It’s that time of year again!

My annual spring trip to the Sonoma/Napa area!

We’ll be in town the week after Easter.

I’ve got a few things on my list of must sees for this trip, but have a lot of time open over 5 days for suggestions.

So tell me your favorite things to do and see, both wine related and not…we do enjoy spending some time on non-wine related pursuits on our annual trip.

Would love to hear what’s on your must do/see/visit list!


11 Responses

  1. Sonadora,

    I am going to suggest two stops in the Carneros region. Ceja Family vineyards. Beautiful outdoor patio area with bocce court, and a very friendly and informative young Arial Ceja is great in the tasting room. They have some nice reds, lower in alcohol, very approachable. I would also suggest Bouchaine Vineyards. They have a nice outdoor covered deck that you can enjoy at tasting at. Bring your own food and have a picnic lunch. My favorite wines are the Rockin H Syrah, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. They also have a chocolate dipping sauce that a great dessert topper!

    Good luck!

  2. Tasting room at Artesa is incredible if you’ve never been there (Carneros as well). They just brought over a new winemaker- Mark Beringer- from Duckhorn this year. Don’t know when his wines will be out, but the Artesa and Ridgeline bottlings were pretty tasty.

    Napa Vintner’s Collective in downtown Napa is a great place to taste a bunch of wineries’ offerings that are too small for tasting rooms.

    Set up an appointment to visit Quixote in Stags’ Leap District if you like crazy architecture as much as you like wine.

    Bike tour tasting on Dry Creek Rd. is always fun. I know you know and love Dan Teldeschi’s wines…pop up the road to visit four wineries in one little area: Papapietro Perry, Amphora, Kokomo, and Peterson Winery (appt. only, but Fred Peterson’s worth meeting).

    Have fun!

  3. Remember, Lodi is only a short drive away! 🙂

    Open invitation stands…



  4. I strongly suggest stopping for lunch in Yountville at Bottega. I found both the setting and the food to be impeccable. I say lunch because a lot of the menu is the same for a better price, although it could easily make a great, long, relaxed dinner with antipasti, and dessert as well. Enjoy your trip!!

  5. You know my heart is in Sonoma and Healdsburg area mostly. We should get Thea and co up this way and we can duck out and barrel taste the Cartograph 09 Pinots in the Russian River Valley.
    also out that way:
    Arista, awesome place to have lunch
    Gary Farrel Winery for wine with a view
    J for some bubbly.

    I could go on but make sure you let us know your dates on this side of the valleys and we’ll make sure to pull together a crew to go taste.

    Just a general comment that if you know folks who will barrel taste with you, do it in Russian River this trip. The 09 Pinots are stunning pretty much across the board.


  6. Oh yes FORCE me to come drink great wine with my Wino Lush friend Alan! Careful though, with Megan and myself and all those barrels, you might not have anything left to bottle 😉

    Super excited to see you, albeit briefly, back out this way.
    I concur however, J and or Iron Horse shall be required! And Holdredge for the pinot pinot pinot!

  7. Sonadora,

    As an avid reader of your blog, I thought I would take this opportunity to jump in.

    My wife and I are relatively new to the wine world. Our epiphany that showed us what great wine could be was in the spring of 2005 when a colleague retired and a bottle of Venge cabernet sauvignon was served at the dinner. Since then we have visited Napa and Sonoma three times and are planning another trip this November. Here are some of our favorites:


    Venge – I had to start here. Lin Forino does a beautifully paced tasting. The wines are every bit as good as the one that started us on the path to drink great wine.

    Jocelyn Lonen – Wonderful hospitality. Showed us what great chardonnay tastes like, especially since we didn’t touch most whites. The best $35 Napa cab I have found.

    The Terraces – The balsamic vinegar tasting is too cool to miss. The wines are no slouch either.

    Surh Luchtel – A friend who worked as a wine distributor here in Texas connected us up with Gary Luchtel. 2 ½ hours later we had to leave to make our dinner reservations. Our favorite new winery from our fall 2009 visit.

    Other great experiences were at Lamborn, O’Shaughnessy, and Robert Biale

    I went to a tasting recently of David Arthur Wines. Had a blast. Definitely on my list to visit this year along with Constant.

    Great meals at Brix, Mustards, CIA Greystone WS, Bouchon, among others.


    Papapietro-Perry – Their Peters Vineyard Pinot is as good as pinot gets. Located at the Family Wineries on Dry Creek Road. Can visit Kokomo and Peterson at the same time, which also have outstanding wines. Dry Creek Olive company is there as well.

    Siduri/Novy – It may be in an office park but great wines. Siduri is pinots and Novy is everything else.

    Since we love pinots, we are looking to explore more like Chasseur, Lynmar and Miramar.

    Two great lunch places – Dry Creek General Store (Sandwiches) on Dry Creek Road and Willow Wood Market Café (Polenta) in Graton.

  8. Thanks everyone for all the wonderful suggestions! I’m looking into all of them and will let you know our tentative itinerary as I start to form it this weekend!

    Please keep the recommendations coming!

  9. If you are in Sonoma/Carneros on that Monday, you are invited to come by the winery for a sit down tasting/bbl tasting. 2009 is pretty spectacular. I am out of town Tues-Friday though, so while you are welcome to come another day, probably no bbl tasting, just a tour and taste.

    If you are staying in Sonoma (the town of) I can come up with a long list of fun and delicious places to eat. (Did I steer you wrong on Portugal?) Schellville Grille is in Carneros, you should consider it for lunch. He is going to be featured on Food Network’s Diners, Drive Ins and Dives in May. Be ahead of the curve.

    Email me directly.

  10. Let me know if you’re interested in a little adventure. We van dream something up! You know me… I’ve got a lot up my sleeve!

  11. I’d say stop in at Roche Winery. The tasting room is just off old Sonoma Square. They don’t distribute and sell only at the winery/tasting room. They almost always have barrels out there to taste as well, and futures are always on offer. I discovered them a year ago by picking them off a map, quite literally. Carneros vineyards. Pinot noir, Syrah, Merlot, Chardonnay primarily. They’ve also got a couple late harvest/dessert wines, if you like that sort of thing.

    For my tastes, the 2005 Reserve Merlot was one of the best I’ve ever had. First time I’ve ever sniffed a wine and exclaimed “blueberries!”

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