Wine Country Itinerary - help!

Old Jul 12th, 2007, 06:52 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 424
Wine Country Itinerary - help!

Hi! I am really excited to be heading to Healdsburg next Tuesday (and then to Mendocino). As this is my bf and my first time in wine country (and we are by NO means wine experts), I was hoping for some comments on our possible itinerary. I also don't have quite a sense of how far things are from each other. We are looking for a good variety of wines and types of wineries.

Arrive Oakland airport at 11:30am
drive towards downtown Sonoma - get picnic food there
Benziger winery + tour - eat picnic
Drive 101 possibly stopping at: J. Wine Co, Rodney Strong, Foppiano (kendall jackson or korbel if time?)
Check into Grape Leaf Inn, dinner, etc

We are taking a wine tour with a guide and we are going to: Lancaster, Stonestreet, Stryker, Robert YOung, Silver Oak, Ferrari-Carano (and possibly Jordan). This is pretty much fixed I just put it here so you get an idea of what area we will be in that day and what kind of wines we are tasting.

Thurs: This is the day I am less sure what to do. Do you guys think we should spend this day at Napa? IS COPIA worth visiting? OR should we stick to the area around Healdsburg - and if so - what wineries would you guys recommend to round out our visit?

Thanks so much, sorry for the long post!
sharbear84 is offline  
Old Jul 12th, 2007, 07:18 PM
Join Date: Apr 2004
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You're not going to have a lot of time on Tuesday afternoon after driving up from Oakland, seeing Sonoma, and picnicing and touring, tasting at Benzinger. I'd play it by ear and if you have time, visit some nearby wineries in Kenwood like Kunde or Chateau St. Jean. By then, it will be late afternoon.

Sounds like you have Wenesday covered. A lot of wineries but it should be a lot of fun.

Thursday, you could drive over to Napa Valley and see Calistoga and St. Helena. I wouldn't bother driving down to Napa. The upper valley is the most scenic. As I suggested in another thread, you could drive over on Hwy 128 and return via the Petrified Forest Road. If you are burned out on wineries, you could always visit Safari West which is between Santa Rosa and Calistoga just off the Petrified Forest Road on Porter Creek Road.
Otis_B_Driftwood is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2007, 12:43 AM
Join Date: Jun 2007
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We stayed at the Grape Leaf Inn several years ago (on our first wine country trip.) It was a wonderful stay!

However, there are a few things to consider on your first day. Downtown Sonoma is quite a distance from Healdsburg which is Northern Sonoma County. And consider the time it takes to drive from Oakland to Sonoma. I don't remember how long it takes but factor in the time you will actually arrive in Sonoma itself. You may have time for 2 or 3 wineries. The Benzinger tour is great. (Check on tour times). Wineries tend to close around 4 or 5. Keep in mind that Grape Leaf Inn has their own wine tasting in their cellar basement.

Around Healdsburg, you have 3 major wine regions Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley. We visited Dry Creek (with suggestions from the Grape Leaf Inn owners). But it's a matter of choice. Our favorite wines are from Russian River and Dry Creek.

Visiting Napa is also a matter of your preference. What wines do you like? But for me, Northern Sonoma has a lot to offer already.
ricerco is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2007, 09:52 AM
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Don't drive to Napa. Visit Dry Creek and Russian River areas. Beautiful places! Wilson Winery is a must. She's won some big awards in CA. Go up to Geyserville and pop in Meeker and Locals. Get a picnic that day or do lunch at the Hoffman House. Then go back and spend the afternoon walking around Healdsburg, shopping on the square and taste at Rosenblum, Sapphire Hill and Camellia Cellars tasting rooms. I think Lake Sonoma is there now, too. After that, walk to dinner at Willi's Seafood. Grape Leaf in GREAT and easy walking to town.
LLindaC is offline  
Old Jul 13th, 2007, 01:39 PM
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Thanks for all the help! We are definitely going to eat Willis one night. I think I will take everyones advice and really only plan on Benziger (and maybe one other) on the way to Healdsburg from the airport. The only reason I thought we would stop in Sonoma was to get a picnic to bring to Benziger, because it seems like it is somewhat on the way? On our third day I think we will skip Napa, and do more of the Russian RIver Valley (since we are getting a taste of the other areas with our guide). As for what wines we like - we don't agree, which is a problem - we both like like chardonnay and pinot noir, I like sauvignon blanc, and he likes cabernets.
sharbear84 is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2007, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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Shar....if you like Pinota....the absolutely best and most delicious pinots come from Papapietro-Perry in Dry Creek. Not much to the tasting room, but these babies are so delicious! We're now a member of their club. Whenever we share these with friends they are a HUGE hit. If you visit, go across the parking lot and check out Amphora and the affable Rick Hutchinson. Remember, it's ALWAYS okay to sip and spit...or share a tasting, too!
LLindaC is offline  
Old Jul 14th, 2007, 10:47 AM
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Since you're going to Ferrari Carrano, have your driver also take you to Preston. Great contrast!! On your free day, drive along the Russian River to Guerneville and visit (picnic) in the Armstrong Woods. A Calif. State park with beautiful redwood trees...
kleroux is offline  
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