Sonoma Valley/Napa Valley in the fall

Old Oct 18th, 2013, 09:09 PM
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Sonoma Valley/Napa Valley in the fall

My boyfriend and I are driving up to Sonoma/Napa (not sure yet) next weekend from Southern California. Both of us are from Ohio and want to see the fall colors we don't have in Southern California. I have looked at yelp, groupon, peoples flicr pics from the fall and cannot set any plans in stone.

Does anyone have any suggestions for where to see the most beautiful scenery...great fall colors. Is it like that everywhere? Is the end of October even the ideal time for that? I am looking for wineries with great views but also interested in hiking if we have time...

I see a lot of the wineries are more downtown and I think we are looking for more off the beaten path types. He is really into photography so we are trying to find some good places for photos.

Ideally, I want to do some wines tastings and be able to walk around the vineyard with a bottle of wine and just relax. Most that I have been to havent been that way (just letting you explore on your own.)

So winery suggestions, tour suggestions, and hotel suggestions are welcome. We are not looking to spend a lot on the hotel - would rather spend it on what we do.

Thank you!!
Katie726 is offline  
Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:37 AM
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Both Sonoma and Napa are beutiful, but all in all Sonoma is probably what you are looking for. It's more rural, with more mom and pop wineries. Check out the Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, and the Anderson Valley (the most rural and IMO most beautiful). You will find plenty of hiking opportunities, especially on some of the rugged roads that lead over the mountains to the ocean. I've been in many parts of the world, and this area is one of the most scenic anywhere. We've visited scores of wineries, so I can't remember too many specifics, but some that jump out are DeLorimier, Hop Kiln, Cappola (way over the top but worth seeing) and Jacuzzi. You will find that the further up you travel, the cheaper and less crowded the tastings. The Healdsburg-Cloverdale area make a good base.
There are a few 'Best Western' type motels in the area, and a beautiful victorian b&b in a vinyard in Cloverdale, the Shelford House. As for foliage, we always go in the spring, so I'm not sure what to expect - but I guarantee it will be beautiful!
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 06:51 AM
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The scenery is terrific -- but don't expect vivid colors like in New England. There are some pretty yellows and such.
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Old Oct 19th, 2013, 08:08 AM
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For pretty colors, mostly yellows, head to the Sierras. You could tie in a weekend in Amador or Calaveras wine country and the colors further up the mountains.
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Old Oct 20th, 2013, 02:25 PM
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I was in Sonoma/Napa last weekend. The grape leaves were already turning yellow in Carneros. I was trying to capture those dreamy photos of yellow colored vineyards partially shrouded in the morning fog, but the fog height was too high one morning, and there was no fog the next day.
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Old Oct 20th, 2013, 04:25 PM
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This is a beautiful time of year in Healdsburg (Sonoma County). The vineyards are all turning colors and its really pretty. Very quiet and relaxed, not a lot of traffic on the roads. There are motels, B&B's and also vacation rentals (VRBO.Com) so you should have your choice of where to stay in what ever price range you are in.
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Old Oct 20th, 2013, 05:24 PM
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I was in Sonoma last weekend and mostly on the back roads. Followed along the Russian River for a while out of Foresville. Vineyards were turning color, roads were quiet. Like Janis said, no vivid colors like back east but gorgeous scenery.

No sure what wineries you are referring to that are downtown. In Sonoma County many of them are along the winding roads of the Russian River and the other valleys. Gary Farrell has an amazing view and great reds. The address says Healdsburg but actually closer to Forestville. On Dry Creek Road, Ferrari-Carano has an absolutely gorgeous garden worth seeing and while not on a hill, nice views of the surrounding area. I find the staff there to be a little less friendly than some of the other wineries but still worth a visit for the grounds. Wines are good.

That's just a couple of examples of the wineries. Even without the vivid colors, you should have a wonderful weekend.
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Old Oct 20th, 2013, 05:41 PM
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Not sure about your idea of wandering around the wineyards on your own. I've been to a lot of wineries and have never heard of being able to do that. I would guess there are liability issues along with other things.

Another fun place we discovered was Russian River Vineyards. My daughter and her boyfriend live in SF so go to Sonoma quite often. Kind of a funky looking winery, tasting room was outside at least that weekend. They also have a restaurant, Cork, that gets good reviews. They had music playing and you can buy a glass of wine and just sit and enjoy. I'm sure you could buy a bottle, too if you want. Nice views, laid back unpretentious, and friendly. The rescue dogs were wandering around. I loved the vibe and the wines were good.
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