wine country

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Oct 2nd, 2004, 10:25 AM
  #1
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wine country

My husband and I are interested in visiting California wine country in April. Is this an ok time and also any suggestions on wineries and areas to go to? We will have about 4 days.

Thanks.
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 11:09 AM
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I think you probably are referring to the best known area, Napa/Sonoma, but there are many wine areas in California now, from Santa Barbara in the south to the north in Amador County. It might be fun for you to visit one of the "less popular" areas, where you would find it less crowded and easier to navigate.

If you wish further info on that possibility I will be happy to help with some suggestions. I'll check back on this thread.
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 11:53 AM
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With four days, you could tour both the Napa Valley & the Sonoma wineries. Both areas are wonderful.

Healdsburg is very nice, plan a visit to the Chatau Souverain and have lunch at the Alexandar Valley Grille. The have a very nice prix fixe lunch there for $19.95 which is three courses.

We also like the Dry Creek Kitchen at the Hotel Healdsburg. www.hotelhealdsburg.com ***kim***
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 11:59 AM
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"Healdsburg is very nice, plan a visit to the Chatau Souverain and have lunch at the Alexandar Valley Grille. The have a very nice prix fixe lunch there for $19.95 which is three courses."

YES!!! Souverain is a beautiful building where you can dine on the patio overlooking beautiful terrain and then have a tasting session of delicious, well-priced wines.
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:10 PM
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shelja, if you go here, have lunch before the tasting, they will present you with a wine cork to show the pourer and you will receive a complimentary tasting. ***kim***
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 12:26 PM
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April is a great time to visit...before the summer rush but hopefully good weather. Although there still could be rain.

I was just up in Napa because some friends snagged reservations at French Laundry and I have to say I much prefer off season months to summer and Fall which are just horribly busy.
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Oct 2nd, 2004, 01:26 PM
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March and May are my favorite months, going during the week is also very nice! ***kim***
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Oct 12th, 2004, 05:29 AM
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Thanks for the responses. We are planning for April 10-15 timeframe so hopefully weather will cooperate. We will try Healdsburg due to the suggestions... we are thinking Napa/Sonoma but open. Any other suggestions of wineries to visit or places to eat, drink and be merry? Thanks again.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 05:51 AM
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also, forgot to mention that we enjoying tastings and prefer reds (pinot noirs, syrahs, merlots,etc) to whites. this might help in suggestions of wineries.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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Shelja, I have been 3 times and am returning in November. My husband and I have gone in late March and early April and love it. The leaves are barely popping out on the vines, it's often quite foggy until midday and can be cool. We met many winery owners and got great treatment because often we had the place to ourselves! We like smaller wineries, but it's still fun to visit the big ones such as Coppola, Korbel and Opus One. 4 days is great...easy to have a good look at Napa and Sonoma. We went in April to the Spring wine show in Lodi and visited the wineries around there last year and LOVED it.Harmony was my favorite. Then, we drove to awesome Mendocino on the coast visiting the wineries of Anderson Valley and taking in the redwoods and ocean splendor. http://www.mendocino.com/winetasting/wine.lasso
This is definitely a lot less touristy than Napa. I know I'll never return there...much rather do the Sonoma/Mendocino route. For great places to stay, Grape Leaf Inn in Healdsburg, Brewery Gulch Inn and Alegria in Mendocino. Off season in April, you can get fabulous deals on rooms at www.luxurylink.com It's an auction, great site. We got rooms for 115/night that run over twice that. Enjoy!
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Oct 12th, 2004, 07:33 AM
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Hi - we went to Napa/Sononma this past april for a 50th birthday celebration. Spent the first night in SF, had a great dinner and then drove to Calistoga early the next morning. Took in a spa treatment or two, then started driving down towards Napa. Stopped at Duckhorn (wonderful place), Markham, lunch at Taylor's Refreshers, on to Coppola, and Stag's leap. Stayed at the Marriott with dinner at a little place on the square (not thrilling enough to remember but ok). Hired a limo the next morning and went to Cakebread, Chimney Rock, Goose Crossing, Silver Oak, and one last winery that had nice grounds but mediocre wine (maybe because it was our last!). Dinner that night at Girl and Fig...wouldn't go there again but the other wonderful places like French Laundry were under renovation or booked already. Back to SF the next day. With one more day, I'd have done a hot air balloon or another spa treatment. We shopped a little each evening before dinner. Definitely, do the limo routine. No driving, we had a very knowledgeable driver (he had lists of wineries based on your experience in the valley), funny, right on time, etc. Also - don't ship from the winery. Our driver told us that his company will take you and your wine to the local Fed Ex place where its boxed into one shipment and sent out that way. Much cheaper. We had great weather - sunny, upper 60's to low 70's. Can't wait to go back. Next trip, we'll do the other side of the valley - Ferrari Carrano, Kunde, Benzinger and up the Anderson Valley. Have fun!
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Oct 12th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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Thanks for the feedback... do you have the name of the limo company? I think that is great idea - no driving!
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Oct 12th, 2004, 09:56 AM
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I think it was California Wine Tours - call the Marriott since they booked it for us. They have two services they use and this was not their 'preferred' service. We found it great however and told them so when we got back. The driver's name was Timothy.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 10:02 AM
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Shelja,
If you like Pinot and are in the Healdsburg region definately try the road that goes down past Rochioli and Gary Farrell it's really beautiful with a very backroads feel.

