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TASTING TERRIFIC VIEWS
While enjoying Sonoma County wine tasting rooms, your ultimate experience might take place in a winery where a striking, expansive view sets a rich backdrop for unique and transcendent wines. Here are a few to check out.
STRYKER SONOMA offers a distinctive set of artisan wines matched to a striking panoramic Alexander Valley view. Here, wines made with exquisite fruit from small, vineyard-designated lots are the norm. A lively and diverse set of white wines is complemented with stunning red Italianate and Bordeaux varietals. The wines, which are sold direct, can only be found here. Discover a fantastic new favorite vino, mix facts with fun as you chat with the friendly staff, and feel your breath being taken away again as you look through the panoramic lens of the Stryker Tasting Room, while sipping a glass from heaven.
At the top end of the rustic Dry Creek Valley, LAKE SONOMA WINERY'S contemporary-style observation deck summons you with its fresh perspective over 130 years of area winemaking. Premium wines are offered in concert with a spectacular sweeping vista of the 20-acre hillside estate and the entire Dry Creek Valley. Specializing in Zinfandels from distinctive vineyards around the Dry Creek, this premium winery also sources exceptional fruit from the neighboring Russian River and Alexander Valleys to create unmatched Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
Convenient to Healdsburg, CHATEAU SOUVERAIN is just off the highway minutes to the north, offering interesting food possibilities together with outstanding wines and views. A commanding fusion of French and Sonoma architecture draws you to the first unique tower housing the Tasting Room, where some of the mostly highly rated Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon in Sonoma County fills the glasses. This legendary Tasting Room is matched with an equally famed restaurant, where along with lunch and dinner (reservations highly recommended), a casual Al Fresco menu served from 2:30 to 5 o’clock is an excellent way to take a break from wine tasting, yet not spoil dinner.
Authentic Accommodation Experiences
The fame of the unique hospitality offered by Northern Sonoma County's small inns and B&B's is on the rise for good reason. And with the sumptuous breakfasts offered, you won’t have to worry about the effects of tasting wine early! Here are three accommodations offering California tradition, pleasant attitudes and warm service all under one roof.
An excellent way to really connect with Healdsburg and its environs is to reside within walking distance of its vibrant square, filled with many of the best eating and lounging establishments in the county. The remarkable Grape Leaf Inn is close in, and offers 12 luxurious rooms in a charming, updated historical building. Many rooms include special amenities, gourmet breakfasts are presented in the picturesque common area, and the idyllic award-winning garden is certain to please. Wine lovers will particularly enjoy stepping behind the secret bookcase and descending into the cool, subterranean Speakeasy, where renowned tastings of local artisan wines are conducted by the Innkeeper…if you find a wine you love it is probably available for purchase as well!
Also near the square is the warmly intimate George Alexander House. Built in 1905, this fine example of old-time Healdsburg ambience delivers the best of a California lifestyle from days gone by. The house is known to locals and tourists alike for its exuberant ornamental details and lovely quatrefoil windows, shining colorful patterned light into the stylish common areas. With only 4 rooms, it’s also a homey destination for a group of friends sharing wine country adventures. Time spent sipping wine aside the calm, gurgling pond with hosts Mel and Holly on the shaded patio really takes the cake, any remaining cares melting away after a busy day out discovering new wine gems. Lovely living spaces are offered with a friendly feel, your idyll here will not disappoint.
The Old Crocker Inn, located just outside the nearby town of Cloverdale, will appeal to those who wish to relax a little farther from the beaten path. A classy yet rustic California comfort will fill your time spent here. The expansive property's rich history began as the family hunting ground of Charles Crocker, founder of the Central Pacific Railroad (the western part of the Transcontinental Railroad), and is where many Sonoma County legends have played for well over a century. 5 rooms and 2 cottages offer a choice of attitude and lifestyle, and the terrific pool is sure to please on the many toasty days this area enjoys. Fine dining experiences abound in the local area, as well as here at the Inn on Saturdays, with Healdsburg also fairly close at hand.
Grape Leaf Inn | 707.433.8140
George Alexander House | 707.433.1358
Old Crocker Inn | 707.894.4000
Here in Sonoma County, Eco-Tourism is close to home, abounding in enjoyable forms old and new. Reservations are required for these activities, but many offer last-minute availability.
Burke's Canoe Trips on the Russian River is ready to include you in a longstanding Sonoma County tradition. For generations, friends and families have enjoyed this ten-mile, self-guided canoe trip through towering redwoods, past picturesque mountains and along warm sunny beaches. Bring a picnic and the finest beverage you can get into a plastic container…downriver you can either pull up to a secluded beach to enjoy your picnic, or drop anchor and float through it. You can take the river slow and easy, or make a more active run in the slow currents of this mighty river, which behaves itself in the summer. Keep cool, enjoy fun for all, perhaps start your own hot new family tradition! Participants must know how to swim and be at least 5 years of age.
The Armstrong Redwoods Pack Station offers a different kind of break from wine tasting. Guides Laura and John Ayers have been outfitting horse-loving dudes and dudettes since 1983. Whether you wish to ride gentle horses through the giant old-growth forest of Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve, ride more vigorously all day, pack overnight into the adjoining Austin Creek State Park or enjoy a private ride, you will enjoy the stunning beauty which reigns in this gorgeous area. The Sunset Barbeque ride, for a party of at least six, is an experience to be forever remembered.
If floating on water is still more appealing than being transported across land, California Rivers Paddlesports also offers breathtaking scenery in the estuary at the base of the mighty Russian River. From quaint Duncan’s Mills inland to stunning coastal Jenner, kayak on the calm, quiet waters which abound during the summer season. You will enjoy pristine views of virgin forests and awesome abundant wildlife, inaccessible any other way. The trips typically take about 5 hours…and you might suffer less guilt over the gourmet dinner later in the evening for your effort! You can ride either in tandem or as singles in these stable, user-friendly touring sea kayaks.
Burke’s Canoe Trips | (707) 887-1222
Armstrong Redwoods Pack Station | (707) 887-2939
California Rivers Paddlesports | (707) 579-2209