When my BFF from college and I turned 40, we planned a weekend to meet up in Sonoma Valley in California with a couple other friends for a long weekend of Sonoma wine tasting. We had an amazing few days tasting wine, eating, tasting wine, tasting chocolate and tasting more wine! We researched tons of Sonoma wineries (there are so many) and we learned – more than anything – to go with the flow and to get recommendations from the locals.
We stayed at a VRBO cottage in Glen Ellen which was walking distance to a market and great restaurants. We tried to stick to smaller family-owned or quirky wineries — although I don’t think you can go wrong with ANY of the wineries in the area. Our tour guide and servers were all extremely friendly and helpful. Expect to pay around $10.00 for each tasting and anywhere from $25.00 – $50.00 for a tour.
- Valley of the Moon – We started here on Saturday morning and toured the grounds with our guide, Nancy, whom we adored (we tried to convince Nancy to ditch work and join us the rest of the day – she was celebrating her 72nd birthday the following day – to no avail, but she gave us recommendations and coupons for eating and tastings which were priceless). I joined their wine club and love receiving a few amazing bottles every quarter that remind me of this trip! (Tip: Most wineries have a wine club and, if you can swing it, I recommend joining one to prolong the vacation at home…and also instead of carrying bottles home).
- Kunde – A small family winery which also has a mountaintop tour that sounds incredible – next time!
- Imagery – This was our last stop of the day and it was crowded and our wine-taste buds were kinda numb, but this winery has a beautiful outdoor sitting area and an art gallery where artists paint their labels and show/sell their work.
- Palooza – A great lunch in the midst of visiting wineries. We all had a local beer with lunch, ha!
- Boon Fly Cafe – We stopped to grab lunch here while driving in and after taking a wrong turn. Best wrong turn we ever took!
- The Fig Cafe and Wine Bar – Fabulous restaurant – great ambiance, staff and the food was amazing. Plus, you can bring your own wine without a corkage fee, which is rare in the area.
- We also stopped at Sonoma plaza for an afternoon of tastings at various wine shops, shopping and chocolate. Wine Country chocolates lured us in with their chocolate tasting and they did not disappoint – their truffles were the perfect gift to bring home to my girls.
Have you visited Napa or Sonoma for wine tasting? Please share your favorite wineries and restaurants!