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  Planning my surprise 20th wedding anniversary trip in the wine country (mid April)

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Author Topic:   Planning my surprise 20th wedding anniversary trip in the wine country (mid April)
KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 04-27-2011 07:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
Got to pay off this trip first before I plan another.

IP: 216.82.243.83

Hawkeye
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posted 04-26-2011 02:08 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
KMJ . . .WOW, you hit a lot of them. I agree with you about Chateau St. Jean although wetaste there every year because the winery carries Mrs. Hawkeye's name . . . the wines are just not to our palate.

I also agree with your Williamson comments. They do a very good job of marketing their wines, and the people are special.

Glad you had a great trip. When are you planning to go back again?

By the way, happy anniversary!

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 04-26-2011).]

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KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 04-26-2011 01:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
Sorry did something wrong but wanted to post for how our trip went

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KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 03-14-2011 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
We had an excellent trip and it wouldn't have been as good of a trip without all of your help.

Sonoma Day 1
Ravenswood, BH Cohn, Benzinger, and St Francis

We learned that if you taste good wine you will buy it.

Benziger tour was awesome and we learned alot from the tour. Solictice and Chardonary was our favorites.

BH Cohn was a neat experience bought some olive oil and the SyrZin bottle to have at dinner it was very good.

St Francis - we loved their Malbec

Ravenswood - we bought two a Cab and a Zin and we blame the purchase on the excitement of the trip. We tasted other Zins this week and we believe that these will be inferior. It was our first winery we visited. Maybe a Rookie mistake

Day 2 went to the coast redwoods, Wilson, Kendall Jackson, Williamson, Clos Du bois, and Francis Ford Coppola

Wilson we didn't care for the low stock levels and the zins were okay. Bought a blend Frank's Mistake.

Kendal Jackson was good. My wife thought the avant Chard was not bad for a stainless steel wine.

Williamson was one of the best stops we had all week the wine and food pairing was enjoyable. Left with the cab Lovers Merlot especially after the chocolate brownie bite.

Clos du Bois - 6 wine taste enjoyed their Old Vine Carignane & 2008 Tempranillo.

Francis Ford Coppola - Nothing was outstanding but at dinner we had their Rosso and it served well with our dinner.

Day 3 - Napa Sterling, Charles Krug,Berringer,Merryvale,V Sattui, and Robert Mondavi.

Sterling view was spectacular. Riesling was very surprising to our taste buds.

Charles Krug was a 6 wine taste. We decided to taste what we could get in Ohio.
Very enjoyable experience

Beringer- we skipped the wine tasting and went to have a glass of Knights Valley Cab outside while walking the grounds. I thought is was very smooth

V. sattui - we decided to eat cheese and crackers from their deli which was awesome and we bought a bottle of their chard to have in the picnic area.

Robert Mondavi - nice tour really informative and neat to see all of their oak fermenters. Pinot Noir was okay but the Oakville cab was outstanding.

Day 4 - Roche Horsebacking trip got cancelled. Deloach, Hanna, Ledson, Imagery, Chateau St Jean, Roche Reserve tasting, and Roessler.

Deloach - nothing special

Hanna - enjoyed their Pinot Noir

Ledson - ranks as the best set of wines tasted all trip. A lot of good zinz, and Cabs with long finish. We tried their prized blend Cepage it was the wow taste of the trip.

Chateau St Jean- we didn't care for any wines at this winery. Maybe it was that Cepage on our pallettes which effected our experience.

Imagery - was not bad but not worth buying a bottle.

Roche- Enjoyed their Pinot,Chardonnay(stainless steel) and their Casneros Valley Chardonnay. We bought a case of their 2010 Syrah after a barrel tasting. Cant wait for this case.

Roessler

5 wine taste all Pinots Peregrine,La Enantada were better than the higher priced Pinot's

We stayed at the Fountian Grove Inn in Santa Rosa and it was a nice place to call home for a few days. I would recommend it to anyone.

