Sonoma, California is one of my favorite places in the world and my favorite to go to for wine. I’ve explored the Châteauneuf-du-pape of France, the Rioja region of Spain, Hunter Valley in Australia, Duoro of Portugal, and even had wine in Vietnam. But like the movie “Bottleshock”, there is nothing like a California Wine!
People often ask me Napa or Sonoma? I always say Sonoma!! The people in Sonoma are nicer and the tourists are less pretentious. It’s a close knit community that still goes all out for the 4th of July and locals get extra wine at tastings. Here is a visual tour of some of my favorite sites around the region:
Driving in off Arnold Drive to the center of town, you will find Ram’s Gate (http://www.ramsgatewinery.com/) and Viansa (http://www.viansa.com/). Both are at tops of hills and have fantastic views of the valley. Viansa has been around for a long time and my favorite from them is their Arneis. Ram’s Gate is newer, with a more modern space and tasting room. They even have a full kitchen to allow and food and wine tasting combination.
Down the road is Cline winery to your left and Jacuzzi winery across the street to your right. Cline holds a sunrise service for Easter on their grounds and both their chardonnay and viognier are fantastic. http://clinecellars.com/ While Cline is more rustic, Jacuzzi is more modern but still with great wine. http://www.jacuzziwines.com/
The Robledo Family Winery, the first winery in the US to be opened by a Mexican migrant worker and his family. http://www.robledofamilywinery.com/
Plus, the ground are beautiful!
Mayo Family Winery is another good local stop. http://www.mayofamilywinery.com/
As is Homewood
Larson Family winery is another great one and winner of best Pinot Noir a few years back. I went there with a local and we were treated so graciously by a fantastic tasting room staff! http://www.larsonfamilywinery.com/
Up Highway 12, there are some great wineries to stop at. Like Kunde, who makes my favorite Gewurztraminer.
Their neighbor, Imagery, is also a great place too. http://www.imagerywinery.com/ Their tasting room is full of local art that is also used on the labels for their wine. Be sure to check out their Wow Oui, a mix of Sauvignon Blanc with Muscat. It’s fantastic!
St. Frances, who has one of the best chefs in the area at their restaurant and where one of my dearest friends got married last year. http://www.stfranciswinery.com/
Ledson is my favorite winery in the world. http://www.ledson.com/ It’s breathtakingly beautiful with their château and perfectly manicured grounds.. My favorite wines here are their Riesling, their Rosé, and their Orange Muscat. My wine fridge is always stocked with these three!
Around Sonoma, there are a some great hiking trails. Like in Bartholomew Park, where you can reward yourself at the end with a stop at their winery and a nice cold glass of their Sauvignon Blanc. http://www.bartholomewpark.org/
They even have a museum you can stroll through to learn more about the history of wine! The Bartholomew Park Winery is related to the Gundlach Bunschu, another one of my favorites with a delicious Gewurztraminer. http://www.gunbun.com/
Love the bubblies? Check out Gloria Ferrer! http://www.gloriaferrer.com/
And the view from the balcony of their tasting room!
There is also Domaine Carneros
Their tasting flight is delicious!
Right off the center of town is another one of my favorites: Sebastiani!
Their California Symphony is my favorite and I could drink a glass daily for the rest of my life! http://www.sebastiani.com/
So, if you are headed out to California, be sure to spend some time in this gorgeous area of the world!