Grab Lunch On The Sonoma Plaza
If youre doing lunch on your own, the girl & the fig is famously Wine Country, right on the Sonoma Plaza.
Sondra Bernstein is the proprietor of this Michelin Bib award-winning destination restaurant, giving you a charming, cottage-style café with a lavishly landscaped hideaway patio in the back. You will also find historic buildings on the plaza in the Sonoma State Historic Park, including the northernmost California mission.
Settle in and relax over mixed seasonal heirloom radishes from the figs garden. Enjoy dishes like the savory pork belly sandwich brightened with fennel aioli, apples and cabbage on brioche with a side of frites or wild mushroom ravioli plump with house-made ricotta, truffles, sweet onion purée, cipollini onions, and ancho cress.
Raymond Vineyards And Honig Winery
Raymond Winery had their tasting in a beautifully decorated outdoor space. The winery staff was a friendly bunch and the wines were good. Whats interesting though are the displays inside the winery. There were soil samples from many of the nearby regions to show how different they were. There are also aroma stations for visitors to smell and recognize the wines profile.
- soil samples from different areas
Our second stop was Honig Winery and tasted several older wines. Of the wineries we visited on the trip, we loved Honig the most and highly recommend making a stop.
River Rock Casino Controversy
In the early 21st century, controversy erupted in the Alexander Valley when the Alexander Valley Association of farmers, wineries and property owners objected to a proposed to be built on land owned by the . In 1998, the association had been able to block a large winery expansion proposed by , but in the dispute with the Pomo casino, federal and state laws granted the tribe the right to develop the land in any way they wished. The casino was built and named River Rock Casino. Resulting traffic problems along following River Rock Casino’s 2002 opening have led to public safety concerns during when the narrow rural roadways must accommodate tractor trailers and grape gondolas. These concerns intensified after River Rock received their in 2008.
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The Where Sonoma Coast California
Despite only having produced wine commercially since the 19th century, California has become one of worlds most prestigious and profitable wine regions. Indeed, California as whole has come to produce more than 84% of all American wine, while all but monopolizing Americas premier wine producing talent.
Ive had California described to me rightly or wrongly as Combine the best terroirs of Greece and Argentina, and you have an idea of what makes wine production in California such a delight. However, given how Greek wine toils in relative obscurity, and how Argentinian wine production and profitability has yet to even begin to approach that of California, one can only fairly reach the conclusion that there must be something more to the story than good terroir .
One might point to that fateful 1976 blind tasting in Paris, where Californian wines, Napa in particular, beat out a host of then-revered French labels to secure what can even now only be described as a reversal of monumental proportions, which overnight thrust California wine onto the world stage. Fair enough. However, even with that in mind, there must be something more, as many, many wine regions and little-known labels have had their share of upstart awards and recognition, only to fade back into obscurity.
Sonoma Wine Country Prepares For Drought
Sonoma wine country is preparing itself for a drought that has caused the area to look like its July instead of May.
Sonoma wine country is dealing with another potential economic blow. Last year, fires hit Sonoma and Napa Counties, and the entire state had to deal with pandemic-related closures. This year, the area is parched from the extreme to exceptional drought that has gripped a large portion of the state, including Sonoma County, and its already affecting grape production.
Grapes are the highest value fruit crop grown in the US and, while wine is grown in all 50 states, California produces 85 percent of all wine in the country. Wine has a relatively high water footprint, especially in the US where the vines are irrigated, even though irrigation is controversial because it can change a wines terrior the taste that reflects where and how the grapes were grown. Irrigation can increase a vineyards productivity but it can ruin the terroir of a grape. Nevertheless, in the US, as investors have increasingly influenced vineyard practices, productivity has trumped taste, and many operations have embraced irrigation. The practice is especially problematic once drought settles into a region, as is the current situation in the western US.
While much of the western US is in some degree of drought, the California wine country is particularly bad.
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Take A Break In Your Hotel
Now, check into your hotel and rest a bit. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa, just outside downtown Sonoma is a classic Wine Country hotel. Enjoy unique amenities like the geothermal hot springs that bubble up into the mineral pools and spa baths, and then pamper yourself afterward with a massage.
Another excellent lodging option is Sonomas Best Guest Cottages, just a short walk from the Plaza. The four one-bedroom cottages include private gardens set with teak furniture.
Sonoma Valley Wine Country Planning Guide
Sonoma Valley wine region is in Sonoma County in the southeastern portion of the County. The Mayacamus Mountains separate Sonoma Valley from the Napa Valley to the east. Our wine trails will take you to the best and most interesting Sonoma Valley wineries. Sonoma Valley is where it all began for California wine. Visit three wineries in the town of Sonoma, each of which is over 100 years old. Follow their history to learn how wine came to California. Near the city of Sonoma follow the Valley along Highway 12. Excellent wineries and beautiful vineyards are on this route. Sonoma County is extensive. For that reason, we have divided the Sonoma County into Sonoma Valley and the Healdsburg wine region.