Equus,Restaurante Allegria,Rustics, and the Mertiage in Sonoma were wonderful conclusion to our days. Allegria in Napa was our favorite experience.

Thanks for guiding my wife and I on a wonderful journey.

[This message has been edited by KMJ16138 (edited 04-25-2011).]

IP: 72.49.168.189

yesilovewine
Member
posted 03-14-2011 09:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
KMJ,
I was fooling around with new resources and found something interesting that you might enjoy with your wife as you plan your trip. ( I saw on the Napa board that you spilled the beans!) The sonomauncorked website has a series of interesting videos about each of the Sonoma County growing regions and they include things like what varietals grow best there and some history about each area. If you haven't already seen it, you might find it a fun tool for planning...the scenery alone will get you excited about the trip!
I'm only recently familiar with this site so it may have other interesting aspects as well.
For trip plotting, the winecountrygetaways site has a really fun trip planner that I found over the weekend which allows you to actually plot the trip and then print it from the computer with directions from stop to stop. That site works for both Napa and Sonoma regions, by the way, so you can use it for your entire trip.
I also see that the Wine Country website's events calendar is greatlyl improved since I first tried it a while back and there are some pretty interesting events coming up in April, so you might want to take a gander at that, too.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 03-14-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

StacysWineStop
Junior Member
posted 02-26-2011 08:09 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for StacysWineStop   Click Here to Email StacysWineStop     Edit/Delete Message
Hello KMJ, I noticed all your wineries are big name wineries and not in the same area. So depending on the experience you want to have, the price your normally pay for wine and the wines you typically drink.

Visiting Napa and you like both whites & red try these wineries:

Twenty Rows - Only working winery in Downtown Napa - Price range $16 to $20

Girard Tasting room - Downtown Yountville prices from $18 to $75

Whitehall Lane - St. Helena, pricing from $20 to $150 (excluding reserves)

Madrigal Vineyards - Calistoga, pricing from $20 to $100

and if you want to do a tour I suggest visiting Castello Di Amorosa. The tour & tasting takes about a hour & half, but it is beautiful.

Red wine tour:

Delectus in the South Napa Warehouse district. Great place to meet the family. They offer barrel tasting is including in their tastings. Pricing from $25 to $100

Steltzner Vineyards - Stag's Leap District, great estate wines, a wonderful wine cave too. My favs here are the Claret $20, Pinotage $42 & the cab $50.

WM. Harrison - Rutherford Appellation this was owned by the Mario Perretta family, one of the oldest wine making families in California. Their pinot is drinking well right now. pricing from $23 to $80

Tre Sabor - Sabor St. Helena Appellation, great views and good wine. pricing from $25 to $80

Paradigm Winery - Oakville Appellation. Heidi Barrett is the Rock Star of winemaker in Napa and her wines show beautifully here. My favorite is the Zin, Merlot & Cab. prices range for $35 to $62

Sonoma is so big and you pretty much have 4 areas for tasting; Alexander Valley, Dry Creek, Russian River and Heart of the Valley/Carneros. So you would have to specify the area.

On a side note, their is a limit on the number of tasting licenses given out. So just because a winery has by appointment sign don't let that deter you. Many times you can walk-in and have the appointment on the spot or call before you leave one winery and ask for an appointment.

"It is about the people, place & wine!"

www.StacysWineStop.com

IP: 71.198.155.193

KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 02-22-2011 04:14 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
I appreciate everyone's help. Horsebacking in the winery sounds very interesting for this Buckeye.

IP: 72.49.168.189

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 01:20 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye, I'd kill myself trying to lift the thing!!
Y'all are just too funny!

Okay...so I just looked at my chart and see that if I can't lift a Jerobaum then I am REALLY a wimp... I get that one and the 6 litre one confused.

...See, I DO need a vacation....

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-21-2011).]

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Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-21-2011 01:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
How about a Jeroboam of Maple Vineyard Zin?

