It’s road trip season in Sonoma County! Early Spring is the best time to visit this wine region. It’s currently overflowing with blossoming buds, popping leaves, and vibrant vineyards! California poppies, clusters of purple and white blooms, and other wildflowers line the vineyards and highways coming into the region from San Francisco. From the city, it takes about an hour and a half by car. It’s a scenic drive in which you cross the iconic golden gate bridge over towards Marin and beyond. Make sure to have your phone ready for some awesome road trip videos as you cross over into the sunshine!
Right now is an unbeatable time of the season to explore this California wine destination! Early spring is a special time to explore this area because you get to witness what’s known in the region as “bud break.” The weather this time of year is absolutely perfect for outdoor wine tastings, many of which are surrounded by the pretty yellow mustard green flowers which are blossoming right now too.
Whether you’re out of town for a girls’ getaway, a day trip with your significant other, or enjoying the finer things with family, now is the time to plan for the ultimate road trip to Sonoma County! This wine region has over 60 grape varietals so there’s something for everyone! Just be sure to have a designated driver.
If you’re unsure of where to visit or don’t exactly know what you’re looking for in a wine, check out Sonomawine.com! It has everything you need to plan out the best day of tasting including:
- Varietal filters to help you find the perfect wine to taste
- Preferred wine tasting routes based on single appellations
- An amenities filter in case you’re wondering if a winery is dog or kid-friendly
- And my favorite filter: the one that sorts out places to enjoy art, caves, food pairings, winery chefs and more!
This past weekend I went on a day-trip to Sonoma County and hit three different wineries in partnership with Sonoma County Vintners. Each one has its own special ambiance and unique wines to taste, making for an extraordinary day of beautiful views, decadent food, sumptuous sips and great photo opportunities!
Before you head out, be sure to book wine tastings and pairing experiences in advance. I recommend leaving a little extra time for relaxing and taking in the ambiance of the wineries… and maybe a little more for snapping photos and asking questions about the wines, region and wineries too.
The Perfect Girls’ Getaway In Sonoma Wine Country
One Day Itinerary
Where to drink
Aperture Cellars | 12291 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA 95448
The aperture of a camera lens changes the amount of light a photographer has to work with; at Aperture, we’re shedding light on what Bordeaux varieties in the cooler pockets of Sonoma are capable of. Warm, sunny days and brisk nights ensure that every bottle bursts with freshness, no matter how generous the fruit. None other than Wine Spectator has described our wines as “plump, intense and juicy” while remaining “clean and complex.”
Aperture Cellars is a stunning winery inspired by Andy Katz’s renowned photography. His work graces coffee-table books, galleries, and album covers all over the world so chances are you’ve seen it. This property is great for people with an interest in photography, art and interior design.
The property, the ambiance and surrounding vineyards are gorgeous, especially with the bright mustard blossoms!
Those with a love of Bordeaux varietals, in particular, will be quite pleased, as this is their specialty. The winemaker, Jesse Kats was the first winemaker ever to be included in the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, moreover, he has been named a Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemaker and a Wine Spectator “Rising Star.”
Bricoleur Vineyards | 7394 Starr Road Windsor, CA 95492
Bricoleur | bri · co · leur | French
Our guests tell us there’s no other place in Sonoma County wine country like Bricoleur Vineyards. We are proud to be the stewards of this breathtakingly beautiful Russian River Valley estate and believe in sustainable farming, fresh fruits and vegetables, fine wine, family enterprise, and supporting the community. Our roots run deep in Sonoma County wine country, and every day, we unwaveringly work to maintain the health of our vines, animals, produce, and enhance our community.
“Bricoleur Vineyards is a unique, wine country retreat nestled in the Russian River Valley in Windsor about an hour north of San Francisco,” says Bricoleur Vineyards’ Founder Mark Hanson. “The 40-acre estate features a number of picturesque gathering places to relax and create memorable experiences. These include enjoying a picnic in the stone pavilion overlooking the rows of Chardonnay, strolling in the rose gardens admiring the vast array of colorful and fragrant roses, playing a friendly game of bocce ball, or simply enjoying one’s family over a bottle of wine while watching the ducks, black swans, and native birds by one of two serene ponds.”
Bricoleur Vineyards currently features a number of culinary experiences that highlight their unique offerings, each of which are prepared at the estate. There are two wine and food pairing options on the daily tasting menu, the “Our Roots” and the “Sip & Savor”. “Our Roots” is four wines paired with four small bites and “Sip & Savor” is six wines paired with six small bites. Each pairing features estate-grown vegetables and fruit, and estate olive oil and honey from our estate bees.
Our Sip and Savor experience was absolutely delicious. The petite bites were flavorful and delightfully complimented the wine pairings. If you’re a foodie, you’ll really enjoy Executive Chef and Director of Culinary Operations, Shane McAnelly’s, insight on the menu and everything you’re tasting.
Here’s what we had:
- 2020 Kick Ranch Rosé Of Grenache + Local Oyster Mushroom Kalbi
- 2019 Kick Ranch Sauvignon Blanc + Beet Pupusa
- 2018 Kick Ranch Viognier + Shrimp Aguachile Tostada
- 2018 Estate Chardonnay + Parsnip Occhi
- 2018 Estate Pinot Noir + Crispy Pork Rillette
- 2018 Alexander Valley Zinfandel + Beef Kefta
Check out my Forbes article on Bricoleur Vineyards here.
Matanzas Creek Winery | 6097 Bennett Valley Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95404
The unique character and beauty of Matanzas Creek’s winery, vineyards, lavender field and gardens have earned the Estate worldwide recognition as a premier California wine country destination.
This lovely winery is located in the beautiful Bennet Valley region in Sonoma County. Known for its Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot, this winery’s fruit comes from the sustainably-famed estate vineyards. This laid-back winery is also known for its lavender gardens — something I’ll have to come back for!
Where to eat
For an unforgettable dinner, stop by Valette, an upscale restaurant born from two brothers’ lifelong goal of creating an unparalleled dining establishment in their hometown of Healdsburg. The restaurant prides itself on perfectly marrying the best of the best from local farmers, winemakers and artisans to showcase their crafts in its innovative, tantalizing cuisine.
Alternatively, if you’re in the mood for a luxurious picnic, grab some goodies at Journeyman Meat Co. which offers a huge variety of handmade salumi, smoked and fresh sausage, bacon and pork cuts. Located in downtown Healdsburg, they have a curated butcher counter, a rotating menu from their wood-fired oven and seasonal meat and wine pairings. Grab a bottle of wine from their family ranch, Journeyman and San Lorenzo, and enjoy!
For my post on A Weekend Of Luxury In Healdsburg, California which includes Valette, along with where to stay in Healdsburg, complete with wine tasting, restaurant recommendations and more, click here!
Photo credit: Michael Sullivan // @walksanfrancisco
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