Sonoma Wine Country Guide

The best the North Bay has to offer.

I don’t discriminate against any town in wine country. However, my absolute favorite and my true love is Sonoma! It’s much more chill and laid back compared to some of the other places in the North Bay.

It’s breezy, carefree, and elegant—with just the right amount of indulgent.

Wine Enthusiast just named Sonoma its #1 Wine Region of the Year, calling it “one of the most diverse and progressive winegrowing regions in the world.”

Cline Cellars
Sonoma Wine Country Guide

SONOMA WINERIES

Buena Vista – California’s first premium winery.

Flowers Winery – brand new, beautiful tasting room with outdoor cabanas and indoor tasting rooms.

Twomey – crafting Vineyard-Focused Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot from California to Oregon.

Gracianna – For Those With Something To Be Grateful For.

Cline Cellars – low key and family run and oriented winery focused on Zins and Chard.

HOTELS

Carneros Resort & Spa – luxury retreat with outtanding amenities.

The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance – beautiful hotel a short walk away from Sonoma Square and a quick drive away from the wineries.

Sheraton Petaluma – is a great option because it’s centrally located minutes away from Downtown Petaluma, 15 minutes to Sonoma wineries and Sonoma square.

Best Western Dry Creek Inn Healdsburg – European looking hotels in Healdsburg located in a more rural area a quick drive away from wineries.

Timber Cove Resort – is a beautiful resort right on the coast in Jenner. It’s located about an hour away from the main Sonoma area but it’s a gorgeous romantic hotel.

 

Beyond the wine:

Drive to the Sonoma coast and explore Bodega Bay

Bodega Bay
Sonoma Wine Country Guide

About 45 minutes from Sonoma is a beautiful area called Bodega Bay, a west coast town that feels like you’re in Ireland. With fresh seafood, local restaurants, and a gorgeous stretch of the Pacific Coastline.

 

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The best of Sonoma Square

Sonoma County offers so many food and drink options to check out that it’s hard to see it all in one visit.

This guide is perfect for you if you want to visit the best tasting rooms and restaurants without even leaving the main square.

The Best of Sonoma Square:

  • Tasting Rooms

Lake Sonoma Winery offers Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet by the bottle as well as cheese boards and charcuterie.

Roche Winery offers daily tastings, indoor and outdoor wine tasting bars, light bites, and a shaded outdoor tasting patio with fireplaces.

The best of Sonoma Square
The best of Sonoma Square

Pangloss Cellars offers a private, more focused and immersive seated tasting accompanied by a local cheese and charcuterie plate for each guest.

Sigh serves Champagne & Sparkling flights (3 two ounce pours). No reservations are necessary, all space is first come, first serve.

Schug provides seated tasting of five Schug Carneros Estate wines including our Estate and Heritage Reserve Pinot Noir and Chardonnay releases. 

  • Restaurants

El Dorado Kitchen offers California-inspired cuisine with a focus on the freshest farm- and ranch-raised ingredients and signature cocktails, all served in a relaxed-yet-refined Sonoma spirit.

The best of Sonoma Square
The best of Sonoma Square

The Girl and the Fig features a wonderful antique bar with French aperitifs, unique and traditional cocktails, an award-winning Rhone-Alone wine list, inventive French country fare, cheese & charcuterie platters, and outdoor garden patio seating.

Sunflower Cafe uses local, organic, fresh ingredients. Indoor, sidewalk & garden seating. Breakfast, lunch, wine, cocktails & espresso.

Tasca Tasca means tavern or pub in Portugal. Tapas (small shared plates) menu offers  snacking on a wide variety of delicious food while drinking unique wine.

B&V Whiskey Bar and Grille is Sonoma Plaza’s only brew pub, whiskey bar, and live music venue. B&V’s menu format is wine country inspired with farm to table elements, Italian and French influences, and good old fashioned BBQ and burgers.

