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A Great Drive in Northern Sonoma County

Dabble in three AVAs in one day on a scenic drive that begins in downtown Healdsburg. Break your fast at Flying Goat Coffee or Downtown Bakery & Creamery, then grab everything you need for a picnic at nearby Oakville Grocery. Thus prepared, hop in the car and head south on Healdsburg Avenue and west on Mill Street.

Shortly after Mill Street becomes Westside Road, the tree-lined landscape and weathered farm buildings will already have you feeling transported to a more pastoral age. Continue south to Rochioli Vineyards and Winery —if it's Tuesday or Wednesday, when the winery is closed, continue on a few miles to Gary Farrell Winery. After your winery visit, backtrack north on Westside Road for about 5 miles from Rochioli.

Turn northwest at the intersection of Westside and West Dry Creek roads—Madrona Manor, known for its well-tended estate garden, borders them both—and continue on West Dry Creek for about 9 miles to Preston of Dry Creek. Sample some wines and perhaps purchase one—the peppy Sauvignon Blanc is a natural on a hot summer day—to enjoy while picnicking on the property.

Let your mood determine your stop in the Alexander Valley. To get here from Preston, head southeast on West Dry Creek Road and east on Yoakim Bridge Road. If it's summer and the Dry Creek Peach Produce stand is open, stop to savor the season's bounty; otherwise continue directly to Dry Creek Road and turn south, heading east after about ¼ mile onto Canyon Road. After 2 miles, just after you pass under U.S. 101, turn south onto Highway 128 east, also signed as Geyserville Avenue. Taste flights of wines from small producers at the Locals Tasting Room, or for stunning architecture and hearty Cabs and Zins, continue east on Highway 128 to Stryker Sonoma. If Hollywood glitz is more your speed, head south on Geyserville Avenue to U.S. 101, hop on the freeway for 1 mile, and take the Independence Lane exit. Follow signs west from the exit to Francis Ford Coppola Winery.

After your Alexander Valley stop, either enjoy dinner at Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria in Geyserville or head back to Healdsburg on U.S. 101.

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