A deal for large groups, especially those staying for more than a few days, the farmhouse at Inman Family Wines has modern conveniences but retains a nostalgic ambiance. It's not for travelers in search of pampering—as with a vacation rental, you're pretty much on your own—but a stay here does give you the opportunity to experience life at a working winery, in this case one known for restrained, balanced Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs.
You can save money by booking directly through the winery rather than third-party booking sites.
The three-bedroom house, steps from a Pinot Noir vineyard and with garden views, is furnished with antiques and fine-art prints. It's not "done up," but rather looks like somebody's home. The spacious living room has a fireplace, and there's a television with a cable hookup and a DVD player. The house has wireless DSL and a washer and dryer.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Rates are for up to four people, with two more allowed for $50 each per night.
There's only one bathroom. It's not overly stylish but it's clean and the towels are Egyptian cotton.
There's no lobby, but if you're looking to socialize, the winery's nearby tasting room, open by appointment, is a fun place to hang out. In addition to Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, owner-winemaker Kathleen Inman makes rosé of Pinot Noir, two sparkling wines, and Pinot Gris. Her zeal to recycle is in evidence everywhere, most conspicuously in the tasting room, where redwood reclaimed from an on-site barn was incorporated into the design, and crushed wine-bottle glass was fashioned into the bar.
Breakfast isn't included, but you can make it yourself with fixings (no extra charge) that might include produce from a nearby garden and fresh eggs from the winery's hens. The kitchen is fully equipped. When the weather's good, you can picnic outside under the shade of an old olive tree.
There is no bar here, but the winery's tasting room is just steps away, and the rental includes a tasting and private tour. On the tour you'll learn about her farming, fermenting, and aging methods.
The farmhouse is about 10 miles west of downtown Santa Rosa. The nearest bus stops are a long walk away, making a car is pretty much essential. DeLoach Vineyards and a few other wineries are within walking distance, but not much else.
The area's splurge is Forestville's romantic Farmhouse Inn (6-minute drive) for intricate French-inspired farm-to-table cuisine. Also in Forestville are The Restaurant at Russian River Vineyards (9-minute drive) and The Backyard (10-minute drive), both for rustic farm-to-table Modern American. In Sebastopol but almost to Forestville, Pascaline (9-minute drive) is a locals' favorite for French-style pastries and quiches, croques monsieur, and other bistro bites. Over in Santa Rosa, tasting-room staffers recommend The Spinster Sisters (17-minute drive) for its inventive Modern American dishes using mostly locally sourced ingredients. The weekend brunch here is very popular.
The Front Room Bar & Lounge (8-minute drive) at the Vintners Inn's John Ash & Co. restaurant is the closest spot for a well-made cocktail. The signature ones include a potent Moscow mule, a classy Manhattan mixed with Woodford Reserve, and the aromatic Rosemary Drop, made with Square One Botanical Vodka, rosemary simple syrup made in-house, and fresh lemon juice.
WHY WE LIKE IT
If you're hankering to tap into Sonoma County's agricultural roots, Olivet Grange provides an on-the-farm experience in an agreeable setting. Some travelers may find the vacation-rental setup too DIY and the missing amenities (pool, gym, and spa among them) a deal breaker, but for those who don't, the farmhouse offers the chance to live like a wine-biz local.