  • Hotels

El Dorado Hotel offers amenities and charm of Sonoma wine country, with French doors leading to a private balcony with views of Sonoma Plaza or garden courtyard. The hotel includes as a stone courtyard for outdoor dining, a pool and an inviting fireplace lounge for private events.

Sonoma Hotel maintains its nostalgic charm, with a stone fireplace and antique Italian stained glass in the lobby. The accommodations include modern private baths, French country furniture throughout, original wine stave lobby chandeliers.

Swiss Hotel  has 5 beautifully appointed rooms with a view of Sonoma Plaza or the garden patio. All five rooms have access to the balcony overlooking the Plaza. King Rooms have private entries to the front balcony.

Inn at Sonoma features 19 well-appointed guest rooms in the main building and 8 newly opened guestrooms in the adjacent Vintners Cottage.

Ledson Hotel  offers six individually decorated guest rooms with antique grandeur and modern amenities.

Check out this article if you’re traveling with your pup and need a dog friendly accommodations.

Dog Friendly Hotels in Sonoma County

The Lodge at Sonoma Renaissance

Beautiful hotel a short walk away from Sonoma Square and a quick drive away from the wineries.

Pets allowed for an extra charge of USD 100 per accommodation, per stay, plus a one-time cleaning fee of USD 100.

 

Sheraton Petaluma

Sheraton is a great option because it’s centrally located minutes away from Downtown Petaluma, 15 minutes to Sonoma wineries and Sonoma square.

Pets stay free.

 

Best Western Dry Creek Inn Healdsburg

European looking hotels in Healdsburg located in a more rural area a quick drive away from wineries.

Pets allowed for an extra charge of USD 30 per accommodation, per day.

 

Timber Cove Resort

Timber Cove is a beautiful resort right on the coast in Jenner. It’s located about an hour away from the main Sonoma area but it’s a gorgeous romantic hotel.

Pets allowed for an extra charge of USD 75.00 per accommodation, per stay.

 

H2 Hotel

Located in downtown Healdsburg, it’s the perfect spot to be for an easy access to the best food and wine in Sonoma.

Dogs allowed for an extra $150 per day.

 

 

 

Engagement Photoshoot in Napa Valley

In honor of Valentine’s Day, I wanted to share a few photos from our engagement photoshoot. They were taken on a private ranch in Napa Valley back in September 2018.

It was so much fun running around the estate and drinking champagne while our amazing photographer and friend was taking photos. Can’t believe how great this shoot turned out!

 

Photography: Hannah Berglund hannahberglund.photography/

Makeup: AP Luxe Salon https://www.apluxesalon.com

Hair: Paige Charbonnier https://www.apluxesalon.com

 

Happy Valentines’s Day,

xox

Wine Tasting in Sonoma. Gracianna Winery.

Looking for a unique wine tasting in Sonoma?

Healdsburg is an amazing town with tons to do and see. In the main downtown area, you will find dozens of restaurants and tasting rooms. From formal experiences like JCB to laidback Banshee Wines and Bravas, a tapas restaurants, Healdsburg has a place for any taste and vibe.

However, our main mission in Healdsburg was to experience the Gracianna Winery, located on the Westside Road just 10 minutes away from the busy downtown.

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Gracianna is open from April to November and is famous for their pinot’s and bold zin’s. We were able to visit the winery for a private tour and tasting organized by the hospitality manager, Cyndee. Definitely a unique wine tasting experience, if you’re looking for one.

Greeted at the large Spanish doors, we were welcomed into the family house. I mean, who opens up their house to strangers for a wine tasting?! After a little Chardonnay, we met other guests and started the tour of the house.

The owners, Trini and Lisa, led the tour and shared all special details about the house they had built from the ground up. Without giving out too many details, I’d say that everything in the house has a special story and meaning. Spanish doors, mirrors, windows, art… everything put together with such love and care.

