Travels in Wine Country: Sonoma

For the second half of our trip to wine country, we crossed over to the Sonoma side.


We drove over the mountains and headed north to the Russian River Valley, where we had a tasting at the Acorn winery. While the Napa side is best know for Cabernets, the Napa side is more known for Pinot Noirs (among others). We didn’t really think we were pinot fans, but quickly learned how good good pinots can be.

We visited the charming town of Healdsburg and stopped into Bear Republic for lunch and beer tastings; great beer, mediocre food, enjoyed walking around the small main street of town.

IMG_4672We stayed one night in the town of Sonoma, and walked around the main town square before dinner at the Girl and the Fig, where we enjoyed well-prepared French/modern cuisine in a relaxed, casual setting. The best part was a nut tart with roasted pumpkin ice cream for dessert.

IMG_4682After a short and speedy treadmill run the next morning, we made our way to the Santa Rosa/Sebastopol area for the day. We did a tasting at Benovia, which ended up being one of my favorite wineries of the whole trip. This is where I learned to like pinots. The setting was gorgeous, in a rustic lodge among the vineyards with comfortable couches and a fireplace burning. Perfect.


IMG_4685Upon the hostess’s recommendation, we then went for a tasting at the Red Car tasting room, a hipster little tasting room with very friendly staff and a cool little shop. Definitely recommended.


We made our way into the little town of Sebastopol for lunch, where we bought salads and kombucha and had that with cheese and crackers at the community market, in a little warehouse conversion area. I loved all our picnic lunches on this trip of fresh local food, and I like to think it balanced out the big dinners.


That afternoon, we checked into our last hotel of the trip, in downtown Santa Rosa, and walked over to the Russian River brewery to ring in the new year. We didn’t really intend to stay until midnight, not caring that much about New Year’s Eve, but rather got there for the tail end of happy hour and a few hours of drinks and dinner.

IMG_4692Such excellent beer; we had Pliny the Elder, of course, plus some other great beers, including some sours, that you can’t get anywhere else, along with salads and pizza. It was crowded but fun, and we left before the band started playing, around 9:30ish. Perfect evening.

IMG_4695I started off the new year with another treadmill run, to conclude the running streak, and we made our way back through San Francisco and boarded the plane home. So sad to leave.

This was an amazing trip; it was the perfect blend of getting away, seeing a new place, relaxing, being active, and of course great food and wine. The area was beautiful, and now I know a lot more about wine (haven’t yet decided if that is good or bad?). Wish we were still there!


4 thoughts on “Travels in Wine Country: Sonoma

  1. The number of wineries in the area is unbelievable! I stayed in Santa Rosa and visited the Russian River Valley but didn’t end up in any of the spots that you did.

    • Sorry for the delay in responding! I’m not going to lie, it is pretty wine-centric. If you go to a winery for a tasting, wine is pretty much the only thing on offer. However, there is also a good beer scene, especially in Sonoma, and all restaurants would have a variety of drinks on hand, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. And there is plenty to do in the area besides drink (biking, hiking, visiting downtowns, etc).

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