This guide is an ongoing list of hobbyist recommendations for vacationers heading to Napa and Sonoma County. If your planning a trip to the area check back regularly for new suggestions and we will do our best to cover all your favorite hobbies.
Dominus Winery – not open for wine tastings but you can go and see the beautiful building designed by Herzon and De Meuron
Napa Farmers Market – one of our favorites is East and West Gourmet – our introduction to Bolani -if you haven’t had it I feel sorry for you. It is delicious. Visit this stand at the market and you won’t need dinner – the boys here will make sure you try all the sauces and you will leave full. We just discovered their products are available at Whole Foods…
Napa Chef’s Market- Every Thursday night from 5:00-9:00pm downtown Napa transforms into the market every foodie and wine lover wished their hometown had. Demos by local chefs happen twice nightly with free samples and wine tastings for the crowd. Grab a glass of wine or beer and wander the farmers market and local vendors. At the Napa Chef’s market there is band for every music taste, food carts abound and the crowd is refreshingly eclectic. Great Fun!
Napa Valley Wine Train – a great way to see the valley and enjoy a relaxing meal.
Seghesio Winery (Healdsburg) – a must visit with some fantastic wines. If you have time try and get a spot at their Wine & Food Pairing tasting. To this day this tasting is the highlight of any hobbyist visit to Sonoma County. In addition to getting a tour of the winery you get the chance to drink wine the way it is supposed to be – with food and time to savour it. It is a relaxed way to spend the afternoon great food, wine and good company. Current price is $45 and it is well worth it to try the wines, hear the vineyards story and meet some of the family members.
J-Vineyards (Healdsburg) – for those of us who are fans of bubbly this winery is a must visit.
Kokomo Vineyards (Healdsburg) – a winery you probably haven’t heard of but a fantastic treat. This wine was delicious enough that it was part of our small quota of bottles we were allowed to bring back.
Peterson Winery (Healdsburg) – located next door to Kokomo and Dry Creek Olive Oil in the Timber Creek Farm Complex, Peterson has some really interesting wines one of our favorites is their Home Farm Muscat Blanc foritified with their own muscat spirit.
Gloria Ferrer (Sonoma) – another stop for bubbly lovers.
Chandon (Sonoma)- can you tell we love bubbly?
If making the trip for wine tasting we recommend staying in Sonoma itself. It is central and has just the right amount of touristy feel. There are some great antique shops and shopping locations.
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa – this hotel is a favorite of the hobbyists. The rooms are fantastic, the mission style architecture offers a bit of a glimpse into the areas history and then there is the pool. One of the best kept secrets of this hotel is a night swim in the pool. While the pool technically closes at dusk if you are respectful of noise staff are known to turn a blind eye to a night swim under the stars and glowing water tower. If that isn’t enough the hotel’s deterrent for swimming in the pool at night is the rows of fountains they turn on which make floating under the stars even more magical. The hotel restaurant Sante just received its first Michelin star and the food is fantastic. The tasting menu with wine pairings is worth the splurge. A delicious meal with unique wine parings you may not have tried in the area and a staff who are happy to tell you more about them.
The hobbyists are notorious for having a soft spot for Fairmont hotels. Maybe its their Canadian history or the fact that Fairmont staff always tries to make sure your stay is perfect. President’s Club members will find fairly regular deals on this hotel which are very tempting for spur of the moment weekend getaways.
Healdsburg Modern Cottages – we love Healdsburg – it has a great food and wine scene. We haven’t stayed here before but we love the concept behind the cottages. It has a great modern design, pool area and outdoor space for each cottage. The interiors of the cottages are inspired by modernist designers and comes equipped with some of their famous and iconic furniture. A great find for the design lover!