Wine Tasting in Sonoma

The winery is names after Trini’s grandmother, Gracianna, who taught him to be grateful. For everything.

The wine tasting included 5 wines starting with chardonnay, 3 pinot noirs and a Zin. The funny story about how they got into the wine business is that their son secretly started making wine in their garage, as a 15 year old, 20 years ago.

Moreover, they also offer a loft for rent that you can find on AirBnB. You will have full access to the vineyard while enjoying your stay at Gracianna.

Gracianna is a must see tasting room for a unique and low key wine tasting in Sonoma. Enjoy!

“For Those With Something To Be Grateful For”

Gracianna Loft

Gracianna

Dog Friendly Wineries in Sonoma

Dog Boarding in Sonoma County

Planned a trip and now you’re not sure what to do with your pups?

Finding the perfect dog boarding can be a stressful task. I know it’s difficult to leave your dogs alone. Especially if you’re leaving for more than just a couple of days. I’m so protective of my dogs and just can’t trust a random stranger to take care of them.

Have large dogs or behavioral problems?

I have two large dogs. One is a 3 year old German Shepherd that isn’t as social as many  other dogs, so for him I had to find a “private” room. My other dog is a year old Shepherd mix rescue and has severe separation anxiety. Definitely not an easy pair to take care of for a stranger.

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So here’s my top two dog boarding options in Sonoma County:

I came across two amazing ranches in the area and as soon as I reached out to them, I knew they would be perfect for the job.

Dairy Dell Ranch is a fun place for your dogs to live at while you’re away. They have a great selection of “room” options. For example, we chose the “Miss Kitty’s” Private Suites. This type of stay features at-will access to a private room or spacious outdoor run. A comfortable bed, heating and air-conditioning. How great is that?!

Another thing I loved about Dairy Dell is that they offer complimentary day to see how the dogs are acting at the ranch to make sure they get the best care possible.

Moreover, Dairy Dell also offers a variety of trainings, swimming in pool, farm walks, brain games and agility training. Located on a farm in Petaluma, it’s easily accessible.

https://www.dairydell.com/dog-boarding-training-services/sonoma-county-dog-boarding/

Another great dog boarding place in Sonoma is the Four Paws Pet Ranch in Santa Rosa. They offer a variety of pet boarding options including private room for less social pups.

Four Paws also supports great causes. For instance, a portion of all proceeds support Countryside Rescue, a non-profit rescue and adoption center based at the ranch.

Similar to Dairy Dell, you can opt for a private suite for your dog. Family dogs can stay together to avoid anxiety and stress.

Both places allow you to bring the food your dogs love or you can use the food provided by the ranch. My dogs are on strict raw diet (Stella and Chewy) and they are able to keep it refrigerated and fresh for them.

Four Paws Pet Ranch

Michelin Star Guide Sonoma Valley

It’s clear — Sonoma County, California is a food-lover’s paradise. The wine country is famous for its wine but the food scene here is one of the best in the world. Here’s your Michelin Star Guide to Sonoma.

singlethread-farm-restaurant-1

What does Michelin Star mean?

Michelin awards zero to three stars based on the inspections of anonymous reviewers. The reviewers concentrate on the quality, technique, personality, and consistency of the food.

Two stars mean ‘excellent cuisine, worth a detour’. While one star means ‘a very good restaurant in its category.’ Other restaurants recognized as ‘Bib Gourmand,’ representing remarkable restaurants that serve two courses and a glass of wine or dessert for $40 or less.

So where do we start?!

SingleThread Farms Restaurants and Inn is a 3 (!!!) Michelin stars restaurant in Healdsburg. This is the first restaurant in Sonoma Wine Country to earn 3 stars.

SingleThread Farm offers an eleven-course tasting menu. I recommend booking your table far in advance and try to get an earlier time slot. Waiting for an 11 course meal at 9PM is not for everyone.

