If you are going on a wine-o weekend, which do you choose? Inquiring minds. Well, after umpteen trips to this wonderful Northern California region, I hope that I’ve got an informed wine-o-opinion.
First, let’s talk about Sonoma. Wineries here tend to be smaller, friendlier, and more intimate. Wine lovers like Ben from Deerfield Ranch will make you laugh while they pour, pour and pour. Then pour again if you show a flirty exhale when that red comes back around. People like Ben are just enthusiastic about their offerings. Ben said “this tastes like – a double rainbow, wrapped around a unicorn, deep-fried and cover in Sriracha” while he shared that expensive bottle of Pinot.
It was a meaningful review. He kept up with our group, just fine.
More Sonoma, the Doobie Brother’s manager owns this one. They do concerts on the property once a year and are well-loved by the community. Rightfully so, good people here.
Smaller wineries are where you will find happiness in Sonoma. Buy a bottle while tasting and usually the tasting is free. Unlike Napa, where tasting centers have become a profit center for the wineries. This is key to remember when choosing between the valleys. Yes, you need to choose, the drive between the two is gnarly. Thanks JL.
Take my advice, save your money for a driver. It’s just plain smart, safe and sane.
They are all amazing, just pick one. Promise, you can’t go wrong. I’ll share my absolute favorite. Duckhorn. Ask for Abbey. Two years in a row she has pampered our group. She makes me hold on tight to that Wine Club Membership. Just so I can visit her and she can bring me worldly cheese while I sip her Duckhorn pours. Good friends have been born.
Something more to consider, in Napa the restaurants are numerous and committed to culinary excellence. French Laundry, Morimoto, Gott’s Roadside and the Kitchen Door are just to name a few. I was so impressed when we drove by Gott’s. The masses where in line to order their ahi tuna burger on a toasted egg bun. Memorial day weekend was huge for them. The line was too long for us to stop, Duckhorn was calling. All of these places have me coming back to the valley for good eats someday.
Final things to consider:
Navigating traffic – Traveling north on the Napa Highway 29, DANG. While navigating traffic in Sonoma Valley, EZPZ.
Hotels in Napa Valley, both big and boutique are fancy pants. Sonoma Valley, well, there are only a handful of places to stay. Otherwise go vacation rental by owner – VRBO.
Bottom line, both Napa or Sonoma are splendid, just in different ways. Love me some Sonoma Russian River Valley wines. While in Napa, Carneros dirt? I want to be buried in it.
Napa is to Paris as Sonoma is to New Orléans. Different, but both definitely should be on your bucket list. Each amazing, complete soul candy, just unlike.
We’ll round it out today with some snap shots from Memorial Day weekend. Here is what the Polaroid spit out while I was sober, kinda.
On a last note, timing to choose Napa or Sonoma? I’d recommend November. The October Harvest has ended, the wine-o’s have thinned, traffic is as light as it will ever be, and the rolling hills are green. The air is brisk, dress warmly.
Just book that trip friends.
See you there,