Location: Sonoma County/Napa Valley, CA, USA
Hello again friends! We hope you all are enjoying your summer so far. We most definitely are as a month ago to the day we were enjoying the best wines in the world in the best wine region in the world, Sonoma County, California. We were out there for Caleb's best friend's wedding, which was just so beautiful, and in between all the wedding events we fit in some wine tasting, of course!
We arrived in San Francisco around lunch time and headed straight up to Santa Rosa...but not without a stop at In-N-Out in Mill Valley first.
After our delicious lunch we checked in to our hotel, the Hotel La Rose in Santa Rosa. We were in the Carriage House of the hotel, which had a beautiful courtyard and our balcony over looked in to it, which made for some great afternoons of reading and relaxing. After refreshing for the day we headed out for our first wine tasting at our all time favorite winery, Clos du Bois. We finally splurged on a bottle of their Cabernet Franc but were told that we need to continue aging it for another 6 years for optimal taste! The self-control is real, folks, but we're going to wait it out and enjoy it in a few years time for some special occasion in the future. After our wonderful tasting, we went to dinner at another favorite spot, Cafe Citti in Kenwood. It was so beautiful out that we got to sit on the patio and eat some delicious Italian food. Post dinner, we headed out to the groom's parents' house for a lovely evening of drinking and good conversation.
Our second day was started out with a slow morning and trying a new place for breakfast, Dierk's Parkside Cafe, which we highly recommend! After stuffing ourselves with all the eggs, bacon, and french toast, we took a drive out in to the countryside and ended up on Highway 12 at Kunde Estate Winery and Vineyards. He opted for the patio wine + cheese tasting and enjoyed a late morning of incredible wine, cheese, and mountain views. We took home a bottle of the Sauvignon Blanc and can't wait to enjoy it this last little bit of summer.
We decided to keep the wine train rolling from there and stopped by another past favorite on Highway 12, Ledson Winery aka the castle. We did our usual flight and spent a good amount of time strolling through the vineyards and snapping some photos.
We ended our fun afternoon with some Jack in the Box, a nap, and a welcome BBQ for the wedding. To say it was an incredible day is an understatement!
The following day was wedding day! Since Caleb was in the wedding party he went off to have breakfast at Omelette Express and to get ready while I ventured off for a solo adventure. I grabbed some pastries and macarons at Michelle Marie's and did a little bit of shopping in Montgomery Village (I never say no to Sur La Table...in fact I went twice on this trip! ;)) After my shopping excursion, I took a drive down Highway 12 to Downtown Sonoma where I walked around, grabbed some ice cream at the Chocolate Cow, and had lunch for 1 at El Molino Central.
Post solo adventure it was time to get ready for the wedding and dance the night away with the champagne flowing!
Our last day out in wine country we had breakfast at our favorite spot in Santa Rosa, Hanks Creekside and then drove over the mountains to the other side, known as Napa Valley. We drove in through Calistoga and stopped off at the Petrified Forest first.
A petrified forest is a collection of fossils. It's formed when plants are buried by sediment and protected from decay by oxygen and organisms. Then, groundwater rich in dissolved solids flows through the sediment replacing the original plants with silica, calcite, pyrite or another inorganic material like opal. The trail was about a mile long and had lots of bits about how the fossils were formed, how old they are (they are over 3 million years old), and the story of Mt. St. Helena blowing to cover this area creating the petrified forest. It is well worth the stop in to town to take a break from all the wine and get your blood flowing again. We didn't want to stay away from the wine for too long though so after our little walk through the forest it was onward in to Napa for some more wine!
So we really have a thing for drinking wine in castles...Castello di Amarosa was our first stop in Napa Valley and even though the admission to get in to the castle was a little steep, the wine was wonderful. It was fun to walk around and see all the areas of the castle + I really wanted to steal a chicken to bring home with me as they were just freely roaming around outside. This is one of the first wineries you'll come across at the start of St. Helena Hwy in Calistoga so we decided to back track just a bit and go to Busters Original Southern BBQ for lunch, which ended up being one of the best decisions of our life. Let me just lay out this scene for all of you, grills set up in the parking lot, the most heavenly smell of bbq meats, wine, and grilled bbq oysters. Need I say more?
After lunch we headed down St. Helena Hwy towards Napa and ended at Mumm Napa. This is the spot to be if you enjoy sparkling wines. Their rosés and bruts are incredible and we came home with a bottle of the Brut Reserve. We're planning on breaking it out for some mimosas for a home brunch we'd like to host for our friends that live in the area!
That was the end of our wine tasting portion of the trip as we headed back to San Francisco after that. Stay tuned for the travel story about our time in SF! Let us know what summer trips you've taken this season as we always love to hear your stories, too, since they inspire us for where to go next!
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The Cabrera Crew
Here you can find our quick guides, travel stories, best travel tips, and what we're up to at home in Sweet Home Chicago
Niagara Falls, ON
Napa Valley, CA
San Francisco, CA
Sonoma County, CA