SONOMA- SIP, EAT & SEE!!

Sonoma has been my home for the past 15 years. I really enjoy sharing my favorite wineries, eateries and local hidden treasures with visitors to the valley to round out their Wine country experience. Below are some outstanding Wineries that can easily be added onto your itinerary as well as ‘Not to be missed’ local cafes, shops and tasting rooms.

Sonoma Day TripThis Northern California Valley that has its’ literal ‘roots’ in Winemaking began back in the mid 1800’s. Every available acre of undulating hillside are now planted with vines comprising dozens of varietals ready for annual harvesting beginning in the late summer. The rich vibrant history entwined within these vineyards often seems to be overlooked by visitors scouting out their wine tasting expeditions during their visit by heading East to Napa instead of discovering all Sonoma has to offer.

Just blocks east of Sonoma Plaza, off Old Winery Road, are clustered several historical Wineries that became the first heartbeats of our “Valley of the Moons” and unlike so many others ,I urge all my clients to step back in time and enjoy a more intimate Winery experience, often featuring handcrafted ‘small lot’ wines offered exclusively there onsite. A few even offer unique mini museums as well as ideal picnic areas You can discover these Antique,Boutique Wineries online as well, some with virtual tours! Pay them a visit! You will be so pleased that you included them in your list of MUST SEES!

Those of you planning to stay ‘close to home’ in the Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Kenwood area will be intrigued by a few more Winery picks that are not to be missed and are personal favorites of mine. Each Winery is so different and happen to be within miles of Sonoma Plaza on HWY 12.

 

“ SIPS” – TOP FAVORITE WINERIES of THE GILDED GRAPE

VJB CELLARS- Enjoy strolling Tuxedoed Italian Opera singers outside on the patio on the weekends, and Pizzas from a stone oven with the best Italian Deli and marketplace in town. Don’t forget the chocolate/gelato shop too! A fun time for everyone.

BENZIGER WINERY- Offering Tractor-pull tours of the scenic vineyards. Charming winery everyone adores

CHATEAU ST. JEAN- French in every way-stroll through the stunning gardens, Best retail food/gift shop in any Winery!

LEDSON WINERY- Photo opportunities both inside and out ‘THE CASTLE’ Plan to purchase lunch at their deli and enjoy the picnic area

ST. FRANCIS- Foodie Paradise! Voted best Food and Wine Pairings every year ( advanced reservations highly suggested)

WINERIES JUST SOUTH OF SONOMA-

VIANSA WINERY-  Don’t pass this one by on the way to Sonoma.Way up on the hill, Italianate architecture & amazing vistas of our valley.

JACUZZI- Wonderful architecture with a fun tasting room and OLIVE OIL gift shop with hundreds of flavors to taste.

CLINE CELLARS- Across street from Jacuzzi-an immense Family Winery worth visiting. Take a walk around the lush grounds and small museum too. Great place for a picnic.

Gloria FerrerGLORIA FERRER- Champagne Caves- Yes! Spanish Champagne here in our valley! Catalan Festival every summer presenting Flamenco Dancers and tastings of Paella!

DOMAIN CARNEROS- Can’t miss this winery at the top of the hill overlooking both Sonoma and Napa. Stop in for a French cheese plate on the veranda. Quintessential Wine Country!!

ARTESA- Coming to or from Napa on HWY 121 take time to visit My biggest Secret favorite Winery! Turn onto OLD SONOMA ROAD and follow the signs to a hidden ultra modern winery with breathtaking views of the valley. Totally unexpected treat.

HISTORIC WINERIES

Buena VistaBUENA VISTA WINERY

SEBASTIANI WINERY

GUNDLACH-BUNSCHU WINERY 

BARTHOLOMEW PARK WINERY

RAVENSWOOD WINERY

“EATS”-DINING around Sonoma

DINNER

GIRL & the FIG- Wine country fare, house made charcuterie,great bar. My favorite late afternoon treat is to order a cheese/charcuterie plate and sit in the Bar Lounge with a Fig Martini and good friends. On Sonoma Plaza. Lunch or dinner-reservations recommended

OSO- A Very Hip Small plate Café with wonderful seasonal ingredients to share with everyone. Fun to sit at the bar for cocktails, or Wine, fresh Oyster or both! On the Plaza

CAFÉ La HAYE- Locals know where to have one of the best meals in town- Reservations!

BREAKFAST/LUNCH

BOONFLY CAFÉ- Hotel Carneros- (Just look for the Red Barn off HWY 121)- Sonoma Farm to Table Chic- Bacon-Bloody Marys to homemade Donut Holes-a Family favorite

SUNFLOWER CAFÉ- A Plaza favorite with locals- great Coffee drinks ,large plate breakfast, Delicious!

FREMONT DINER- Can’t get enough! Farm Country Mason Jar style décor and rib sticking Chicken & grits, Biscuits, Hash, & Buckwheat Pancakes!

“SEES”

CornerstoneCORNERSTONE” I tell everyone visiting Wine Country not to pass by this ‘All in One’ Wine Country Marketplace featuring shopping ,Wine, food, art,and gardens.There is Something for everyone at this venue only minutes from downtown Sonoma. A true,’ NO TO BE MISSED’ experience.

PANGLOSS TASTING LOUNGE- On the East corner of Sonoma Plaza is, in my opinion, the most beautiful Wine Tasting Room in all of the Valley!! A Breathtaking interior design created in an old carefully restored 115 year old historic stone building boasting handcrafted wines using Old World techniques- a natural yet powerful irresistible attraction. Take some time to relax with a glass of wine and watch the buzz on the Plaza go by.