Josh and I visited Sonoma Valley as part of a 9 day California Road Trip. During the planning stages, we debated whether or not we should visit Sonoma Valley or Napa Valley. After a little bit of research and asking around, we ended up choosing Sonoma since we heard that it was more affordable, more quaint, and had more charm. We’ve still never been to Napa so I can’t compare the two, but I can say that Sonoma was definitely affordable, quaint, and charming!
Our journey to Sonoma started by heading North from San Francisco toward wine country. We had pre-arranged a wine tour for the day with Wine Country Journeys which would pick us up wherever we were staying, so we headed straight to our accommodations. Per usual, I had done a TON of research on places to stay in Sonoma (I like to know all of my options before making a decision), and found a place with wonderful reviews called Alexandra’s Plaza Suite. Upon arrival at Alexandra’s we were greeted with an adorable handwritten welcome sign. The place was immediately charming, comfortable and welcoming!
We had just enough time to drop our bags inside before our tour guide came to pick us up. We were the first people in our group of six to be picked up for the tour so we had some one on one time with our guide on the way to get the other passengers. During this time, our guide was very friendly and informative, and we could already tell that we were really going to enjoy the tour! After we’d picked up the other passengers, we headed to J Rickards winery just past Healdsburg. This winery ended up being our favorite winery of the whole tour. (I wonder if there is a strategy behind putting the better wineries at the beginning of the tour…) During the tasting we were offered several different cheeses and chocolates to taste with each of the wines. J Rickards also provided water and crackers to cleanse our palettes between tastings (you would think this is common at all wineries, but it’s not). After tasting a few wines we were given a tour of the property and an explanation of the harvesting process.
As you can see, wine country is absolutely beautiful! I loved being surrounded by all of the hills with the rich green vineyards covering them!
From J Rickards we made our way to David Coffaro Vineyards. The vibe here was a bit more casual than J Rickards, but still very pleasant. Our host was very friendly and shared with us lots of cooking and pairing ideas.
Next we headed to Kokomo Winery for a few more tastings before lunch. Kokomo was nice, but out shined by the others we visited. After three wineries we were ready for some food! We stopped at a country store/deli that served all kinds of tasty sandwiches which we took to Amista Vineyards to enjoy on their patio. We enjoyed conversation with our fellow tourists and tour guide, then moseyed on inside for our last tastings. Our host at Amista greeted us with champagne and a sign that read ‘Happy Anniversary’, which we thought was very sweet.
After the tour, we were dropped back off at our bed and breakfast where I took a nap before dinner. Once I had slept off the wine, Josh and I walked into the town center for dinner at The Girl and The Fig, which lived up to it’s good reviews. As we were walking back to our bed and breakfast, I was a little bit saddened that we hadn’t planned to spend more time in Sonoma because I found it incredibly charming! Luckily we hadn’t planned to spend more time in Sonoma since it would have meant spending less time in Yosemite, which ended up being the best part of the whole road trip!
Sonoma Tips and Recommendations
- Do your research. There are tons of options for places to stay and depending what you are looking for, you can pretty much find any kind of accommodations in various price ranges. We personally loved Alexandra’s Plaza Suite since it was very comfortable and charming and the owner was extremely nice and helpful through the booking process. I would definitely recommend it for couples!
- Make sure to stay for dinner in Sonoma. Both Sonoma and Napa are known for having lots of great food, so don’t miss out!
- Book your wine tour ahead of time, and let the guide know what kind of wine you like. Some tours will plan which wineries to visit around what the majority of their guests like. Beware though, as they may take you to wineries that are somewhat far away. I highly recommend Wine Country Journeys, but I wasn’t a huge fan of how long the drive was to the wineries that we visited.
- Wear comfortable clothes on wine tours. You’ll be walking around the vineyards, so you don’t want to be too hot, or in shoes that you can’t walk easily in.
Do you have any favorite wineries or B&B’s in California Wine Country? Share your favorite spots below!