Monday, May 23, 2016

My Favorite Places in Sonoma Wine Country

gloria ferrer winery
Gloria Ferrer in June
I've recently had a few friends reach out to me about recommendations in wine country and I've found I have SOO many recommendations that I might as well as just make them into blog posts. This one's for Sonoma, my former home!
Viansa Winery in June
Sonoma has a smaller, more rustic feel than Napa. The times I went there, it was more laid back with less of the larger bus and limo tours than in Napa on the weekends. I lived in Sonoma county so Matt and I frequented Sonoma and I especially loved watching the seasons change. 

I would say April-October is the best time for wine country. It will be especially busy August-October due to harvest and will be especially hot in July and August, but you'll see the vibrant and beautiful vines and get to be outside. 
Ravenswood in November

Staying in Sonoma
Before we lived there, I stayed in a low-priced Airbnb for a few nights near Sonoma Square (downtown Sonoma). It was quiet, cheap and worked if you are looking to do wine country on a budget.

Technically in Marin county, is the Marriot Courtyard Marin/Sonoma which is 20ish minutes from Sonoma. Great place to stay if you'd like to split your time between wine country and San Francisco.

Eating in Sonoma 
Wineries in Sonoma
  • Gloria Ferrer: Sparkling wines, much lower price point than most sparkling places. 
  • Viansa: Across the way from Gloria Ferrer, has a beautiful patio and on some Saturdays, live music. 
  • Cline Cellars: Beautiful barrel room and good wine! 
  • Ravenswood: My favorite. Famous for the zin — super relaxed atmosphere and great people. 
  • Kendall Jackson: Beautiful estate, farther up north in Sonoma. Supposed to have great food as well. 
  • Simi: Closer to Healdsburg. Small tasting room, bike friendly!
  • Rodney Strong: Closer to Healdsburg. Beautiful property.
  • Sonoma Aperitif: Wine-based aperitifs all made by the owner. 
I was able to visit all of these without a reservation for just a tasting, but if you're interested in doing a tour, I would definitely call ahead. I really enjoyed the tours at Ravenswood — you get to see the property and hear interesting stories about how the winery began.

Looking to go farther north? Here's a post about Mendocino County and its wine region. 

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