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  Sonoma County     [all categories]
  Sonoma - Wineries to Visit
  First Timers/10th Anniversary Trip Next Week (11/9)

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Author Topic:   First Timers/10th Anniversary Trip Next Week (11/9)
posted 11-02-2011 06:56 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for carjeff   Click Here to Email carjeff     Edit/Delete Message

Congrats on celebrating your 10th anniversary in wine country. You'll enjoy the Lodge at Sonoma. We stayed there a few years ago, and loved it. We will actually be there next week at the Lodge also - Sat night through Tues, so we may see you in passing!

Since you really enjoy Chardonnays and light reds, I would agree with yesilove wine and concentrate on Russian River Valley - several excellent choices for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I would also spend some time in Carneros for these same varietals. If you have never been to Napa Valley, I would also suggest spending a day there is you have time.

A possible itinerary might be:

Wed - arrive at Lodge late afternoon. IF time permits, stop at a winery or 2 either on the way to Sonoma - go over the Golden Gate, or possibly in Carneros. Otherwise, check into hotel and spend time browsing shops in Sonoma Square, and taste at any of the tasting rooms in/around the Square.

Thurs - Trip to the coast and back. Visit Armstrong, and stop by some wineries in the Russian River area.

Fri - Day trip to Napa and back. Stop at wineries in Carneros on the way to/from Napa.

Sat - Concentrate on Sonoma valley, and possibly more in Russian River.

Winery suggestions: Landmark - excellent Chards, Rochioli, Merry Edwards, Benziger - good tram and cave tour, Nicholson Ranch, Etude, Saintbury.

Just start reading the posts, and looking at the winery websites, to see if they look interesting. If you are not familiar with the wine-making process, I would suggest a few tours (1 per day).

Restaurants - You can't go wrong with most restaurants. Note that Napa (town) and Yountville are about 20-30 mins away from the Lodge. If you want to venture for dinner, Yountville has many highly rated restaurants. Several Food Network chefs ahve restaurants in Napa (Tyler Florence, Morimoto) and Yountville (Michael Chiarello). In Sonoma I would recommend Swiss Hotel for casual Italian.

One last thing - check with the concierge at the Lodge. I have been in contact with them, and they have many winery recommendations (and wine tasting passes), and also made my restaurant reservations. The lodge is just over a mile from Sonoma Plaza, so it can be a nice walk, or the Lodge also has a free shuttle (no need for a cab).

If you have a Visa Signature Card, that also gives you discount/free tastings at many Sonoma wineries:



posted 11-01-2011 09:04 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for yesilovewine     Edit/Delete Message
Hiya C, and welcome.
Its been pretty slow around here lately, but I will try to offer some ideas for you to start with. Hopefully some of the folks who are there now will see this and give you some ideas.
First, let me commend you on your lodging choice- we have heard only great things about it and plan to stay there on our next visit. The Carneros Bistro is their on-site, I think, and it gets good reviews so that is certainly an option for dinner, and we enjoyed our meal at Saddles, which is the on-site for MacArthur Place which is near the Lodge.
For lunches in Sonoma, we like The Red Grape a lot and we thoroughly enjoyed lunch at Murphy's Pub which is off Sonoma Square.
We usually grab picnic fare someplace and take that around with us and consume it "whenever"...its spontaneous and allows us to take advantage of unexpected opportunities. We keep a small folding cooler with water and snacks as well- keeping hydrated is very important.
As to winery suggestions, I like to suggest that folks check out the results from Harvest Fair to see whose wines are tasting really well, and also look at your own wine stash at home to explore those wineries and their other offerings. The fair results are listed by varietal, price and award so you can check them out by whatever is important to you. AS you work out your plan, be sure to have a good map at hand so that you don't end up hop-scotching all over the county. I like the ones at the wineroad website as they are easy to read and you can print them out.

If the weather cooperates, a trip to the coast would be in order I think. If Armstrong Redwoods Preserve is open, that is another option worth considering and would offer a very nice place for picnicking. Other things you might enjoy would be the carriage tour of the wineries in Alexander Valley- that includes lunch and sounds like a fun day, or perhaps a trip to the Charles Schultz museum in Santa Rosa. The Coppola winery in Geyserville is vast and offers tours, and they have the movie memorabilia from Mr. Coppola's productions which is pretty cool to see in person. The restaurant, Rustic, is a nice setting and offers great vineyard views. It would be a great place to break up a day of touring in the northern county.
Generally, the Russian River area is where the best known Chardonnays come from so you might want to start there. Given that this is an anniversary trip, you might want to visit one of the sparkling wine facilities in celebration of your day...Korbel's tour gets lots of praise and they have an on-site deli, Gloria Ferrer is popular and convenient to your lodging location, and Iron Horse is waaaay in the country but its rustic setting is very quaint and oozes "wine country".( But if its raining I wouldn't recommend them as it gets really mucky back there)!
This is really long so I'll close here. Hope I haven't confused you or made your confusion worse!


Junior Member
posted 11-01-2011 07:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for CSM     Edit/Delete Message

My wife and I are flying into San Fran next Wednesday (11/9) around 12:30pm and renting a car and heading north.  We are staying at the Lodge at Sonoma for 4 nights before flying out first thing on Sunday am.  We are celebrating our 10th anniversary and are excited to have a kid-less vacation!!  Couple of questions with this being our virgin trip to the Valley:

1.  What wineries do we visit?  My wife loves chardonnay and we enjoy some lighter reds but are open to anything.  Any must visits?  We are thinking about taking a tour one day and driving around ourselves the other 2.5 days.  With some many wineries, I am overwhelmed so looking for suggestions on some memorable must visit places.  

2. Where do we eat?  A friend recommended The Girl & the Fig and we figured we would eat at the Lodge/Carneros one night.  That leaves 2 other nights.  Figured we would stay close so we can enjoy dinner and not have to drive home.  If there is a must visit restaurant that we should take a cab to, we are open to suggestions.

3. Any must do things we should try and do besides wineries?  We are looking to relax so we are thinking the spa at the lodge and some shopping unless you tell me otherwise.  Any spots we should definitely drive to?  We got a convertible. 

4. What are great lunch spots we should go to or what romantic spots should we bring a picnic lunch to?

Thank you to anybody who has some insight.  I know it is a lot of questions but I need to catch up on my itinerary planning!!!!


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