priorties wine country

Jun 8th, 2008, 07:04 PM
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priorties wine country

Spouse and I are leaving Monterey August 6. We need to stop in Sausalito for family errand. We want to visit wine country. We have some questionsa) reservations for Sonoma,Healdsburg,Calistoga,etc? Should we make one for two nights? Is a B&B best value?(b)wine tour-friends have said a tour would be good(3)train tourw/meal-Will this compare favorably with physical day tour? we will head back to Texas through Nevada,Colorado.
fosterag is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 07:53 PM
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You should spend two night if you can. I was there two nights and I didn't want to leave. Take the tour at Robert Mondavi it was awesome plus there's a complimentary tasting at the end of the tour. We didn't stay at a B&B but we stayed in a resort/condo called Meritage in Napa. It was very nice, more like a condo then a hotel room. We got a very good deal through Orbitz. I would recommend going to Martini House one night for dinner in St. Helena. It was the best meal I've ever had. I had the tasting menu with matching wines. It was a little pricey both very worth it. There were a lot of things we wish we could have done like the train tour and Sonoma but there is just so many things to see when you're there. You will enjoy it.
Jun 8th, 2008, 07:55 PM
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Hmm. Two nights are worth it but if you really like this place you should think about staying one more night. Sonoma is a beautiful place. Wine tastings are the best, but be careful about them. B&Bs are cool but perhaps you should think about a real hotel.
travel_chic65 is offline  
Jun 8th, 2008, 08:21 PM
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You'll definitely need room reservations in August. I'd recommend the Napa side of wine country, especially if you are a first time visitor. Of the places you mention only Calistoga is in Napa County. Other good choices are St. Helena and Yountville. In Sonoma County, Healdsburg would be my choice followed by Sonoma. We gave up B&Bs because they often do not have TVs in the room and we prefer watching TV before bed each night. There really aren't too many value options in wine country, most rooms and restaurants are pricey.

Definitely do a wine tour but they are offered regularly at many wineries so I'd go without an advance reservation. Unless the operation side of the business really interests you, one tour should do.

IMO, the wine train is touristy and a rip-off. I'd rather have a lunch at one of the winery picnic grounds than get on that train and eat banquet food. One good value option for lunch is to get a bag lunch somewhere, whether a deli sandwich or cheese & bread... and eat at the free picnic grounds many of the wineries offer, some tasting rooms even have a small cold case with snacks or hors d'ouerves for sale. By all means, avoid Vito Sattui winery for this option.
Parrothead is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 06:26 AM
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I think first you have to decide which county you want to visit...Napa or Sonoma. If you chose Sonoma county, then check out and you might find some alternatives to either hotels, motels or B&B's. In any case, you will need to make reservations for a place to stay. Both Napa & Sonoma counties are about one and a half hours drive from SF. Since you will be in Sausalito, you might find it more convenient to drive straight up #101 to Healdsburg in Sonoma County. It will be about an hour north. There are lots of postings here about various towns in the wine country. Up to you to decide where you want to be.
kleroux is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 10:19 AM
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Parrothead, why avoid V. Sattui for the cold case picnic supplies?
LHS is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 12:47 PM
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Sattui is a touristy, bus filled
he**. There are soooooo many other more scenic places to picnic over in Napa. One idea might be to
buy your supplies at Oakville Grocery and head up the Oakville Grade to picnic at Diamond Oaks winery.

Wherever you will be, Sonoma or Napa county, you will need reservations. In Yountville you might find the Napa Valley Railway Inn a "good value" for the area.

razzledazzle is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 01:27 PM
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Thanks for replying, razzledazzle.

I think I liked V. Sattui so well because we had been cold in San Francisco for 2 days and sitting at a picnic table with salads & wine bought on site was the first time I felt the sun that vacation. No buses or crowds either, so maybe it was luck (and I was a tourist).

Already have plane tickets for Nov., so watching the wine country threads for ideas.
LHS is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 02:39 PM
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Razzle said it all. I always steer people clear of Suttui.

However, if someone wants to go to Taylor's Refresher I say go just so long as you know it's a burger stand with extras. I have also experienced that Taylor's, even with long lines, has good service and you can almost always find an empty table.
Parrothead is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 03:46 PM
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Once upon a time there was another reason to avoid V.Sattui

razzledazzle is offline  
Jun 9th, 2008, 03:48 PM
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To:RazzleDazzle;LHS;Kleroux;Parrothead;Travelchic; CaseyReed:
Thanks mucho for your kind informative notes. We went ahead and made reservations for two nites at Chardonnay Lodge in Napa. we're going to go to some tours. Also we'll dine out at a couple of restaurants in Napa, Healdsburg or Sonoma. Any suggestions?
fosterag is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 10:12 AM
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Restaurants . . .

In Sonoma (the city) we liked:

the girl & the fig
the General's Daughter

In Healdsburg we liked:

Willie's Seafood Bar

and nearby in Alexander Valley for lunch, the Jimtown Store
beach_dweller is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 12:36 PM
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On the Napa side, I like to eat at Bistro Jeanty, Auberge de Soleil and Martini House.
Parrothead is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 02:40 PM
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In Healdsburg I too like Willie's, and for lunch Charcuterie. I think Zin is too noisy and Manzanita too weird a menu. There is a new Italian resto on the square, which might also work for escapes me. We like Dry Creek Kitchen in Hotel Hbg. We think Cyrus is pretentious
kleroux is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 05:39 PM
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R5..."We'll always have the Railway....

Forgot all about the V.Sat thread.

Della Santina's courtyard in Sonoma.
Kal is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 07:39 PM
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Depends on what you have in mind for dinner, but Napa locals love:
* Pearl Restaurant on Pearl St.
* Kelly's No-Bad Days Cafe on Pearl St.
* Annalien on Main St. (Upscale Vietnamese - fabulous)
* Celedon - Main St.
* Bistro Don Giovanni (Hwy 29)

and there are many fabulous restaurants in the towns north.
elnap29 is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 07:58 PM
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We love Auberge du Solei for lunch... not cheap but a great lunch and one of the best views in the valley.

Bouchon in Yountville is great.

Martini house in St Helena is great.

If you want to Picnic then Sunrise Market in St. Helena has great supplies.

In Sonoma area: Della Santinis is wonderful. Picnic would be the market in Glen Ellen.
jnjfraz is offline  
Jun 10th, 2008, 08:03 PM
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Bouchon's oyster barrrrrr.
Kal is offline  
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