Choose between Napa and Sonoma?

Old Sep 19th, 2003, 10:20 AM
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Choose between Napa and Sonoma?

We only have 2/1/2 days in the wine country and want to make the most of it. We don't necessarily want to taste lots of wine but would like to see the prettiest, most unusal wineries in the area. We also would like to see some of the area around Bodega Bay. We are staying in Healdsburg. We would like sightseeing recommendations as well as restaurant ones. Itenerary help would be greatly appreaciated. I'm just overwhelmed at this point. Thanks a lot.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 10:45 AM
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I really liked the Viansa winery on the boarder between Napa and Sonoma, not only for the wine but it is a beautiful setting with a restaurant and gourmet shop. Also, the Sterling winery in Napa sets up a hill and you take a chairlift thing to the top --great views.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 11:53 AM
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It's just a matter of taste. I have preferred the Sonoma Valley since the mid 70's, but some folks like Napa Valley for their own reasons. Things I like about Sonoma over Napa:

Much less crowded, which means less traffic.
Wineries aren't as glitzy, although some of the newer Sonoma ones qualify.
Wines are mostly less expensive than Napa.
I've always found the tasting room folks much more laid back in Sonoma Valley.

After Bodega Bay, try going north to Stewart's Point and take Stewart's Creek Road back toward Healdsburg. Very remote and very beautiful.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 11:56 AM
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I should also have said that I tend to group Sonoma Valley, Anderson Valley and Dry Creek Valley all into the Sonoma Valley area. Some people probably don't.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 12:07 PM
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If you're doing Sonoma from Healdsburg and also Bodega, Napa V may be a bit too much to add?

Some fine restaurants in Sonoma aorund the town square.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 02:33 PM
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Dry Creek Kitchen in Healdsburg, very good. Stop by the Healdsburg Downtown Bakery for some great breads and pastry. Both are on the square.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 08:37 PM
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og719: Good suggestion on the Bodega Bay to Stewarts Point and back to Healdsburg drive - it is a beautiful trip with several wonderous sites (such as the golden dome of the Odeon Buddhist Temple suddenly rising out of the wilderness).

But the name of the road is Skaggs Springs.
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Old Sep 19th, 2003, 11:50 PM
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With this amount of time and your desire to visit Healdsburg and Bodega Bay. I would recommend that you limit yourself to Sonoma County wineries and save Napa for another visit. Healdsburg is in the heart of the Northen wine country and you can check on the net for "Dry Creek" or "Alexander Valley" wineries for good tips. Below is a link to one of the wineries in that area.

I think there will be enough to keep you occupied without actually driving to the town of Sonoma (which is close to Napa). You can explore the Russian River area, Jenner, the coast near Bodega, and Sebastopol or Petaluma.

Check "Bay Area Backroads" website. They usually have good tips.
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Old Sep 20th, 2003, 02:20 AM
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Nancdb: I have lived in SF for 14 years, and spend all my free time in the wine country of Napa and Sonoma. Although Napa makes some killer wines, Sonoma is the place to go if you want scenery and atmosphere. You didn't say when you are going, but if you are going soon, you will be witnessing part of the "crush"....the picking of the grapes and the crushing of the grapes to begin the winemaking process. An exciting time to go! Sonoma will make you feel like you're somewhere in Tuscany or Provence. Since you are staying in Healdsburg (a GREAT PLACE TO STAY, by the way) and are looking for scenery, definitely do Sonoma. That said, I will give you my favourite day itinery for all of my out of town guests. I wouldn't advise more than 3-4 winerys in one day. Stop at the Oakville Grocery at the square in Healdsburg and grab some bread, cheese, whatever you desire for lunch. (the amazing foods will overwhelm your taste buds!) Then, head to Ferrari-Carrano as your first winery stop. Not only are the wines wonderful, but the winery is gorgeous! (don't forget your camera!) Next, head to Dry Creek Winery and Pezzi King. (they are next to each other) Both have outstanding wines, and they each have picnic areas. Purchase a wine you enjoy, and have a picnic lunch with the food you bought earlier. Take some time to drive along West Dry Creek road. It's a narrow road, but winds along the bottom of the mountain, and along the vineyards. Great camera opportunities. Sonoma is much less touristy than Napa, and you will find the people very friendly! Restaurants in the area are wonderful too, but I just find something special about having a picnic in the wine country, overlooking the vineyards that creates memories that my friends never forget. Hope this helps! Enjoy!!!!
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