Wine Country..Napa Valley & Sonoma

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The next leg of our big California trip took us out of Yosemite and over into Wine Country! Ah yes, the secret intention of this trip all along, just don’t tell Brian!

We knew we were short on time, I mean really, we drove in Wednesday morning, had all day Thursday and drove out Friday Morning. It’s almost a sacrilege to spend such a short amount of time here, but it’s all we had. Don’t worry, we’ll be back! So we donned our wine tasting attire, hats and all and off we went!

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We knew that we wanted to hit one vineyard in particular as the vintner Dawne Sacchetti is the sister of a colleague of Brian’s. Chateau Diana is tucked away in the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg.  It was super easy to find and was such a wonderful find. The modest size tasting room was very comfortable and there was plenty of space at the tasting bar.  Like most wineries they had a nice selection of wine related items to purchase as well.  Our tasting went fabulous. They have a cute patio out front of the  building where you can sit and relax as well, so plan to spend a little time here.

Dawne was so gracious to show us around the bottling room and we had a great time!  We made the customary purchases of a few bottles and we were off again to stop two. We really would have bought more here but A: we had to fly all the goods home and B: it was Day 1 stop 1, pace yourself grasshopper.

Our Gracious Host Dawne at Chateau Diana

I have a little thing I do when visiting wineries and that is to save that tasting sheet they give you! Seriously! You mark off the ones you tried and as you are tasting, rate them to your preference. I then circle the ones that I purchased and this way, long after the bottle is gone, I still have the paper to remember which ones I like and didn’t so I can reorder.  It’s also helpful if you can’t remember the nuances of the wine; sweet, dry, fruity, etc. since it’s usually printed in the description.

We knew we wanted to hit Napa on our first day and that was where the hotel was we were staying anyway, so we drove across the hills into the Napa Valley. The only thing that could have made this road trip better was if we were in a convertible with the top down. I’m picturing a little two-seater green MG or Austin Healy, with the old rag top and leather seats . Maybe I have watched too many old movies, but that would have topped the day for sure.

Now I could go on and on about all of the wineries here, but there are SO many in such a fairly close proximity that there is no way, we possibly could begin to recommend any. The truth of the matter is, we only got to 3 that entire day. It’s almost overwhelming and you can’t decide. But then again we were driving so 3 was plenty. 

From our last stop we decided to head to the resort where we would be spending the next two nights. Now I have to stay, I’m cheap, seriously cheap. I will scour the internet for a hotel room and discounts and all kinds of crazy things. Where Brian on the other hand will say, “will you just book it already!” I will research anything to death. That being said, this was our five-year anniversary trip so I splurged… BIG TIME.

We booked our two nights at The Silverado Resort & Spa. Did you catch the SPA on the end there? Oh yes, I went there. This place was well worth the weeks of research and the high-end price tag that it came with. Amazing! After checking in they actually tell you where to park and then meet you at your parking space and help you to your room with your luggage on a golf cart! I know that sounds sort of dumb, but there was something about not having to lug all of your stuff that just romanticized the whole thing. 

The rooms are not just rooms either, they are like little villas. There were a bunch of  buildings with several of these villas connected together. A true resort. Our room was large, with a fireplace, kitchenette, fully equipped with cooking utensils and dinner and glass ware and there was even a private patio with table and chairs for outdoor dining if you wanted. The bed and pillows were so comfortable. 

To top off our experience, I booked a couples massage at the Spa for the next morning. This was also top-notch! The Spa has everything you need, from the luxurious robes they give you to walk around in, full amenities in the locker room with towels, bath accessories and anything else you may have forgotten. The massage was excellent and I left there never wanting to go home. Shout out to The Silverado Resort & Spa, that I’m available to return for a full review of the rest of the resort if you’re interested. 

The next morning we had a quick breakfast at the Bakery and Market on site and headed over to Sonoma for the day. I had a whole list of wineries I wanted to try to hit and in true fashion we did something completely different. As you drive into the town of Sonoma you will find Sonoma Plaza and as it turns out, there are several wineries right there. No it wasn’t visiting a vineyard experience but it was perfect for tastings. We hit up 3 different wineries in about an hour and half and they were all excellent. There are also a lot of cute shops to in town to walk to and plenty of cafes and restaurants. 

We then continued on our self guided tour and stopped at two other wineries before heading back to the hotel and collapsing in our big comfy bed. 

What a trip! We had so much fun and enjoyed every minute. We will definitely head back to this whole area and spend a week next time. 

A few takeaways for you: wineries will sell you shipping boxes to send your wine home in. We paid $6 for a shipping box that had a thick Styrofoam bottle insert in it. As most places have a minimum to ship your wine for your, this allowed us to buy only a bottle or two at each place and then we checked the box as luggage for the flight home! WHO KNEW! I also had purchased wine bags online before we went, and they are like bubble wrap kind of bags that hold one bottle each. You then put your bottle in, seal it up and pack the pack in your checked bags for the flight home. If the bottle would break, there is absorbent stuff inside that will protect your clothes. I am happy to report that all of my little babies made it home safe and sound. 

Precious Cargo

6 Replies to “Wine Country..Napa Valley & Sonoma”

  • We have lived an hour from Napa for the past 3 years and it has definitely been an experience. I was a wine fan when we moved here, but I really developed a taste for expensive CA cabernets (which may or may not be a good thing). Our favorite wineries were Silvarado and Pine Ridge which are conveniently located right next to each other. I also love how everyone that works at the wineries is so kjnowledgeable. We learned a lot over the years about wine growing, tasting and the Napa valley region.

    • Thank you for stopping by! I’m so jealous, only an hour drive! I would need a seriously large wine cellar if I lived that close.

    • Thank you, it’s so beautiful there and hard to narrow down which pictures to post! Glad you enjoyed them!

  • Keeping the tasting sheet is a great idea! I try to make a log of our favorite wines at each place we try in my notes app on my phone, but I do miss out on having some of the flavor notes and even second or third favorite options if I’m not in the mood for my typical dry red. Glad you had so much fun in Wine Country! It’s on my list for sure!

  • Sounds like an amazing place. Some of those photos could have been taken in our wine region in South Australia. Same climate and similar terrain I guess!

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