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Lunchtime On The Healdsburg Plaza
Its about time for lunch, but rather than a sit-down meal at a single spot, indulge in a walk-around feast with Healdsburg Wine & Food Walking Tours.
The guided stroll includes exclusive private seated tastings at boutique tasting rooms, plus lots of fine snacks like beignets, honey-drizzled St. Agur blue cheese atop Bosc pears, port paired with chocolates, freshly baked breads, charcuterie, olive oil, and French pastries.
Officially Recognized Sonoma County Avas
Note that over 40 grape varieties are grown through Sonoma County. However, given the diverse terroir of each AVA, some are more recognized than others in certain regions. Below, well highlight the best-known grape varieties found in each individual AVA.
Also keep an eye out of Old World grape varieties being grown by some innovative producers throughout the valley, especially within Southern Sonoma. These varieties range from Italian varietals such as Sangiovese, to Spanish varietals such as Carignan. Bordeaux blends and grape varieties are also commonly found and can be fantastic, such as those occasionally crafted at Benzinger Family Winery depending on the year.
- Alexander Valley
- Bennett Valley
- Chalk Hill
- Dry Creek Valley
- Fort Ross-Seaview
- Fountaingrove District
- Green Valley
- Knights Valley
- Moon Mountain
- Petaluma Gap
- Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak
- Russian River Valley
- Sonoma Coast
- Sonoma Mountain
- Sonoma Valley
While Sonoma may be best known for its wine production, dont forget that given the diverse landscape, small towns, accommodation and cuisine found throughout the region there is plenty of hiking, biking, sailing, relaxing, shopping and exploring available to the enthusiastic traveler.
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Our Sonoma Wine Travel Guide Shares A Brief History Of The Region Terroir Where To Sip Where To Stay And Things To Do Beyond The Vines
Sonoma wine country is often touted as Napa Valleys little brother, but while the two wine regions are neighbors, they couldnt be more different.
For starters, while Napa Valley built its reputation on Bordeaux-inspired wines like Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma is most lauded for its Burgundy-style wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Sonoma is also double the size of Napa Valley and has much more potential for diversity they grow more than 60 grape varieties thanks to a wide spectrum of microclimates and its proximity to the Pacific Ocean.
Sonoma is also said to be more, in a word, chill. While theres no doubt it has solidified itself as one of the top wine-producing regions in not only the United States, but the world, theres less pomp and circumstance on Sonomas side, though if youre looking for luxury, you can certainly find that too.
Where To Eat In Sonoma
Boxcar Fried Chicken & Biscuits This is a great lunch spot in Sonoma County, and is one of the first stops you should make if youre coming in from San Francisco, since its on the way! Boxcar is also right by Domaine Carneros, so is a great spot to go eat before or after tasting there if youre in this area.
I love Boxcar on a nice day because they have a big outdoor area and the food is so, so good. The vibe is southern and delicious they have fried oysters, fried chicken , amazing milkshakes, as well as salads and sides, but you cant go wrong with their famous fried chicken & waffles SO good.
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The Alexander Valley Wine Region
Youll want to get a peek at Alexander Valley, which is one of the most beautiful spots of many, many breathtaking places in Sonoma County. Drive through Healdsburg north, and veer off into the Alexander Valley for a visit to Jordan Vineyard & Winery, and your 10 a.m., by-appointment library tasting.
The estate has been legendary since the stone and stucco castle opened in 1972, specializing in exclusive food and wine pairings. The intimate tasting will give you an excellent overview of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay, in a guided, one-hour immersion accented by small bites.
Get Your Bearings In Santa Rosa
If you are staying at the Flamingo Resort, you can start your exploration of Santa Rosa with a short walk over to Montgomery Village, an open air shopping mall with 75 shops and 12 restaurants and dont let the word mall put you off I found the name village well chosen, since this is a cluster of shops set in an village-like environment with beautiful landscaping nothing like an ordinary mall.
Youll find a number of restaurants at Montgomery Village and if you want to have dinner there, I recommend Montis Rotisserie, where I enjoyed some excellent Mediterranean cuisine. The show stopper here is, as the name indicates, the wood-fired rotisserie, but the menu also features enough vegetarian dishes to make me happy, plus Happy Hour cocktails and a comprehensive wine list. The cheeseboards alone were reason enough for me to love Montis Rotisserie, sea food lovers will love the oysters and shrimps, and meat lovers can feast on grilled and roasted specialties such as pomegranate-glazed pork ribs or oak-roasted chicken.
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Daily Sonoma Wine Tours Include:
- Sonoma Plaza Pick-Up
- Friendly and Knowledgeable Tour Guides
- Fun and Historical Narrative
- Scenic Views from an Open-Air Cable Car
- Visit to Three Sonoma Wineries
- Box Lunch
- Bottled Water
Winery tasting fees not included but are mandatory at this time to enter the winery. Must be 21 or over to take this tour.
We Look Forward to Meeting You on the Sonoma Wine Tour!
