If you’ve been following me for a while you probably know by now how much I love my wine… Maybe a little too much sometimes, ha. When the opportunity to go back to wine country presented itself you better believe my answer was, “absolutely.”. I’ve been to wine country a total of 4 times now, but I had never experienced Sonoma County.
Now that American Airlines has a direct flight into Sonoma County from Dallas I may be going a LOT more! It saved so much time flying directly into the Santa Rosa airport which allowed a half-day to go wine tasting. If you’re going for a shorter weekend trip this flight is the best. I got in around 12:30pm and went straight to my first two wine tastings in Sonoma County.
Let me just preface this upfront… I don’t discriminate against anywhere in wine country. However, now that I’ve experienced Sonoma v. Napa… I think I’m in love with Sonoma way more! It’s much more chill and laid back compared to some of the places I’ve been in the Napa area. Also, I really really really loved how close Sonoma Square was to everywhere I went and it’s just such a cute area to walk around in even if you aren’t going to vineyards. There are tons of tasting rooms and restaurants to keep you busy all day.
Sonoma County Travel Guide
As I mentioned above, I had a good half day once I arrived in Sonoma County to squeeze in two wine tastings. The first place I stopped was VJB Cellars to taste some wines and grab lunch in their cute courtyard. I’m a huge fan of Italian wines (yes, I know I’m in California) so I was so happy to learn that VJB Cellars was actually started by an Italian family. Cue the pizza and wine lover in me so can you guess what I ate for lunch?
They have a gorgeous tasting room which has a little shop attached to it where you can buy meats and cheeses to eat out in the courtyard. Also, the wife sells her homemade pasta and sauce in the store which I had to buy. Unfortunately, the dumb TSA confiscated it out of my bag!!
I also visited Buena Vista winery which is actually the oldest winery in California. I wasn’t sure if I’d be into it, but I was surprisingly impressed and learning about the history was almost more fun than drinking the wine (I said almost). They reopened one of the buildings just over 10 years ago because of safety reasons, but now it’s separated into all these different rooms which are so cool. My favorite room was the room with the aroma wall. It helps you identify certain scents in wine like raspberries or lemon. You sniff each scent and then smell your wine and it should help you figure out what flavors are in your wine.
P.S. I had to get their most popular wine with the sheriff badge because I want the bottle for my house!
P.P.S. You have to check out their “bubbles” room!
(Owners of VJB Cellars / They still work there every day! They had two sons, but one tragically passed away so each glass has his signature on it so you raise a toast to him each day. Is that not the sweetest?)
I stayed the night at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn which was such the perfect spot to enjoy my night to myself. We actually stayed there through the weekend because it was a great location, and the property has all the chill wine country vibes. The next day two of my friends arrived and met me at The Barlow in Sebastapol. We were heading a little further north to Guerneville to enjoy a night in the little quiet town. The Barlow is a fun spot to stop by for lunch because it’s got tons of restaurant options all within this little square. You can do this tour called the Food Crush Tour which takes you to a few different spots where you can enjoy a little sample of each place at The Barlow.
After getting a bite at The Barlow, we headed to one of my favorite wineries on this trip called Littorai. I’ve started trying to drink more organic wines because they tend to give me less of a headache or no headache at all the next day. Littorai is the best of the best when it comes to an organic winery. They are actually a “biodynamic” winery. Say what? Yeah, that was my response too. Basically, they don’t use any pesticides or chemicals on the vineyards. They grow other plants all around the vineyards and they make their own compost fertilizer. Let’s just say I bought a FEW bottles…
Driving through wine country up to Guerneville was absolutely beautiful. When we drove into Guerneville it reminded me a lot of staying in Whitefish last fall in Montana. It’s this tiny little town in the middle of the redwoods which is so peaceful. There really isn’t much service either which kind of makes you take a digital detox.
New Favorite Hotel
We stayed at my new favorite hotel called Boon hotel + spa. There are only about 10 cabins on location which are so charming. They have bikes you can ride down to town and eat at their restaurant boon eat + drink. I’m a chocolate girl, but OMG they had this bread pudding dessert that was so incredible I almost licked the plate.
The next day we didn’t have to meet the other girls until about 12 pm. We decided to sleep in and then made our way back down to town so we could walk around a bit. We were told it was an absolute must to get a biscuit at Big Bottom Market and now I know why. I actually bought the cookbook because they were so delicious.
The rest of the weekend in Sonoma County was just the girls weekend I needed! We drank lots of wine. Laughed a ton. And made memories I’ll never forget exploring Sonoma. I cannot wait for all my wine to get delivered right in time for my birthday and the holidays!!
*Thanks Sonoma County for sponsoring this post. All opinions are my own.