Next on the Michelin Star Guide to Sonoma Valley is Farmhouse Inn. It’s an upscale farm-to-fork eatery featuring a daily changing American prix fixe menu & a large wine list located in beautiful Forestville in the Russian River Valley.

The restaurant’s signature dish is ‘Rabbit, Rabbit, Rabbit’, or rabbit 3 ways. Reservations are best made at least a couple of weeks in advance.

The ‘Farmhouse Breakfast Experience’ is  $35 per person and includes pastries, fresh squeezed orange juice, coffee, and tea. Selections can be ordered à la carte; room service is also available.

Michelin Guide

 

Madrona Manor is a Victorian mansion with modern kitchen and upscale vibe located in Healdsburg. You will love this magical estate! Arrive early to enjoy a sunset drink out on the terrace. The tasting menu is marvelous but the à la carte items deserve exploring too. Reservation can be made via OpenTable a couple weeks in an advance. Moreover, you can try the first come/first serve lounge and it’s own menu.

Michelin Guide

If you are looking for a more simple and casual vibe that still experience the best food, try the two Michelin Bib Gourmand restaurants in my favorite Petaluma:

Risibisi is top notch Italian spot in Downtown Petaluma serves healthy, fresh, Sonoma Italian cuisine featuring local ingredients. A table can be booked on Open Table for lunch and dinner service.

Stockhome is a new addition to Petaluma serving modern Swedish cuisine with a Mediterranean twist. Open for lunch and dinner, Stockhome takes reservations on Open Table.

Best Breakfast in Petaluma

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Looking for a great breakfast spot in Petaluma? It’s difficult to pick one because Petaluma is full of yummy breakfast eateries. To help you, I put together a list of the best breakfast spots in town (in my opinion). Enjoy!

WISHBONE is a quirky, unique and intimate breakfast/brunch spot just a few minutes away from downtown Petaluma. It has whimsical decor with tree brunches hanging from the ceiling, mystical drinks and food items on the menu and, most importantly, the friendliest staff.

The highlight of my visit was the Beekeeper Latte (lavender, honey and salt). All breakfast item are fresh, delicious and have a weird twist. Just like the Wishbone itself.

NORTH BAY CAFE is your friendly neighborhood diner. It’s a large open space with lots of tables. Everyone is friendly and the food is made with love. North Bay cafe is perfect to work at, grab a bite and some coffee. Located right in downtown it is a spot to check out.

They offer breakfast classics like tacos and burritos as well as salads and sandwiches. It’s family and kid friendly and easy to find in Petaluma.

DELLA FATTORIA has become my go to, even though I’m trying to explore more new places in the area. The breakfast/brunch menu is amazing and has a large variety of sandwiches, egg dishes and salads.

They make their own bread at the bakery next door so you can’t go wrong with any of the items here. Plus, they also serve delicious mimosas and wine and you wake up feeling “responsible”. Moreover, they do not take reservations over the phone. You need to come in and put your name on the list so be ready for a 20-40 minutes wait depending on time of day.

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All and all, you have many options for great breakfast restaurant in Petaluma and I hope you check out my favorites.

Cheers. xox

Valentine’s Day Dinner in Petaluma

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and it’s the perfect excuse to try a new restaurant. Many places around the area offer a special holiday menu or add ons to their regular menus. Sonoma County is flooded with good restaurants so I put together a list of amazing exciting options around Petaluma:

Petaluma Guide Valentine's Day
The Shuckery, Petaluma Guide

The Shuckery – an amazing seafood restaurant/oyster bar will be offering a  6 course tasting menu for $60 per person. Knowing how delicious their food is on a daily basis, the special menu will be out of this world. To make the evening even more special, book a room at the Petaluma Hotel. Reservations available on Open Table.

The Wild Goat Bistro – a more casual option for a romantic dinner will be offering a prix fixe menu ($60 per person) with options like a lobster bisque, smoked salmon terrine, wild kind salmon, house made fettuccine and hanger steak. You can find the menu and book on Open Table.

