Sonoma Wine Country: From Mom’s Camera

It’s Saturday morning in Petaluma.  Today all four of us are ready to spend the day in the wine country.  On Friday we got an early start when we visited Roche Wine’s tasting room in downtown Sonoma.  Terry was ready to begin to kick-start our adventure as he hovered over the wine barrels.

Our wine tour Saturday morning began at the Iron Horse Winery.  It is in a beautiful setting in the hills of Sonoma with vineyards all around it.  The Iron Horse focused on sparkling wines and chardonnay.  The overall mood of the tasting room was lots of fun and the great attitude of the servers added to the experience.

We were lucky that Jake was able to break free from work for some well deserved fun as he joined us for our wine tasting adventure.  He took it seriously as he discussed with Meg which wines they each preferred.

By the time we arrived in Healdsburg we needed a break from wine tasting. We decided to stop at Wurst Sausage Grill. While I think of California as a mecca of fish, vegetables and fresh fruit, our lunch was definitely all about grease and french fries.  But the food was full of flavor and very satisfying.

Healdsburg is another town with a small town feeling.  In addition to the wine tasting room, the square is filled with restaurants, jewelry stores and gift shops.  Wine is a constant theme.  The reflection of the brick building across the street in this photograph of Papitre’s shop window suggested the tricks the mind can play as a result of “over-tasting”.

We travelled on to Hawke Winery’s tasting room with its wonderful view of the Alexander Valley.  The view was worth the visit.  The vineyard out the window was owned by Kendall Jackson.

We continued on to the Alexander Valley Winery.  It is also a beautiful location in the valley.  The wines are among Terry’s favorites, since he is a regular at Costco.  The wine cellars are quite elegant.  Meg and I both included them in our photos. To me it looks like the entrance to a medieval castle.

Our trip through wine country was a memorable experience.  We’ve had a great time and met some delightful people.  We head for home happy and satisfied.


Sonoma Wine Country: From Meg’s Camera

Meg has a J.D. in Urban, Land Use and Environmental Law. She focuses on maintaining the balance of community and environmental health, healthy lifestyles, and encouraging sustainable living.

While Mom and Terry were in town for Easter weekend, we spent a lot of time exploring the wonders of the North Bay. On Friday, we ventured around Western Marin and explored the coast. On Saturday, we visited the wine country.

As with the day before, Mum and I both took lots of photos. I used my Olympus E-PL1, and Mum used her iPhone 4S. Admittedly, I am not as good with the camera as I used to be. And learning all the bells and whistles on the DSLR is going to take me some time, but it is still exciting to visit beautiful places and captures moments and scenes along the way.

Our first wine country visit was actually on Friday evening before dinner. We went to Roche, a winery with delicious wines and a very conveniently located tasting room off the square in downtown Sonoma. Jake and I recently became members of the Carneros Club at Roche, so we wanted to show Mum and Terry where we love to go to do a wine tasting on the weekends.

To start off our day on Saturday, we drove up to Iron Horse Ranch and Vineyard. The views from this winery are quite amazing. It is set up in the hills northwest of Sebastopol. The perfect place to start our day in the wine country.

After tasting some delicious bubbly and taking in the beautiful views, we continued our trek north to Healdsburg, where we stopped for lunch at Wurst Sausage Grill and Beer Garden. Northern California has amazing food, and our Wurst sausages were no exception. With full bellies, we walked around Healdsburg. Terry occasionally pulled us aside to look at wine country real estate postings, and Mum pointed out the beautiful gallery windows. Before we headed back to the Jeep, we stopped in a little deli to get gelato.

After lunch and a stroll, we continued along the way to Hawkes, a place in Alexander Valley known for its Cabs. Our experience was somewhat unexpected. Hawkes has a great view of Kendall Jackson grapes growing across the street. There seemed to be just a hint of “sibling rivalry.” The wines were great, however, so we certainly couldn’t complain.

Lastly, we stopped at Alexander Valley Vineyards, a charming location perched up off the road with beautiful hills and tucked away in the trees. There is even a door leading to what I presume to be a wine cellar, but surrounded by greenery and flowers, it almost reminds me of Bilbo Baggins’s hobbit house nestled in the hill. The wine was also delicious.

I do love exploring the wine country, and I was excited to try new places this time. There is so much to see around here, we explore a new place every weekend and still not see it all in our lifetime. Of course, that won’t keep us from trying.