IP: 68.169.189.111

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 12:12 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Not a bad idea, Hawkeye...what would you suggest??

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Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-21-2011 10:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Yesilovewine, Personally, I would drown myself in wine.

[This message has been edited by Hawkeye (edited 02-21-2011).]

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yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 09:15 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks damambo. I hate when the business trips get all fouled by BUSINESS....! I lose more good vacay ops that way.

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damombo
Member
posted 02-21-2011 08:52 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Yesilovewine - sorry you were disinvited, but we are glad you are here

IP: 98.198.194.134

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 12:50 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
When we used to go up to the area from SFO, we would use Sonoma Valley as our "exit route" on the way back to the airport, rather than our entry. We usually stay in Santa Rosa, so Hwy 12 makes a scenic and easy drive for leaving the area. We got in the habit of stopping at Blackstone on the way out of town to purchase the wine shipping crates ( with foam inserts to protect the bottles) which we packed and took back to SF with us. We Fed Ex'd them home from there and saved about $12/box from the prices quoted us in Sonoma.
You might consider that as an option if it would fit with your flight schedule. Then you could use that first day to poke around Santa Rosa and maybe do some tasting there or nearby...say Olivet Road. Just a thought....
Also, on day 4, the Anniversary Day, had you considered heading to the coast? You could make a lovely day trip to the coast, tasting along the way, have a nice lunch in Bodega Bay or Jenner, and then back to Santa Rosa for dinner at one of the fine dining establishments like John Ash & Co. I didn't catch where you are from, but the coast up there is pretty impressive even to the most seasoned coastal people.
If you like horseback riding, I understand that Roche winery in Carneros ( one of the first you would see as you pass the racetrack) offers vineyard tours on horseback- that would be pretty cool if y'all are horse people, and would certainly make for a unique anniversary day experience.

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-21-2011).]

IP: 98.232.221.183

yesilovewine
Member
posted 02-21-2011 12:26 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hi Kids! I was disinvited on my trip, so here I am. ( Long story...but I promise has nothing to do with wine!)

Welcome KMJ and aren't you just the nicest person to put together such a trip. WOW. Can I give you my Left Brain's number???
I think that you have a great plan so far; it works really well for groupings and diversity in wineries.
You mentioned a little confusion about the different areas in Sonoma County, and I just want to assure you that you should not feel like the Lone Ranger on that one. Several areas overlap and with towns and valleys having the same name it is really hard to keep track of; that is why I have to get the map out when I discuss Sonoma wine country.
The Carneros District is the first "area" that you will encounter if you are coming up 101 and take the 37 turnoff toward Infineon Raceway...which is the way most folks do it I think. Carneros actually stretches across both Napa and Sonoma Counties, but we'll stick to Sonoma here. Viansa is in the Carneros District, to help you get oriented a bit.
Sonoma Valley is the next area in the southern part of the county. It contains the towns of Sonoma ( usually the most confusing reference), Glen Ellen and Kenwood and stretches roughly from the town of Sonoma north to some point between Kenwood and Santa Rosa. Wineries with addresses on Hwy 12 or Arnold Drive are in Sonoma valley.
When you get to Santa Rosa you're at the base of the Russian River Valley. This "area" is really big and actually contains 2 other appellations- the Green Valley which is toward the coast and Chalk Hill which is just north of Santa Rosa and stretches to the east. This is the area best known for the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Matanzas Creek would be one of your choices that fits in the RRV appellaton.
Dry Creek Valley is the area north and west of Healdsburg. Its known as Zin country and most of the places you have on Day 2 are in that area.
That, to me, is the best of Sonoma's best for scenery, wines and anything else that screams wine country.
Alexander Valley is to the east of Healdsburg and stretches to Cloverdale. This is where the best Sonoma Cabernets come from and also the Sauvignon Blancs. In the 2010 Harvest Fair, all three "Best in Show" wines came from this area. Stryker had the best red ( a Cab), Alexander Valley Vineyards had the best white ( a Viognier) and Simi had the best "other" with a Late harvest Riesling. From your list, Stryker and Clos du Bois would be in that appellation.
Wow, this is really long. Let me start another thread to make a suggestion to you...