Our customers often share their favorite parts of the excursion through the Sonoma Wine Country with us. One customer describes their experience by saying, The settings were lovely and it was perfect to coast through the wine region in this open-air trolley visiting the Sonoma Wineries. This is truly a fun way to spend the day we only had 12 people on our trolley and by lunchtime, we were all laughing and getting to know one another. This was a wonderful day that was orchestrated from start to finish by Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley Toursthanks to all for giving us a day we will never forget.
Another trolley rider shared their experience: The wines were excellent at all the locations and the catered lunch from the girl and the fig was great. I highly recommend this tour if you are looking for a cost-effective way to learn about and experience Sonoma.
When considering Sonoma wine tours packages, make sure to check out the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley!
Luxury Accommodations In California Wine Country
Explore the beauty of Northern California from the comfort of The Cambria® Hotel Sonoma Wine Country. Enjoy a relaxing getaway at our pet-friendly Sonoma Wine Country hotel. Work and play from our atmospheric property with easy access to Sonomas best wineries, North Bay, and downtown Rohnert Park.
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Sonoma And Napa Valley Wine Country
Sonoma and Napa Valley wine country are both located north of San Francisco next to each other. Sonoma stretches from the coast to the inland and Napa is to the right of it. They are both homes to popular wineries and are known for producing different types of wines. On this trip, we spent 2 nights in Sonoma and 3 nights in Napa to relax in the wine country.
Why Is Sonoma County Such A Good Region For Wine
Two prime reasons: climate and soil. Sonoma County offers grape growers a wide variety of climate and soil conditions, known as terroir.
The climate is ideal for growing grapes, with long, dry, sunny, warm-but-rarely-hot summer days buttressed by cool nights, ocean breezes and fog.
That oceanic fog drifting through the Petaluma Gap into the interior valleys, works a unique magic. Among other things, it helps preserve acidity and complexity in the wines, and helps create daily temperature swings of 40 degrees or more .
Another remarkable feature here is the wide-ranging nature of the soil. With the Mayacamas Mountains, the rolling hills of the Carneros, the Russian River Valley, coastal hills, and other geographical features, Sonoma County has more soil types than all of France, with soils ranging from rich and loamy to volcanic/rocky and well drained.
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Green Valley Of Russian River Valley
The Green Valley of Russian River Valley AVA was formerly known as the Sonoma County Green Valley AVA. Located at the southwestern corner of the Russian River Valley AVA, its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean makes it one of the coolest appellations within Sonoma County. The climate in the Green Valley is even cooler than other parts of the Russian River Valley, and favors the cultivation of cool climate grape varietals. Seeking to connect the region with the more commercially successful Russian River Valley name, the appellation formally changed its name on April 23, 2007.
Offspring And White Cabernet
While not as prolific in as , nor as widely used in production of offspring, Cabernet Sauvignon has been linked to other grape varieties. In 1961, a cross of Cabernet Sauvignon and produced the French wine grape . is a white-berried of Cabernet Sauvignon that was discovered in 1989 growing in a garden in . is a crossing of Cabernet Sauvignon and an unknown hybrid grape variety that was discovered in in the late 20th century.
In 1977 a vine producing ‘bronze’ grapes was found in the vineyards of Cleggett Wines in Australia. They propagated this mutant, registered it under the name of Malian, and sold pale red wines under that name. In 1991 one of the Bronze Cabernet vines started producing white grapes. Cleggett registered this “White Cabernet” under the name of Shalistin. Compared to its Cabernet parent, Malian appears to lack in the subepidermal cells but retains them in the , whereas Shalistin has no anthocyanins in either layer. The team that went on to discover the VvMYBA1 and VvMYBA2 genes that control grape color have suggested that a gene involved in anthocyanin production has been deleted in the subepidermis of Malian, and then subepidermal cells invaded the epidermis to produce Shalistin.
During a series of trials between 1924 and 1930, the pollen of Cabernet Sauvignon was used to fertilize vines to create the red Italian wine grape .
In 1972, the Australian agency crossed Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with the Spanish variety to create three new varieties: , and .
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Sonoma Coast Wine Country
This post has been brought to you by Walt Winery. All opinions expressed are my own. The following message is intended for those 21+. Please enjoy responsibly.
Today were reviewing a pair of bottles from Californias Sonoma Coast, courtesy of Walt Winery.
Since weve got a lot of ground to cover, lets get tasting.
Old Faithful Geyser Of California
Our day three itiniary centers around the natural wonders of Calistoga. A trip to Napa Valley is not complete without a stop at the Old Faithful Geyser of California. Despite what you may read on the web, the geyser does not erupt on schedule. There are multiple factors that can impact the geysers eruption and that includes any earthquakes far far away.
The good news is that the tickets are good for multiple entries and 2 days. After arriving at the geyser, we waited close to an hour and decided to move on to the next destination. The staff had briefed us the previous day that the geyser didnt erupt for 8 hours and then continuously erupted for 5 hours. Not wanting to spend our time just waiting, we decided to head on to see Petrified Forest.
Later in the day, we called and were informed by the staff that the eruption was happening and we were able to catch it though not at its peak strength. If you didnt wish to miss the spectacles, we recommend calling ahead to find out the latest status with the geyser.
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