Sonoma, california

Living in San Francisco has allowed trips to wine country to become a frequent weekend activity. Definitely a perk. Sonoma is slightly closer to the city than Napa, and also has a reputation for being a bit lower key and less touristy (and therefore more up my alley). For the most part the wineries are a bit smaller and less commercial, and also less expensive for tastings and purchasing bottles. Though you should be warned that wine country is notoriously pricey. Tastings add up quickly and it can be tough to snag a hotel for less than $400 a night, even in the low season. All of that aside, its a great escape from the fog of San Francisco, or a wonderful destination in itself. The vineyards are beautiful and there are some truly fantastic restaurants. It definitely pays to plan ahead as a lot of wineries require reservations for tastings (especially if you have a big group or are going on a weekend), and if you've organized reservations up front your get-a-way will be that much more refreshing and relaxing. Cheers! 

Pack... A chic hat, comfy slides and a bathing suit if you are staying somewhere with a pool. 

Sleep... My wish list of hotels to stay at is a mile long. I usually come up with a group of friends and stay in an Airbnb (always recommend a house with a pool). However, here are some hotels I'm itching to try... El Dorado Hotel & Kitchen for the convenience to Sonoma Square, Carneros Resort and Spa for the pool and unbeatable view, Farmhouse Inn for the spa and some R&R.

Be safe... Hire a driver to safely navigate your wine hopping adventure. We recently used Beau Wine Tours and our driver Doug was lovely. Uber and Lyft are also active in the area.

Bring home... A few bottles of vino and a new wine club membership.

{ play: drink wine}

This is why you come to wine country!

Scribe Winery - My absolute favorite. Both photos above are taken from the gorgeous setting up on the grassy knoll where Scribe is housed. The organic winery is a family affair. You can now have your tasting alongside a lunch prepared from the garden in the newly opened Hacienda. Reservations required. 

Viansa - This is a great vineyard for soaking in gorgeous views. If you can, snag one of the outlooks for your group to enjoy the 360 degree views. 

{ more wineries coming soon! } 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

{ eat }

The fantastic food in Sonoma is the cherry on top. All restaurants located in Sonoma unless otherwise noted. 

Fremont Diner - A great place to fuel up on your way to wine country. Delicious barbecue, fried chicken, and my favorite the shrimp and grits. I love this place and no visit to wine country is complete without a stop here. Try to get a table outside if it isn't too hot. They don't take reservations but be prepared to wait if you are coming on a Saturday or Sunday. It will be worth it!

New Haven Pizza - Hits the spot after a long day of wine tasting. 

The Girl and the Fig - This iconic restaurant is right off Sonoma Square. A treat for lunch or dinner.

Harvest Moon Cafe - This discrete spot off of Sonoma Square is a real hidden gem. The menu changes daily and is small, but thoughtful featuring local produce and sustainability sources meats and fish. The patio is a magical setting on a warm summer evening.  

El Dorado Kitchen - Yummy, no frills food make this an easy spot to dine with a group. The interiors are welcoming but if the weather permits it's fun to sit on the patio by the pool. 

Gott's Roadside (Napa or St. Helena) - The. best. burgers. Their menu of delicious burger options is slightly overwhelming, but in my experience I've never been let down. Make sure you also order a side of onion rings. 

Ad Hoc (Yountville) - My favorite restaurant in wine country. Ad Hoc is a destination in itself and such a fun experience. The menu is set, and changes, daily with no substitutions. Everything is served family style - and is delicious. Its a fun approach to a set menu - and is nice to take the decision making out of a meal. Plus the servings are hearty and they have a stellar wine list. Its a bit of a drive from Sonoma but sooo worth it.