Wine tasting combines some of the best things in life…beautiful scenery, good conversation, sunny weather (most of the time), meeting new people, listening to winemakers talking about their art, and of course….the wine.
Voted the Most Romantic Place to Kiss in Sonoma County, this enchanted Victorian manor sits on a hill surrounded by gardens. Not only does it have the best views of any hotel or B&B in Healdsburg, it has impressive and massive Victorian architecture, extensive antique collection and gourmet dining. (A first-class wine list, inventive fusion cuisine, and service that shows exceptional attention to detail make it a rare dining experience.)
If you are just buzzing through on an afternoon, stop and take a peek–it will be well worth your while to stroll through their gardens. One of my favorite things to do there is to order a glass of wine or a cocktail from the lobby bar (Open Wednesday through Sundays from 4 pm) and take it outside to the broad shaded porch. It’s as though you’ve stepped into a different, simpler, time. Sit on one of the rattan settees and soak in the views of the vineyards and the hills beyond. It is as though time stands still. Sigh.
Ok, back to the wine tasting as promised! The best thing about most of the wineries in Sonoma County is that most are small, owner run, and because of that each is unique and has its own fascinating story–there is a wide range of characters who have put down stakes in the wine business here. Everything from a former road manager for a world famous rock bank, to European stock and they all stamp their wineries in their own unique way.
Here’s the itinerary to get you started…
Suggested Activities, Tours, and Tastings
Two very popular ways to see the area are by bike and on foot. There are two cycleries in town to rent bikes.
Spoke Folk Cyclery is located about a mile from the hotel and will provide all the gear and maps you need.
Wine County Bikes offers on-your-own rentals as well as guided group tours that include lunch as well.
There is also a company in downtown Healdsburg that offers walking tours rain or shine! These tours can focus on local history, cuisine or wine.
For the local wineries, I recommend a few different places depending on what you’re looking for. The Wine Roads website focuses on the three valleys in our immediate area. Just click on “Wineries” and it will give you an alphabetical list of all the vineyards in the area and links to their individual websites. I’ve also included some of my favorite wineries for different amenities. Many vineyards have started to do small food and wine pairings; it’s a great way to learn more about how the food and wine interact on the palate!
For food & wine pairings I recommend:
Seghesio– Family owned and operated, small and warm.
Kendall-Jackson-Largest of the three, wonderful wines and great options for pairings.
J Vineyards-More modern and hip, lots of sparkling wines.
Simi-Lots of history, just outside of downtown Healdsburg. Tours daily at 11:00am & 2:00pm.
Stryker Sonoma-Won an architectural design award, tours by appointment only.
Michele-Schlumberger-Beautiful Spanish style estate, just up the road from the Manor, artisan vineyard. Tours daily at 11:00am & 2:00pm.
Jordan-Beautiful French County feel, tours by appointment only. They do mostly Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon
Papapietroperry does only Pinot, they win award after award! Great stuff!!
Moshin is one of my favorites. Small family run, they do a great Pinot and some really amazing Sauvignon Blanc.
Holdredge has a great Pinot as well as some wonderful Syrah’s
Michele-Schlumberger has a great variety of wines and a beautiful property.
La Crema on the old Sara Lee estate is a delight.
For general information and a calendar of the local events visit the Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce at www.healdsburg.org.