As locals in Northern California, we are blessed to have a beautiful wine country near by, just north east of San Francisco. Even for the non-locals, you may have seen or heard of wine from Napa city, whether in stores or through guidebooks and friends. However, there are actually quite a few different cities in the wine country aside from Napa that fewer people think of when planning a wine tasting trip.
Sonoma is west of Napa, about an hour’s drive away from San Francisco. At the end of last year, NP and I came back to the states from Vietnam just in time for Christmas. We wanted to do something together instead of getting each other gifts, so we made plans to take a wine tasting trip some time in the new year. Our friends recommended Sonoma for its beautiful, quaint scenery and also because it tends be less touristy than Napa.
We did some research and narrowed our itinerary down to a number of wineries. We chose to go with a car service so we would not need to worry about driving with the consumption of alcohol, but you may choose to take turns and drive too!
Our wine tasting tour went as follows:
(The last two are actually in Kenwood, CA, but it is only 15 minutes away from Sonoma.)
All of these wineries have their own personalities. Personally my favorites were Gundlach Bundschu and Deerfield Ranch — Gundlach Bundschu is perfect for a picnic outside of the winery because of its beautiful pond and scenic trail where as Deerfield Ranch has a unique structure with the winery built inside a cave…
Photo opportunities aside, I particularly enjoyed the wine from Bartholomew. NP and I are thinking of returning some time in the near future!
The only down side is that our tasting buds were pretty much dead by the end of the tour. If you were to ask me about the wine from Chateau St. Jean and Deerfield Ranch, I could not describe much of it. I recommend spreading the wineries out over two days instead of one, so you may better enjoy and appreciate each place’s unique wine.