Seared –  voted best steak house in Petaluma, Seared will be offering their regular menu as well as specials. You can’t go wrong with a juice steak on Valentine’s Day.

Just a short drive away in Sonoma, El Dorado Kitchen will serve a three-course multiple choice menu, at $69 per person.  Menu includes seared scallops, octopus salad, candy ravioli and beef 3 ways.

Central Market in downtown Petaluma will be offering their regular menu with a couple of nice Valentines day specials. The restaurant will be charging $25 per couple, with that, you will receive 2 glasses of champagne or apple cider and a nice amuse bouche to share.

Petaluma Guide

I hope everyone has a great Valentine’s Day eating delicious dinner with a loved one and enjoy everything Petaluma and Sonoma Wine country has to offer.

Cheers! xox

Wine & Food Pairing Experiences in Napa Valley

Planning a trip to Napa, California? With a breathtaking coastline, enchanting redwood forests, picturesque rolling vineyards, and a world class wine country, Napa County reigns supreme as one of the best wine countries in the world to visit, any time of year.

We’ve summarized the best wine and food pairings in the Napa Valley for you below, so prepare to drool. A lot.

Silver Oak Cellars specializes in Cabernets and is one of the best wineries in Napa county. If you’re tired of regular wine tastings and looking for a more elevated option check out the wine and food pairing experience.

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It’s not just a cute charcuterie and wine, food pairing at Silver Oak are a full on meal and wine event where you are treated like the one that matters.

The experience starts with a little tour of the winery and it’s history. Silver Oak is a family winery with a fascinating story. Then you”ll be escorted to the private dining room where you’ll meet other guests. We learned a lot about the history of the winery, the owners, their processes and culture. The decor is very elegant and rustic. It is inviting and comfortable just like the winery staff.

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The menu is seasonal so I’ll do a summary of the pairing we had:

The chef presented us the first course  – Hamachi Crudo. Amazing start! Complemented by Twomey Sav. Blanc.

 

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Cauliflower Risotto – not usually my thing, but it was delicious. Paired with Twomey Pinot.

 

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Followed by A5 Wagyu steak which was my first time trying this grade of steak. Juicy, melts in your mouth… This steak alone worth doing this tasting. The steak was paired with two of their Cabs – 2013 Alexander Valley and 2013 Napa Valley.

 

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For dessert, we had an interesting take on a classic cream brûlée made with gouda cheese. Again, couldn’t get enough.

 

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On the other hand if you’re more  into bubble vs reds, Domain Carneros is a must in Napa and offers a great food pairing events.

THE ART OF SPARKLING WINE PAIRING: BUBBLES & BITES  is an hour champagne and food pairing led by one of the Domain Carneros’ sommeliers. This pairing is influenced by Asian flavors which is a rare combination and something I did not expect to see. However, once presented, it made perfect sense and went amazingly with the champagne.

 

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This menu is also seasonal and will differ based on availability and chef’s decisions.

Bay Scallops with Yuzu Sauce is a flavorful bite and a great start to the tasting. It brings out the champagne. Yum! Paired with Ultra Brut… so crisp and refreshing!

Spring Roll with Daikon, Mango and Mint paired with Estate Brut Cuvée is a fun take on a basic spring roll. Very unique!

 

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Ahi Tuna Poke with Brut Rose is an excellent way to elevate the tuna and make it fun.

Soba Noodle and Chicken Salad paired with Demi-Sec is the most unusual combination in my opinion but such a classy way to paired the two.

 

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And finally, the Green Tea Pudding paired with the same 2014 Vermeil Demi-Sec. The pudding is definitely the highlight of the tasting and a great closing note.

 

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Both wineries offer an amazing experience and will take a great care of their guests. Check out the options they offer if you’re looking for a new date idea, special celebration or just a fun day out in the wine country. xoxo