Cuvaison Carneros Winery
This scenic and fast 13.1 mile course starts at Cuvaison Carneros Winery where runners congregate in one of the most beautiful start areas anywhere. You’ll warm up next to the winery alongside rows of rolling vineyards and a reservoir. Runners must be dropped at the entrance to the winery by bus or by vehicle in the Domaine Carneros parking lot. There is NO parking there or anywhere near the start area!
Out of the starting gate, you’ll take a left turn on Duhig Rd. and make your ascent up Butt Burner Hill. Once over the crest it’s a beautiful cruise downhill into the Carneros wine appellation. Enjoy vistas of the Napa-Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Preserve, San Pablo Bay and Mt. Tamalpais in Marin as you wind through hundreds of rolling acres of vineyards and wineries. The course also passes ranches and farms filled with a variety of animals including horses, cows, pigs, sheep, goats, llamas, chickens and donkeys.
Mile 0 – .4: Cuvaison, Domaine Carneros & Butt-Burner Hill
Enjoy the setting as you stretch among the vineyards and irrigation reservoir adjacent to the Cuvaison Carneros tasting room and production facility. Once through the starting line and winery entrance gate you’ll take a sharp left past Domaine Carneros winery on your right and begin your ascent up Duhig Rd, fondly called Butt-Burner Hill for three-tenths of a mile. Go easy and avoid burning too much energy early on the climb.
Mile .5 – 2.2: The Duhig Descent
The descent is well worth the climb! This is the most photographed stretch of course and also the fastest section with great views of Carneros and the Napa/Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area. It’s mostly downhill for 2 miles but make sure to keep your eyes open. It’s gorgeous! Your first aid station is at the intersection of Las Amigas next to Acacia Vineyard at mile 2.
Mile 2.2 – 4: From Napa to Sonoma County
After making a sweeping right Duhig Rd turns into Ramal Rd as you head west past the vineyards. You’ll encounter a animal farm on the left (sheep, cows, horses, goats) and then a couple of rolling hills. At the three-mile mark you’ll cross over from Napa County into Sonoma County (notice the pavement change) and shortly after Skaggs Island Rd you’ll find aid station #2 at the entrance to a wine production facility.
Mile 4 – 6: Serenity and Vineyard Section
Once the field thins out in this section there is plenty of time to let your mind wander and enjoy the scenery. Take in Mt. Tamalpais to the south, resting peacefully as a backdrop to the Napa/Sonoma Marshes Wildlife Area just off the left side of the course. There will be vineyards to right throughout this section. After making another sweeping right you’ll soon find aid station #3 at Donum Estate at mile 6, home of Robert Stemmler and Donum Estate wines.
Mile 6 – 7.5: The Halfway Mark & Hwy 121
After winding through a few turns and passing a sheep ranch or two you’ll finally begin to encounter civilization. A sharp left on Dale Rd and then a right on Burndale Rd. and you are suddenly at Hwy 121 complete with aid station #4, portable restrooms, live music, Homewood winery, and your friendly CHP. The officers must let cars through at various intervals, so if you are asked to stop briefly, please obey. It will be a short respite before you tackle the 2nd part of the course.
Mile 7.5 – 9.5: Burndale Rd. Farm Animals
After crossing the highway you’ll continue on Burndale Rd. Aid station #5 is on Burndale Road as you pass Herschel Road. This section curves through vineyards and homes before taking you up a small hill lined with farm animals. Sheep, goats, horses, pigs, alpacas, chickens, and cows all reside on this stretch of the course leading up the crossing at Napa Rd. where CHP will again control the traffic and runner flow.
Mile 9.5 – 11.5: Shady Denmark & Gundlach Bundschu Winery
Relief is on the way. You’ll cross over Napa Rd (CHP controls this intersection also) and onto tree-lined Denmark Rd. where trees and shade are abundant. Upon passing water station #6, you’ll see the beautiful vineyards of Gundlach Bundschu on your right, and a table set with small tastes of Gerwurtztraminer wine. Wine not? This is where the GunBunFunRun 5K (8:15am start) merges with the half marathon course, so there may be a blast of fresh, fast energy as you pass this location. You’ll veer left and follow Denmark St. into the path at Sonoma Valley High School. This is a longest straight and flat section on the course. Hanna Boys Center provide the water at station #7 just before the path leads you past the fields and track at the high school.
Mile 12 – 13.1: A Broadway Finish
After a jaunt though the path at the high school you’ll end up on MacArthur Rd for a tenth of a mile then onto Broadway for the final half-mile stretch into Sonoma Plaza. Historic City Hall and its trademark palm trees are your target ahead. As you get closer to the Plaza the cheers get loader until the adrenalin carries you right across the finish line. Congratulations! You have completed the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon. Time to rest, hydrate and celebrate with family and friends for the famous post-race Wine & Music Festival in Sonoma Plaza!
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