Wine Tasting in Sonoma & Napa

 

 

 

Sonoma Hot Spots

A day/weekend/week long trip in Sonoma and/or Napa is always a good idea.

Sonoma County area is my personal favorite if you’re looking to winery hop. A lot of my favorite wineries are in the Dry Creek area around Healdsburg. You won’t go wrong driving down Dry Creek Road and stopping at any of the wineries along your drive but here are a few of my favorites in Sonoma County…

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves – Super fun for groups or individuals. They have a flight tasting  that comes with a homemade peanut butter cup. yum! They have a ton of picnic tables set up (you can bring your own food – no food for sale).  It’s also on a hill which makes for some great Sonoma views.

Lounging at Bella Winery

Lounging at Bella Winery

 

Truett Hurst Winery – Also great for groups and a ton of nice tables to bring food to. They sell a few snacks as well here (although they are right around the corner from dry creek general store which has amazing food).  Beautiful gardens and a river in the back with a bunch of lawn chairs makes it a really relaxing winery.

Picnic at Truett Hurst

Picnic at Truett Hurst

 

Lambert Bridge Winery – Beautiful architecture and landscaping. Tons of tables to sit outside on. Awesome red wine selection.  They also have a food and wine pairing that you have to reserve ahead of time. It was a nice little tasting, but I think it’s just better to come for the wines and bring your own food.

Lambert Bridge Winery

Lambert Bridge Winery

 

Francis Ford Coppola Winery – Beware – this is a more commercial winery. But a fun stop if you want to see a few collectible items from his movies. Also has a large swimming pool that is often pretty crowded but open for day passes.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Francis Ford Coppola Winery & Pool

 

Dry Creek General Store – The coolest old school general store. Tons of awesome cheeses and snacks, deli sandwiches etc to bring with you to any of the wineries above. yum!!

Dry Creek General Store

Dry Creek General Store

 

Jacuzzi  – this is a pretty commercial winery and maybe a cheesy recommendation. But it has stunning views and free wine and olive oil tastings which make it awesome in my book (I’m frugal and a sucker for pretty views) and is only about 30 minute drive outside SF. The staff are super friendly and always accommodating. One time when friends and I brought a picnic lunch here they set us up with a free bottle of wine outside!

Gundlach Bundschu Winery – This place does get busy. But I like their wines and their caves were cool! They also host some fun events including an outdoor concert and annual movie night.

Gundlach Bundschu Winery Movie Nights

Gundlach Bundschu Winery Movie Nights

 

Domain CarnerosAlso commercial but stunning views and a beautiful patio.

Tasting at Domain Carneros

Tasting at Domain Carneros

The two cutest towns in Sonoma are Downtown Sonoma and Healdsburg.  Both have a quaint downtown square, a few nice restaurants and tasting rooms if you’re strolling around and shopping.

Napa Hot Spots

To be honest, I’ve been to a bunch of Napa wineries and I find most of them to be generic and commercial 🙁 not expressly worth recommending.

Driving down Highway 29, you will see most of the mainstream commercial napa wineries. This road can get pretty congested on weekends.

The Silverado Trail is a better option if you’re driving through Napa. You will find smaller wineries on this road that you can easily pull into for a quick tasting.

Clos Du Val is a winery on the Silverado Trail that allows you to bring in food and has a great view/gardens.

Clos Du Val Winery

Clos Du Val Winery

The towns in Napa all have a different vibe to them which is really cool.

Calistoga is beautiful with bigger mountains up in that area.

St. Helena is very cute as well with a lot of fun little shops to stop at.

St. Helena

Walking around St. Helena, California

 

Downtown Napa is definitely NOT worth stopping in!

I LOVE stopping in Yountville. It is home to some of the best restaurants and Bouchon bakery has the best Macaroons I have ever tasted. It’s also home to French Laundry and a number of other upscale restaurants like Ad Hoc and Bottega. If you’re hitting it up in Summer season, grabbing a picnic basket at Addendum at Ad Hoc and bringing it to a nearby winery is a great idea :). Napa Style in Yountville also has some cute Napa food gift items. 

Bouchon Macaroons

Bouchon Macaroons

That’s a high level summary of some of my favorite Napa & Sonoma spots. Enjoy!

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