Trip to Cali wine country

So after all the great advice I got for our AZ trip, I am looking to all of you again for advice on our vacation. We are planning to take a trip to the Sonoma/Nappa area in November. I have a few questions.

First is November a good time to go? I know that this is after the harvest, but have heard that the scenery is quite nice and not to mention it is cheaper. Do you guy recomend any restaurants, activities, places to stay? We have been looking at the Gauge House.

Second question is where is the best place to fly into? We have thought about flying into Sacraminto, San Fran, or Monterey and driving up. I kind of like the idea of a road trip from Monterey, but don’t know much about the drive and what there is to do on the way up. I thought about staying a couple nights there, or if there was a cool in between that would be great too.

Any advice you guys could give would great!



Most of the experience I have is with Sonoma. I like it better then Napa a little less touristy. Both are great you can’t go wrong with either one. I would fly into SF or Oakland the flights should be cheaper then anywhere except Sac but that is a long drive and not really a nice one. Sonoma or Napa is about a 3 hour drive from SF.

Some towns to check out are Sebastopol or Healdsburg. Both are very nice small towns with some shopping. I would check out Willys Seafood in Healdsburg. Also if you want a break from wine there is Race 5 Brewhouse also in Healdsburg. There is also a nice cider house I don’t rember what town it is in but it is called Ace.

In the way of wineries I would try Arista and Lynmar Estate. Both do different kinds of wine well. Lynmar I like the whites there they are great and they have a really nice outside patio. Arista makes good reds and some whites they are very small and only sell from the winery very high quality. I would also check out Hop Kiln very good mustard and other random sauces, locally made cheese and things like that. I would not really drink there wine I never cared much for it. I would also check out Gary Farrell winery good wines and a spectacular view. This is what I can think off the top of my head if I think of anything else I will post more.

OK, here is what I would do. I did this trip before I lived in SF.

  1. Fly into SFO. The drive from Monterrey is waaay too long, and the drive from Sacramento will be boring. Rend a good car (we got a 350 Z convertible) and cut through SF to take the Golden Gate Bridge. Worth it. Maybe stop in Sausalito on the way up for lunch, I recommend eating here:

  2. I recommend staying in Healdsburg. Hotel Healdsburg or H2. It is a little far up the Sonoma Valley, but the town is great, chill, some nice grommet eateries, and lots of tasting rooms in walking distance (which is good)… treat your wife to a spa treatment at Hotel Healdsburg (we have stayed here)

or, rent a house: (we have stayed here)

3) Eat: a few of our favorites: (top 40 foodie places in the world!)

between SF and Napa/Sonoma counties is Marin County, if you have some time:

That should get your planning started.

Nice timing…

I’m attending a wedding just outside of Healdsburg in August so will be incorporating the DiTullo plan…

Sweet airfare to Oakland right now from Vancouver - $200 return from Bellingham airport (about an hour drive just south of the border in Washington state)

The only heartburn I have with SFO is the fog; wedged between the open sea and SF Bay, you just never know when it will roll it, or at what time. Oakland maybe not so much.

San Jose International, while a bit further south, is mo’ betta in that respect.

Too late…Just booked flights. $270 round trip, couldn’t pass that up.

Thanks everyone for all the tips. We will be booking our hotel tonight. We will most likely stay in Sonoma. Its cheaper and everyone I have talked to has enjoyed it more than Napa.

Yo and Singletrack, thanks for the food and winery suggestions. They sound great!!

I will keep everyone posted. The one question that no one has answered is how is it out there in November?

how is it out there in November?

The crush usually ends at the end of October. But “Napa” is always beautiful, but November is especially so, and there will be fewer tourists. The autumn colors are incredible … only to be surpassed by southern Indiana, in my most humble opinion.

The fog situation eases up a bit in the fall as well … the inland air temps aren’t so hot, which results in less moist air being drawn in from the Pacific.