[This message has been edited by yesilovewine (edited 02-21-2011).]

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KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 02-20-2011 04:17 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks hawkeye that would be great if you reply on the napa board for me. All of you have made me feel better about my trip. I just want it to go smoothly.

IP: 72.49.168.189

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-20-2011 12:41 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Wolfman,

We are probably both UT fans, but spelled differently.

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wolfman
Member
posted 02-20-2011 11:33 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye - understood....

I was wondering something else....are you and Damombo both "UT" fans?

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Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-20-2011 11:25 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Wolfman, you asked, "can a wine be "jammy" and "fruit forward"? (I am only half kidding."

I think they are probably interchangeable, I just like to yank Damombo's chain.

Geautiful day here in Tennessee. Cheers!

IP: 68.169.189.111

wolfman
Member
posted 02-20-2011 09:37 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for wolfman   Click Here to Email wolfman     Edit/Delete Message
Hawkeye - can a wine be "jammy" and "fruit forward"? (I am only half kidding.)

IP: 99.73.179.189

Hawkeye
Member
posted 02-20-2011 07:35 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Hawkeye   Click Here to Email Hawkeye     Edit/Delete Message
Hi KMJ, welcome to our wine world where Damombo likes them "JAMMY", I like them "fruit forward" and yesilovewine just likes anything from the Maple Vineyard. Each person has their own likes and dislikes so you have to experience tastings and find what you like.

Let me tell you how I begin a search. I go to either the Napa.co or Sonoma.com website depending on what area I am researching. Then I click on Visitor Information, then on the left Printable Winery Map. However, at this point, I don't print it, I enlarge it to about 127% to fit my computer screen, then I can follow a road, etc. and see what wineries I may want to visit. Remember, after you have done one winery tour, the others are pretty much the same and it takes time away from tasting. On the map, if it has a magenta triangle by the name, it is by reservation only. A round black dot means it is open to the public and no reservations are needed unless you want to do a special tasting or tour.

In your case, coming through Sonoma to Santa Rosa, unless you have specific reasons to taste at those on your list, you might want to try:
B R Cohn - He is also the manager of the group, The Doobie Brothers, so normally there are video's and music by them playing in the tasting room. They also have a nice selection and tasting of olive oils.

Imagery Estate - All of their wine labels are from art, most of which is original.

About now, it is time for lunch. You might want to cross over to Glen Ellen and eat at the Jack London Bar . . . great hamburgers. Or, go to the Mayo Reserve Room for a wine and food pairing. I have not tried this yet, but hear that it is good. Will try it in a week.

Then you can select from St Francis, Ledson, and the Sonoma Paradise Ridge.

Day 2 - What more needs to be said about Williamson, Wilson, Mauritson ans Stryker. If I were to change one on you list, it would be Clos dDu Bois, I just have an aversion to spending my tasting time at a winery that I can purchase the wines locally. You might want to add Segheiso, both Damombo and yesilovewine favor them. Another you might want to try if you have time is Passalaqua. Day 2 will be a great day for Zins.

If you would like, I can go over to the Napa Board and make some suggestions over there. Your tentative plans for your anniversary day look very good.

IP: 68.169.189.111

KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 02-20-2011 06:11 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
Thanks damombo
I found this on the Napa Site for our anniversary day and I will search the site (Opentable.com) for dinner reservations.

Hawkeye posted 01-31-2011 07:22 AM

"DAY 1 - Drive north on the Silverado Trail, then we will head back south.

Winery 1 - Baldacci Vineyards - No appt needed - Excellent Cabs - try their Diamond Mountain Cab

Winery 2 - Cliff Lede - Appt needed. Their Staggs Leap Cab is usually terrific.

