Girl’s Getaway to Sonoma Wine Country
Wine and dine, a perfect combination for any girlfriend getaway and you can definitely get the best of both plus much more on a visit to Sonoma, one of California’s best wine regions. Often considered the little sister to Napa Valley, Sonoma’s laid back Cali cool style, epicurean delights and top rated but approachable family wineries places this region at the top of our list of ‘must visit’ wine countries to tour with your gal pals.
When to Wine
Each season in Sonoma has it’s own magic, spring and summer shows the wineries hard at work, vines full of promise, bursting with colors of vibrant green and deep, dusky purple. During the fall harvest the region buzzes with workers and visitors joined together with a single purpose, falling in love with that perfect glass of wine. Winter has it’s own quiet pleasures, the winery crowds have disappeared allowing for relaxed chats by the fireplace in tasting rooms throughout the region, making this our favorite time to visit to Sonoma.
Where to Wine
A great little find tucked above the main street in Glen Ellen, Benziger Winery focuses on biodynamic farming practices and has a tram tour of their lovely grounds, production areas and caves. The winery takes great pride in how they take care of land and grape; they show that responsible land practices and the production of great wine are not mutually exclusive.
The first one out the door to greet us was Miss Boss, Vallerie Cohn’s Boston terrier and her little puppy. After an exhausting day of touring wineries we were quite happy to watch the two dogs playing in the winery gardens. Too cute!
Besides great wine, (make sure to taste their 2009 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc) BR Cohn is known for their delicious line of olive oils and vinegars. We fell in love with the Meyers Lemon Olive Oil and Fig Balsamic Vinegars. I bought both, crated them up with my wine purchases and brought them home. Within two weeks both the oil and vinegar bottles were empty and now my husband is making hints about buying the stuff online and having it shipped. It is seriously good stuff.
Forget about assigning a designated driver, try touring the wineries with your own driver and guide or better yet get in a bit of exercise with a bike tour through wine country.
Platypus Tours is ranked by Trip Advisor as the top tour company in Sonoma. Taking into account group preferences, Platypus’s experienced guides deliver customized tours of small wineries through out the region. Snack and lunch provided.
Ride Wine and Dine
Sonoma Valley Bike Tours offers a casual and relaxed bike tour of Sonoma wineries. Don’t worry if it’s been awhile since you’ve been on a bike, the tour promises a slow pace with frequent stops, cycling an average of 4 to 6 miles between each winery visit.
Where to Dine
Best Spots to Eat Breakfast in Sonoma
Sunflower Caffé – I would have been happy eat every breakfast here but that would have meant missing out on another heavenly breakfast spot in Sonoma, the Basque Café.
Best Bets: Buttermilk Waffles with Vermont maple syrup
Anything made with eggs…the Midwestern, Goat Cheese and Spinach omelet, or the Veggie. Lets face it, it’s all good!
Basque Boulangerie Café – If you have a passion for French pastries, this is the place for you. If you’re a coffee aficionado, pick some up before you visit Basque.
Best Bets: Excellent breads, especially the cinnamon raisin loaf, also a must try are the cinnamon rolls, can you tell that my kryptonite involves anything made with cinnamon?!
Best Spot to Have Lunch in Sonoma
How can we not like a place with a name like The Girl and the Fig? But this place is more than just a cute name; it offers up inspired French with sprinkling of Cali cuisine that doesn’t break the bank. Try to score a table in the back patio, then sit back and enjoy la belle vie.
Best bets: The Works Cheese Tray, Chocolate Covered Fig Kisses and… my oh my I wanted to lick the plate clean after I finished the Lavender Crème Brulee.
El Dorado Kitchen (EDK)
This place is downright sexy. Cocktails, sophisticated digs, fine wine and great food, EDK has Sonoma style.
The main focal point of the restaurant is the 21-foot long table fashioned from a single wood plank reclaimed from a Vermont bridge, perfect for communal dining. This is where you want to be if the girls just want to have fun, and are up for combining a little meet and mingle with dinner. For a slightly more private girls hangout, try to book a cabana out on wisteria-laden patio, très chic!
Best bets: red wine braised beef pavé with horseradish crème fraiche, liberty duck breast à la plancha and ALL the desserts.
Where to Stay
Affordable Sonoma Hotels
This surprisingly affordable chic boutique hotel has a lot going for it. Boasting a stellar location in Sonoma’s historic town square, it’s also home to the award winning El Dorado Kitchen, one of northern California wine country’s top restaurants. With its cool cosmo lobby, fireplace lounge and outdoor patio, this place is a mecca for the young and urban crowd. If you’re looking for a fun, hip girlfriend getaway in Sonoma wine country, EDH is the perfect choice.
Luxury Sonoma Hotels
Be sure to check out Fairmont’s Michelin-rated Sante restaurant, the food is superb – especially the mac & cheese with lobster and truffles! We also think the Willow Stream Spa is fantastic, boasting a generous 40,000 square feet, the Roman-inspired spa is the largest destination spa in the valley and offers endless opportunities for getting rid of those winter blahs.
The makings of a perfect day in Sonoma would include: Lunch at the Girl and Fig, massage at the Fairmont, and then lounge at the spa pool for the rest of the afternoon. So very perfect! What’s even better is the Suite Spa deal offered by Fairmont until March 2012.Suite Spa Package Includes:
- Decadent Suite Accommodations
- One 60-minute spa treatment per room per night (up to $159)
- Welcome bottle of wine, in room, upon arrival
- Daily complimentary wine tasting presented by a local winery in the lobby living room
- Complimentary yoga & fitness classes in the Spa Fitness Center, as well as complimentary daily guided hikes.
Availability: The Suite Spa Package is available (midweek) from $329 through March 31, 2012. Travel must be completed by March 31, 2012. Subject to hotel availability, taxes not included. Not combinable with any other offer.
For reservations please call 1-800- 441-1414 or (707) 938-9000. Book package online on the:
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Website.