Wine Tours, Farm-to-Table Dinners and Northern California Fun
By Ronda M. Parag
On a recent trip to tour unique destinations in Sonoma, California, I was reminded that wine country, like a great vintage bottle, is best shared with loved ones. A romantic trip or a girls getaway, Sonoma County, with more than 425 wineries, has so much to discover.
My four days of exciting events and activities started with lunch at Servino Ristorante in Tiburon, California. The views of San Francisco Bay were breathtaking, as the view of the city was off in the distance. The food was served family style, and we had Monterey Calamari, Salt Spring mussels, Heirloom Tomato salad, choice of two pasta dishes, and of course wine, including One Hope.
Four unique wineries to visit include K Squared, Moshin Vineyards, Heidrun Meadery and Petroni Vineyards. K Squared is a small boutique winery in Artisan Alley in the town of Windsor, owned by Andrew and Julie Moore, and known for their Russian River Pinot Noir.
Moshin Vineyards began in 1989 and was the dream of Rick Moshin and his family, located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Today, the Moshin Vineyard has a unique 4-tier Gravity Flow Winery and controls 28 acres of grapes, mostly Pinot Noir. They specialize in small lot, hand-crafted wines. The tasting room is open daily and tours of the winery are by appointment.
Heidrun Meadery is a great stop for sparkling meads — which is wines made from honey rather than grapes. Located in Point Reyes Station, the wine was surprisingly good and refreshing. No reservations required and the tasting room is open every day.
Petroni Vineyards began with famed restauranteur Lorenzo Petroni’s dream of creating wine from the grapes of his native Tuscany, and the prized Sangiovese Grosso clone in the Sonoma soil. In 1992, he found a 37 acre estate atop the Mayacamas Range and has created a paradise complete with a home, guest house and dining and tasting cave available for private events. The estate is known for red wines that rival the old world Italian wines, and 100 percent certified organic estate extra virgin olive oil. Tastings & Food Pairings are by appointment only.
You are probably wondering, how am I going to get all my wine home? Make sure to purchase a wine suitcase by VinGardeValise, and sold locally by reseller, FlyWithWine. Your wine will arrive home safely, and ready for you to share with friends and family.
Other fun activities when tooling around Sonoma County include a stop for an authentic Italian ice or Soft Serve, or a combination of the two, called a split, at Amy’s Wicked Slush in Healdsburg. It is refreshing authentic Boston-style Slush owned by Amy Covin, who missed her Slush every day and opened the first Slush shack in Northern California.
If you are an artisan cheese lover, stop by the Cowgirl Creamery in Marin for a cheese class and tasting. Be sure to visit the retail shop to bring home some of their fresh, bloomy and aged cheeses.
I would suggest hiring a tour company and possibly a caterer for group travel. Beau Wine Tours has experienced drivers that know how to navigate the narrow and winding roads, and offers several options for wine tours. Off The Beaten Path is available to create custom picnic lunches for small groups that are wine tasting, and available for corporate events, large reunions, and destination weddings.
A great place to stay is the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country, a rustic chic sanctuary set on 8 acres with 253 recently renovated guest rooms. The hotel brings a casual elegance to Wine Country with its earthy colors, textures and natural accents. Another hotel option is Vintners Inn, the only AAA Four Diamond resort in Santa Rosa, CA. The California Green Lodging-certified resort sits on 92 acres of lush vineyards and beautifully landscaped grounds with courtyards and fountains. This fall, there will be 44 new deluxe Vineyard View suites, one even with an outdoor bathtub, along with a full-service spa and health club. M
For more information on what to do and where to stay:
Visit Sonoma Wine Country: www.SonomaCounty.com
Servino Ristorante: www.servino.com
Beau Wine Tours: www.beauwinetours.com
Wine Suitcase: www.Vingardevalise.com
KSquared Cellars: www.ksquaredcellars.com
Moshin Vineyards: www.moshinvineyards.com
Petroni Vineyards: www.Petronivineyards.com
Amy’s Wicked Slush: www.wickedslush.com
Cowgirl Creamery: www.cowgirlcreamery.com
Off The Beaten Path: www.offthebeatenpathwinecountry.com
Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country: www.hyattregency.com
Vintners Inn: www.vintnersinn.com
Heidrun Meadery: www.heidrunmeadery.com
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