By now, I'm ready for lunch so this is my next stop. This is a big beautiful place, built in the style of the French Chateau, with gorgeous gardens and fountains, fabulous views of the valley, a very commercial tasting room, and a great restaurant (which they call a cafe). Meals here can be on the pricey side but everything I've had has been...more
This was quite a nice winery. The grounds accomodate lots of visitors including these long limosines for wine tours. We started our tasting in the "barn". They gave us a ticket and proceeded to the "caves" for more tastings. A small area with some gift type items were for sale. We tasted another wine and a 3 piece acoustic band played some music....more
This was a very nice surprise! I'm a little skeptical about taking the time to stop by places that perhaps don't look all too successful thinking the wine isn't making them any money. But I guess you just never know. The wine here was pretty good. The Zinfandel vines on the premises were thick and gnarly. They are not watered to stress the plants...more
As you can see, we stopped off at quite a few wineries. This one is on short dirt road that winds around the vineyards until you get to the tasting room. They have a small picnic area that you can use. Some of the wines are great. I bought a couple bottles to bring home. Opened daily 11am-4:30pm.more
Gio will greet you as you walk into a work room area of the winery. It's definitely not fancy but he's set up to let you try a couple of wines. He also has an amazing olive oil that you can purchase (and you should) that goes well with bread as a dipping oil. They haven't been making wine for very long at this location but the family has a history...more
Now, this was a gem! Not a fancy place, just something along the way. We stopped into a not so big tasting room and tasted some decent wines. They took us to the back for a barrel tasting and OMG! had a taste of the most amazing Zinfandel with huge vanilla/creme brulee flavors. They were selling futures so my boyfriend purchased a 1/2 case to be...more
We were really happy that they upgraded us to the junior suite. Simple decorations, but modern and...more
Just joking about the waffles being the best part of our stay but the free continental breakfast...more
Hotel LaMars, expensive but a delightful small hotel with very knowledgeable staff and excellent...more
RESTAURANT IS NOW CLOSED AS OF MAY 20, 2013.If you've looked at my Healdsburg Hotel page before you came here, you'll know we arrived a little earlier then expected because of the power outage the town had experienced earlier in the evening. We called from the hotel just to make sure they were open. I'm sure that because of the power outage that...more
As I said we hired a car and drove up. I chose highway one to enjoy the coastal views but virtually all we saw was fog! We did see a wolf on the road just after we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge. Still was an interesting drive. Trip took a steady couple of hours. The return journey a similar time going straight down the 101.more
One of the really helpful thing the folks in the Sonoma Wine Country do is make it easy to find where you're going. At every intersection, visitors will find signposts directing them to the various wineries. At the top of the signpost is a designation of the specific varietal the area is known for. There are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of...more
969 Reviews and Opinions
A fantastic, hometown feel shopping area with wonderful clothing and jewelry shops. Bookstores, wine tasting rooms, restaurants, specialty stores and a small park in the middle of it. One one occasion when we visited, there was an antique flea market in the park. It's just a wonderful place. You shouldn't miss out on stopping by here.more
This is a neat local candy store that started in nearby Windsor. There are now several in Sonoma County and it has started to spread in small numbers around California. It sells home-made type candy (chocolate, etc.), ice cream, plus an array of other brands, a wide range of bulk licorice, a lot of novelty or gag candies and gums, as well as older...more
Maybe this is a good time to go through the Do's and Don't's of wine tasting:
Don't sidle up to someone standing at the counter and say "Haven't I seen you here before" or "Do you come here often" or "Haven't I seen you in the movies?" On the other hand, it is ok to be original and say "We'll be fine as frog's hair."
Don't slap your wine glass back down on the counter and say "Hit me again!"
No matter how slow that guy is behind the counter, don't reach over and help yourself.
Don't snap your fingers and say "Hey Nurse" or "Hey Barkeep" when you are ready to go to the next wine on the list.
Don't say "What? No Rose? Hey no prob - just mix together some of that there reserve chardonnay and some of that Library Collection cabernet sauvignon."