Rochioli and Hop Kiln are close together and either are good for a picnic.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 11:09 AM
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Shelja - another interesting red wine is the Sienna at Farrari Carano. It is a super Tuscan blend and you can try a couple of different vintages there. The grounds at the winery are particularly beautiful. On down into Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean has a wonderful Bordeaux blend, Cinq Cepages. That wine was Wine Spectator's wine of the year about 3 years ago. Blackstone across the road makes a decent Merlot and Kenwood has some nice reds. The Kenwood restaurant is a very nice spot for lunch or dinner in the area.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 11:23 AM
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Hi shelja!
As a Sonoma county resident, I am
sure welltraveledbrit is mentioning
West Side Rd, just outside of
Healdsburg. I can tell you pages and pages of info. yet suggest you
start here:
www.wineroad.com
As locals, our prefrences lean toward the premium quality,medium-small production wineries. welltraveled is quite correct in mentioning Rochioli,Gary Ferrel & Hop Kiln for some excellent pinot and merlot.
Also in the area you might consider
Christopher Creek, Davis Bynum, Joseph Swan, and Sapphire Hill.
For eats we like Willi's (small plates)
Ravenous, Farmhouse Inn, Madronna Manor
In Nearby Graton-the Underwood Bar and Bistro;in Windsor-Mirepox or Langleys' on the Green.
April is a fine time to be here,
(We like it ALL the time!!)

R5
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Oct 12th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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alg
 
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I loved Gary Farrell!! Delicious wines and what an amazing view from the tasting room! Iron Horse is also fun. There are many good wineries, it's hard to make a bad choice, and the Russian River Valley makes some very fine reds.

For the record, I like Napa too. We try to go about once a month or so for the day (live in SF). The area is quite compact so it makes gettig from one place to the next fairly easy (whereas Sonoma is a little more spread out). Both are great, if you can manage getting to both.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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Thanks all - this is great and truly much appreciated!
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:16 PM
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A great event to keep an eye on for 2005 is the April in Carneros event - see www.carneroswineries.org for information. This is a great event and will give you tons of great red wines!

I also recomend Kenwood, the Sonoma Wine Room and the small wineries on the wineroad.com
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:23 PM
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shelja: For dining, check out the girl and the fig and Cafe La Haye, both in Sonoma. Cafe La Haye is only open for dinner, but I believe serves Sunday brunch.

I really enjoyed the Ledson winery and the Imagery for their Viognier, both in the Sonoma wine areas.

Blackstone is also very nice, try their Reserve Merlot, it has won numerous awards and you can't buy that one at Costco! ***kim***
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