Cali Trip Recap Part II – Visiting Vineyards in Napa and Sonoma

Today I’m sharing Part II of our California/Birthday Trip with you! If you missed Part I be sure to check it out here first. auberg large corkscrew

After spending two very full days in San Francisco, we were off to wine country for the rest of the trip! Our first stop in Napa was Auberge du Soleil for an early lunch. This was place was better than I could have imagined – I loved everything about it from the moment we turned off the main highway and made our way up the winding mountain road to the resort. Auberge is a luxury resort with a Michelin star restaurant, and we were there for the food (and wine of course!). We both enjoyed the lovely pre fixe menu with a couple glasses of their house wine as we overlooked the gorgeous Napa countryside. This is pretty much what heaven looks like people. auberge du soleil brian and kellyauberge du soleil kellyauberge du soleil wine

After lunch, we headed to Schweiger Vineyards. Schweiger came highly recommended by Nicole’s blogger friend, and lived up to the hype! We enjoyed sitting on the terrace overlooking the expansive vineyards for our tasting and even got to meet the man himself Fred, as he was taking a break from watering the vines. We went home with a couple bottles from Schweiger to start off our collection! schweiger houseschweiger sav blancschweiger fred

Our final stop of the day was Pride Mountain, just up the windy mountain road from Schweiger. Fun fact about Pride, the winery is situated on the county line between Napa and Sonoma so they boast varietals from both regions. We toured through the wine caves and got to take in more breathtaking views while we sipped on our wine. We went home with another bottle from Pride and were a little nervous about how everything was going to fit in our carry-ons… pride mountain kelly and brian view 2 pride mountain brian back pride mountain kelly cave

After Pride, we headed into the town of Petaluma in Sonoma County where we stayed for the next two nights. When we arrived at the hotel, there was a wine tasting taking place in the lobby so we joined in before heading off to dinner. #wheninwinecountry We weren’t sure what to expect of the town of Petaluma, but it was super cute and had lots of great restaurants. We settled on a hearty Italian restaurant via Yelp to soak up some of the wine we’d been drinking vino all day. We called it a night fairly early so that we would be ready to go for our big wine tasting day in Sonoma the next day! wine sign

We woke up to a very overcast and misty day, which was less than ideal, but the temperature was still comfortable without a coat. Because we had the most time in Sonoma on this day, we decided to do a group tour. I did a ton of Yelp research and ended up with Terrific Tours based on the price and good reviews. It was nice not to have to worry about driving all over Sonoma (it’s much bigger than it looks on the map!) and deciding which wineries to go to since there are literally 100s! terrific tours bus

Our driver for the day picked us up first, then we gathered up the rest of our group (10 ppl total) and headed to our first winery of the day – Simi. Simi is one of the larger ones and it was nice to hear the history and see the large facility, but after our trip, I definitely prefer the smaller, more family-run vineyards. It also started pouring during our tour of the facility, which may have put a damper on things. simi wine tasting simi kelly and brian

Next, we stopped at Viszlay, which boasted a gorgeous vineyard, but the tasting room was very bare bones. The wine was definitely good and they are the only vineyard in Sonoma County to make Prosecco, so that was interesting! We also got to taste a little wine right out of the cask which isn’t on the market yet – it was exceptional. brian cask viszlay viszlay wine glassviszlay vineyard grey sky

We were dropped off in the cute town of Healdsburg for lunch on our own, and it was pouring again so we bolted to the Peruvian place our tour guide recommended and enjoyed paella and the famous Fisherman’s Stew to warm us up! paella healdsburg lunch seafood stew

The rain cleared and the sun started to make its way out in time for the last wineries of the day! Davis Family Vineyards and Christopher Creek.

At Davis Family, the tasting room was set up as a bar and it was quite crowded when our group arrived. Good thing I have lots of practice nudging my way up to a bar (thank you Athens!). We loved all the reds we tasted and had a hard time deciding which one we wanted to come home with us. Outside of the winery, there is this funky little garden with a statue of the wine goddess that everyone was pretty intrigued by. davis family sign davis family wine glass

davis family wine goddessOur last stop of the day was Christopher Creek, and it was my favorite winery in Sonoma. The tasting experience in the cellar room was very intimate and our taste-master didn’t take himself too seriously and was very free-flowing with the pours :). We tried 7 or 8 wines before deciding to purchase our only white wine of the trip. christopher creek kelly and brianchristopher creek wine glasschristopher creek kelly tastingchristopher creek kelly and brian tasting

Our driver dropped us off in downtown Petaluma and recommended a great spot for dinner: Central Market. We grabbed seats at the bar and enjoyed a tasty meal and managed to save room for dessert.central market dessert

We absolutely loved our time in Sonoma and Napa and I seriously can’t wait to go back! We could have stayed for a week for sure – there are so many wineries to visit and great little towns to stop at along the way. kelly wine tasting

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One thought on “Cali Trip Recap Part II – Visiting Vineyards in Napa and Sonoma

  1. Man oh man, I miss Napa sooo much. Your recap was right on par, and I am glad you included every stop so that I can add a few to my list for our next trip. So glad to hear that you enjoyed Pride because that’s definitely one that I want to visit when we return. I think I could spend my life visiting Napa once a year. Perhaps I will 🙂

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