Don't say "This wine tastes kind of bland. How about a shot of club soda and fixing up one of them wine spritzer things?"
Do buy a bottle of wine, if you like it, and carry it home or have it shipped. Pick a wine you are unlikely to find at home. Shipping laws in the US were recently loosened, thanks to one of the rare very well thought out decisions of our US Supreme Court. California wineries can now ship to more US states than ever before, including New York and Florida, both of which had previously prohibited internet sales from California.
We are no strangers to 'Bush'fires in Australia and we followed the news of one in the Healdsburg area during our stay. We wouldn't have gone anywhere near it had there been any danger-no place for tourists but we were perfectly safe especially since the firefighters seemed to be staying at our motel! We counted 30 plus trucks.more
I recommend that when you go to the wine country, you pick no more than 5 wineries to visit in one day. Pace yourself. If you visit 5 wineries, spread those visits over a 4 hours period. Also pack lunch and bring water. Plan your trip so you get to the first winery at around 11 am or so. That way you won't be rushed, you can linger over lunch, and...more
We turned off just before Jenner onto the 116 to Healdsburg after having a quick look at the Coastline that had finally appeared from the fog. It is less than an hour from Healdsburg to the Coast and quite a relaxing drive through the big tall trees along the Russian River.more
One of our annual family events has always been the summer canoe trip on the Russian River. Several times we have added a camping/B&B element and done some of our favorite wineries at the same time. Since it is so convenient to this region, it is appropriate to add it to this journal for the active wine enthusiast. There are actually several places...more
Rodney Strong Winery holds several outdoor concerts each summer. So far I've been to two and plan to be sure to get to another this summer.My first experience was to see Rick Braun and Peter White (both favorites of mine). It was an evening concert on a perfect summer evening, beginning at 5. We left at 8 because we had dinner reservations at...more
Sonoma County is a perfect place for bicycling. Some roads like West Dry Creek have little or no shoulders, making them somewhat unsafe. Try to stick to the roads with decent shoulders, like Dry Creek Road.
The weather is usually perfect for bicycling. It is generally balmy year-round, except for a couple of hot months in summer and some rain in the winter. Humidity is low. The scenery is fabulous. The best part about bicycling here is the ability to stop at a winery for wine tasting enroute!
Little known fact: In California, it is a misdemeanor to operate a bicycle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Having said that, I don't know of a single person who has ever been arrested for DUI on a bicycle. Nonetheless, please exercise caution. Sometimes, the drivers in cars can be very unaware or just plain reckless. And keep in mind - this is the wine country, so some of those drivers will be over the legal limit for alcohol. As a bicyclist, you just need to be on guard at all times, tipsy or not.
Equipment: Either a mountain bike or road or racing bike will work. There are not a lot of unpaved roads - most routes are on the paved roads with shoulders. Some wineries (but not many in Sonoma) have unpaved roads to their tasting rooms, which is why, between my mountain or road bike, I'll usually take the mountain bike.
The California Bicycle Helmet Law applies only to people 18 years and younger. Personally, I think it is insane to ride a bicycle on any California road without a helmet, particularly if you are sharing the road with automobiles and trucks.
The Russian River wanders through Cloverdale to Santa Rosa, then flows out to the Sonoma Coast and the Pacific Ocean.This is a lush, fertile grape growing area containing 100 wineries and three wine districts: Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley.A route known as the Russian River Wine Road takes you to all three districts,...more
Our road trip took us from the lively streets of San Francisco to the quiet beauty of Bodega Bay. We traveled the winding Russian River Wine Road from Healdsburg to Guerneville. Three separate wine districts sit in the northwest corner of Sonoma County:The Dry Creek Valley, which contains 10,000 acres devoted to vineyards and runs parallel to and...more
Both Sonoma and Napa Counties produce many world class wines. Most Californians who are familiar with California wines know that there is no difference in general quality between the two counties. There are fabulous wineries in both counties. The difference in quality is found from winery to winery within each County, but it is not accurate to say...more