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.

 

Advertisements

Must Do in Santorini

Rent an ATV for a few days to explore the island

ATV in Santorini
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

Getting a cab in Santorini is not easy unless your hotel can call it in for you. And cars aren’t even allowed in main area of Oia. I highly recommend renting an ATV for a day and exploring all Santorini has to offer! The rate is about $30-$40 euros per day, and it’s a lot of fun once you’re used to it. They offer a few diferent option to choose from (size, powers and storage). It’s also easy driving – there’s only so many roads on the island! You can rent them from any of the main areas, or your hotel.

 

Book a catamaran cruise

Catamaran Cruise Santorini
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

We loved doing a sunset catamaran tour with Spiridakos Sailing Cruises. It’s a half-day trip, and they’ll stop at multiple swimming spots (the hot spring are no longer hot so I’d just stay on the boat). After exploring multiple beaches and vistas, you’ll have a big dinner on the boat. After that, they will sail the catamaran to a perfect location to see the sunset. The sunset in Santorini is truly magical! Bring something warm to wear as it will get colder later in the afternoon and you might get splashed a few times. Make sure to take meds if you are prone to motion sickness, the sea can be very rough.

 

Book a wine tasting tour with a guide

Santorini Wine
North Bay Blonde. Santorini Guide

Home

One of the highlights of our stay in Santorini was the small group wine tour to the main wineries on the island. The guide will make your experience very enjoyable and you will learn a lot about the history of Santorini and its wine making. Besides the wine, you will also be able to do food and wine pairing at some of the wineries and see what local cuisine is like.

Some of the Wineries to check out:
Terra Nera
https://www.artemiskaramolegos-winery.com/en/winery-santorini-wines-01.php
https://www.santowines.gr/en/

Book a photoshoot

Photoshoot in Santorini
Santorini Guide

If you’re traveling to Greece on your honeymoon or just want to have a few photos of yourselves with amazing scenery, check out the photographers you can book on AirBnB! It’s affordable and they know the islands much better than you do and can get you in the best spots for photos. I tried them out and we had so much fun on our 1-hour couples shoot. It was a great way to get photos you wouldn’t otherwise be able to get in a beautiful place like Santorini.

 

Wine Lover Gift Guide

For The Wino In Your Life

 

Camille Long Stem Wine Glasses

Why I love this? Badass, Classy and Elegant Red Wine Glasses, Olive Pope Style. The shape of the glass really opens up the wine for allowing great aromas and notes to come through. 

Screen Shot 2020-02-29 at 12.09.06 PM

Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil

Why I love this? The Wine Bible is the most informative book on wine there is. If you’re in the wine industry and want to learn more about wine, this is the book!

81KfUAjjvxL

 

Wine Folly: Magnum Edition: The Master Guide

Why I love this? Wine Folly is a well written book on wine with beautiful graphics and images. 

918qiPdLFNL

Check out there website for more gift ideas:

winefolly.com

Corkcicle Cigar Glass

Why I love this? Their whiskey glasses are a statement piece and elevates the bar/wine area of your house.

71C85Pf3l2L._SL1500_

Geo Bottle Stopper Set

Why I love this? These festive and fun bottle stoppers are a great gift or a party favor for any person. 

geo-bottle-stopper-set-o

 

Constellation Coasters

Why I love this? Cute and simple coaters are a great addition to any household. They don’t take up a lot of space and you can never have too many coasters. 

constellation-coasters-set-of-4-o

 

Tiered Bar Console

Why I love this? A bar cart is a great way to add an accent piece to a house without taking up too much room. 

tiered-bar-console-o

 

Bathroon Cabby Tray

Why I love this? Because who doesn’t like a glass of shower wine and a good book/Netflix with a candle. 

81vS8W4MWWL._SL1500_

 

Picnic Basket for 4 People

Why I love this? A good picnic basket is perfect for dates in a park or a winery. This one is even insulated to keep your wine and charcuterie cool (Cline Cellars, Sonoma).  

71CUaGDLoRL._SL1001_

 

Dual Zone Wine Fridge

Why I love this? A dual wine fridge is a great way to store the wines you want to age or just keep away from everyday drinking. Definitely a great investement/gift for a wine collector. 

81tBljDtZXL._SL1500_

 

 

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.

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.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

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

Best Breakfast in Petaluma

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

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.

Processed with VSCO with c3 preset

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

Cheers. xox

Silver Oak Cellars Food & Wine Pairing

A quick summary of the amazing tasting experience my fiancé and I did for his birthday back in July.

Silver Oak is one of the best wineries in Napa county that specializes in Cabernets. We wanted to do something more interesting than just a wine tasting so we opted for the wine and food pairing experience.

Not going to lie, I expected a simple cheese and meat selection, maybe a main course… BUT the experience we received was so much more.

We got there about 15 minutes early and were greeted by our amazing host. She asked us to browse for a bit since we were waiting on 2-3 more couples to arrive. At 11 o’clock, she asked us to meet her at the tasting station to start with our first pour. She didn’t make anyone wait for the people that were late and we went right into the tour. We learned a lot about the history of the winery, the owners, their processes and culture.

After a little tour, we went upstairs for the actually food pairing. We were seated in a large rustic room decorated with black and white photos of the people who work there. The winery definitely seems like a family run operation and feels comfortable and inviting.

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

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

Followed by A5 Wagyu steak which was my first time trying this grade of steak. Juicy, melts in your mouth… I will never forget. The steak was paired with two of their Cabs – 2013 Alexander Valley and 2013 Napa Valley.

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

The tasting menu is seasonal and I am very excited to go back for a different experience. Perhaps this winter?

IMG_1151
Crudo
IMG_1152
Risotto
IMG_1153
Steak
IMG_1154
Gouda cream brûlée
IMG_1155
Wine selection

 

 

 

IMG_1197
Wine Cellars
Processed with VSCO with c1 preset
Tasting Room

 

#LifeisaCabernet