Soda Canyon Deli to pick up lunch

Winery 3 - Stop at either Chimney Rock or Signorello - No appt needed.

Winery 4 - Robert Biale Winery - Cut across Oak Knoll road and turn left on Big Ranch Road. Go to Biale's address which will be on your left. Appt needed. Ask for Kandice to be your pourer, she is terrific. They have outstanding Zins. Tell her the guy from Tennessee sent you.

Winery 5 - Does not show up on your map. Suhr Luchtel Cellars just back the opposite way from Biale. Appt needed. You will probably taste in the dining room of the winery home. Probably the most diverse offering of the day. Normally, one of the owners will pour for you."

I know Hawkeye reports often from this area and I will set the Silverdo trail day for our anniversary day.

IP: 72.49.168.189

damombo
Member
posted 02-19-2011 07:26 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for damombo   Click Here to Email damombo     Edit/Delete Message
Welcome KMJ!
It looks like you have some good plans.
Are you wanting to do a tour at Benziger? I haven't done that yet, but I've heard good things - a tram ride through the vineyard... Gundlach Bundshu is another interesting place with lots of fans.
I think you have a good plan with the groupings - I take it you've looked at maps and plotted out a logical progression. Some of these places may require reservations - do check each winery's website as see what sort of tastings and tours they offer. Set up an appointment as soon as you have the gist of your itinerary set... April shouldn't be all that busy (compared to summer months and Harvest/Crush months)
You won't want to do too many tours - it will all begin to sound the same after 2! Maybe the Benziger tour and then either Mondavi (their tour is supposed to be excellent for first timers) or one of the sparkling wine makers.
The Castello di Amorosa tour is very entertaining and worth doing once. Especially for those of us who haven't ever been to a castle It isn't just about wine making, so you can do that tour along with others and not be bored.
Sterling Winery has a lovely setting (and it's close to Castello) - and you get to ride up to the tasting room in an arial tram. Wonderful views - some would say romantic
On your anniversary day, if your wife likes Cabernet Sauvignon, spend the day touring along the Silverado Trail and the Stags Leap District. This is the area with a world renowned reputation for their remarkable Cabs...
If you are looking for dining information for the valleys, go to Opentable.com and look for San Francisco, then the Wine Country. There you will find oodles of restaurants and links to their websites and a way to make dinner reservations.
If you haven't already, and you have some time, you might look back through this message board's earlier threads. There are several trip reports that might have helpful info.
She's a lucky lady, this wife of yours!!
Cheers!

IP: 96.8.187.200

KMJ16138
Junior Member
posted 02-19-2011 05:57 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for KMJ16138   Click Here to Email KMJ16138     Edit/Delete Message
This is our first trip to the Sonoma Valley/ Napa Valley. We will have 4 days available with our lodging located in Santa Rosa. My wife favors the medium to heavy wines both reds and whites.

My first problem I am a novice at wines and the valleys. Based upon my browsing, I have come up with this tentative internary and I need some help from the experts.

Day 1 will leaving San Fransisco about 9:00am and thought the Sonoma, Glen Ellen, Kenwood districts would be on our first destination as we head to Santa Rosa. I know I would only see 3-6 wineries

Viansa,Ravenswood,Benziger,Chateau St jean,St Francis

Are these good? What about Keller Estates, Mantanzas Creek,Gundlach Bundschu?

Day 2 Healdsburg/Geyerville

Wilson,Mauritson,Williamson,Clos Du Bois & Stryker


Day 3 Run over and see some of the Northern Napa Valley

Castello di Amorosa, Mondavi, Merryvale Charles Krug & an a couple of more(still doing research).

Day 4 - Anniversary Day What have I missed?
Want to keep it open to go and visit another district which will be the best of the best either in Napa or Sonoma.

A couple of questions if reservations are needed How long before do you set up the reservation?

My goal is to leave these valleys and I want her to want to come back for future trips.

Thanks for all who contribute

IP: 72.49.168.189

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