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Narrowing down Sonoma wineries to visit & how much do these wines cost?

Narrowing down Sonoma wineries to visit & how much do these wines cost?

Jul 12th, 2007, 10:44 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2003
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Narrowing down Sonoma wineries to visit & how much do these wines cost?


I've been reading old posts for recommended wineries. This is for a women's trip (we'll be staying off Dry Creek Road about 10 minutes from Healdsburg) where none of us are true wine affecinados but still enjoy a decent glass of wine. I've come up with this huge list of wineries that people have recommended.

I am wondering about these wineries because we are looking to take a day tour that combines places with ambience with a few more intimate wineries that are reasonably priced. Plus, we really prefer to stay away from the huge tour bus type places.

Sonoma Wilson
Davis Family Vineyards
Bella, Preston
Murphy-Goode (Petit Verdot)
Stryker Sonoma
A. Rafanelli
Gundlach Bundschu
Russian Hill
Ridge Lytton Springs
David Caffaro
Dutcher Crossing
Yoakim Bridge Winery

What is a typical price range for a bottle of wine for these wineries? I think we'd prefer to limit our visits to the more modestly priced places, so perhaps I can narrow down the list that way.

As far as the ambience list recommended by people here, I've come up with
Geyser Peak
Stryker Sonoma
Chateau St. Jean
Buena Vista

I appreciate any help you can give me.
Thanks much.
julies is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 11:15 AM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 1,227
First of all, you won't find many tour bus' at any of the wineries you listed. Not all of them are off Dry Creek however. However, Bella and Preston are on West Dry Creek. Preston is one of my favorites. You might consider visiting Ferrari Carrano..the gardens are lovely. If you purchase wine, buy wines that are not available where you live. These are usually limited release wine's sold only at the winery. Not because they are more expensive, but usually because they don't make enough of it to send out to all their distributers. You can buy bottles in several places, and then ship them from Healdsburg all in one case.(or more).. Fitch Mountain Packaging is usually who ships. You may want to visit the wine shops around the town plaza in Healdsburg. That will save you several trips to wineries and combine a few on your list. If its a hot day, don't leave wine in the trunk of your car. Keep it inside the car.
Welcome to Healdsburg.
kleroux is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 11:32 AM
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Thanks Kleroux--

Back to my price question. What are we talking for a bottle (I know places have a range of wines all the way up to the extra reserve extra pricey bottles)?

$15, $25, $40, $60 and up? I think most of our group probably wouldn't bee too interested in things above say $25-$30 a bottle.
julies is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 01:57 PM
Join Date: May 2005
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I can't help you with prices, but you should know that the following wineries are not in the area you will be visiting. They are in the Sonoma Valley.

Chateau St. Jean
Buena Vista
Gunlach Bundscu
jtrandolph is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 02:09 PM
Join Date: Oct 2003
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Preston (for the bread) + the winemaker is a real character. Ledson for great reds & an awesome chateau. Great place for a picnic lunch also. Hess for the art. St. Francis because it is next door to Ledson & they have a great little tasting menu w/food pairings. You'll need to check a map though as mentioned. Hess is kind of off by itself. Also ones to think about (& not all that expensive) are Quivira & Alderbrook.
SAnParis is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 02:56 PM
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Thanks so much. I knew you people could help me out.

Another question now. Looking at a map, Benziger, Chateau St. Jean, Buena Vista, Gunlach Bundscu and Ledson are between San Francisco and the house we'll be renting. We'll have a day to drive up. How about stopping at a couple of these on the way up th the Healdsburg area? Or, is there a better, more interesting route we should take?
julies is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 03:04 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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You might want to bet a cheap styrofoam cooler to keep the wine in so it won't get too hot. Anyway, I've liked many of those wineries. I pay usually anywhere from 20.00 to 45.00 per bottle. Wilson is one of the more expensive wines but they are really outstanding. Sometimes you can get wine on sale. I got some wonderful wine at Bella for 15.00 per bottle on sale earlier this year. They will have wine that they have held for a number of years and it's peaking and they want to sell it off. They don't want it to start to turn, they stake their reputations on their wines, of course, so they don't want to be selling bad wine.

I taste and I buy what I like. You don't have to know anything about wine really, I mean like tannins, acids, apricot overtones and the like. I know what tastes good to me....I'm really picky...and when I find it I buy it. I have a wine frige so I can keep it for quite awhile. I don't drink it all the time so I can afford to pay more. When I drink it, I want it to be really good.

If you go to Rosenblum you can also visit Lake Sonoma ..it's right close by..excellent wine also. Rosemblum has a chocolate port that is just wonderful.

I find when I taste...at least it works for me...I have them pour about half of what they usually pour. It allows for about two good tastes from the glass. If there is any left over after that, I pour it out. I let the wine sit in the glass a few minutes before tasting. I always rinse my glass out before tasting the next. I like reds, but will now and then taste a white. I buy a white occasionally. After awhile you get so you really can't taste anything anymore, so that's why I go easy. I don't taste everything they are offering
because it really wears your pallet out pretty quickly. That's why I will normally stick to the reds. If I go through everthing they are offering to taste, I'm done after about three wineries.
crefloors is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 04:30 PM
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 266
Valley of the Moon Hwy 12 is indeed a more scenic and relaxing drive to get to the Healdsburg area. In addition to the wineries you listed, we've also enjoyed Arrowood & Landmark.

Have a great trip!
JayZee is offline  
Jul 12th, 2007, 04:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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Hi Julies,

I know I've recommended Benziger on a few posts. As you said, excellent winery for ambience. It's not snobbish at all. Plus, it's a really cool one to throw in the mix because it's biodynamic. I'm not terribly crunchy but I thought that was really interesting. The tractor tour is a hoot. I like their whites better than their red.

I wrote a mini-ode to them on my blog, with a pic...

We also stopped at Buena Vista -- excellent wine but...they know it, if you get my drift.

Wish I'd been to the others, but we were chased out of Sonoma by mudslides before we could get to any others!
karameli is offline  
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