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 14.3%, $35. ★★★★: This chardonnay is a standout because of its layered flavors buoyed by bright acidity. It has notes of pear, brioche and honeysuckle, with bright minerality. Finishes crisp.

Gary Farrell, 2015 Olivet Lane, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, 13.6%, $45. ★★★★: A tasty, full-bodied chardonnay with notes of apple, vanilla bean and lemon zest. Nice length.

Robert Mondavi Winery, 2015 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 14.5%, $24. ★★★★: A lovely chardonnay with notes of ripe apple, pear and lemon. Lightly toasted. Full-bodied, yet balanced. Well crafted.

La Crema, 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, 13.5%, $23. ★★★1/2: A smart chardonnay with bright fruit and layered flavors. Notes of apple, lemon and mineral, with a hint of caramel on the finish. A steal for the price.