Sonoma in October

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sixtyforty
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Sonoma in October

Post by sixtyforty » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm

DW and I are heading to the wine country this October. Staying in Petaluma, with some plans to visit the coast, wineries and maybe an olive oil ranch. For those of you that have been there, were there any wineries you really liked, or things you did that you would recommend ?
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci

jbuzolich
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jbuzolich » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:18 pm

Ocean in California in the North is cold most of the year. Plan on pants and a sweater or jacket if going to the ocean beaches near Sonoma. They are all nice, but I'm biased growing up in Napa. I live about 90 minutes from there now. No recommendations on wineries or olives but it's nice sunny weather right now. Back in the 90s this week.

NoGambleNoFuture
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by NoGambleNoFuture » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:31 pm

First stop in Sonomo could be Jacuzzi Winery which includes the Olive Press -- two birds, one stone. The winery has free tastings which few out there do, so that's a boglehead-ish approach :)

http://www.jacuzziwines.com/
http://theolivepress.com/

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:45 pm

October can be pretty busy in Sonoma although the harvests may be getting earlier -- they are in Europe so I suspect that they are in CA as well. To avoid crowds, we stopped going to wineries that did not do "tasting by appointment only." In addition to avoiding busy tasting rooms you typically get better wines to drink and often meet with the winemaker or someone else who is very knowledgeable.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Globalviewer58
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Globalviewer58 » Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:56 pm

Your timing coincides with peak wine tasting tourism. I strongly recommend hiring a driver. I drove on my first trip and have hired a driver since then. This company will create a wine tour itinerary based on your preferences: http://www.destinationdriversnapasonoma.com/

Cakebread has a winery and tasting room in Rutherford, is one of the nicest AND you need a reservation for tasting. There are many others.

btenny
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by btenny » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:36 pm

I am a big fan of Sebastiani Wines and the back room with the old carved wooden barrels. Plus their wine is really good. Try the cabernet and chardonnay and the winery only Dolcino red blend. They are right in town in Sonoma.

https://www.sebastiani.com/
https://www.sebastiani.com/Events/Weddi ... ate-Events

I also second visiting Jacuzzi winery. They have good wines and good olive oil. The main tasting area has shops for both. Many of their wines are old school European in style and type. So the varieties are very different than US types. They have Primitivo and Vigne and Sangiovese and several other good reds.

http://www.jacuzziwines.com/index.cfm?m ... startrow=1

I also suggest a visit to the Point Reyes Light House and a drive through the surrounding area to get there. It is really pretty and it marks the closet distance between the US and Hawaii. It also can be good workout if you go down the steps to the old lighthouse. And if you are lucky there will be whales around. They spout and hang out off shore in that region.

https://www.google.com/maps/place/The+P ... 23.0204821

Enjoy. Good Luck.

LarryAllen
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by LarryAllen » Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:41 pm

Always check what band is playing at the little theater in Petaluma next to McNears bar. Great bar and great old theater that occasionally gets some cool bands. I would go to the Laguanitas brewery in Petaluma as it's a very cool spot on a nice afternoon.

jayjayc
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jayjayc » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:20 pm

If you want a break from wine tasting, consider visiting the Charles Schulz Museum. He's the creator of the Peanuts comic strip. It's a really happy place to visit.

https://schulzmuseum.org

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Tue Sep 26, 2017 5:29 pm

I second Pt Reyes.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Silverado
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Silverado » Tue Sep 26, 2017 6:15 pm

Near Santa Rosa are a couple wineries we like. We have found them to be fairly quiet compared to Healdsburg area.

Benovia. Awesome Pinot. Appointment needed. Neat story, woman owner.
Sunce. Drop in, taste a ton of different wines a little sip at a time. We stumbled upon this one after ditching Hook and Ladder due to crowds.

Cowgirl Creamery in Petaluma. Give me a chunk of Mt. Tam and I am happy.

Have fun, don't plan too much or you will get hurried.

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Flobes
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Flobes » Tue Sep 26, 2017 7:56 pm

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm
DW and I are... Staying in Petaluma... For those of you that have been there, were there any... things you did that you would recommend ?
Visit The Seed Bank in Petaluma, if you have any interest in gardening or want a gift for the aficionados in your life. Housed in a grand historic downtown bank building, it sells thousands of seed varieties, many books, tools and garden miscellany. All offered by friendly staff, eager to share wisdom, expertise and lore. It's filled with happy people, and the guestbook rivals any you'll sign anywhere for visitors from all over the country and world.

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WoodSpinner
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by WoodSpinner » Tue Sep 26, 2017 8:08 pm

Here are a few suggestions...

Sonoma Food tour - https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_ ... ornia.html

Lunch or Dinner at the Cullinary Institute of America - http://www.ciachef.edu/california


Castello d'Amorosa - http://www.castellodiamorosa.com/

WhyNotUs
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by WhyNotUs » Tue Sep 26, 2017 10:53 pm

If you happen to be heading around the 22nd, make sure to check out Healdsburg for Pinot on the River. Unforgettable.
http://pinotfestival.com/
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Hypersion
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Hypersion » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:45 am

Armstrong woods is awesome!
Also check out the napa sonoma marsh if you like bird watching but careful of hunters.

The Girl and the Fig is the best food in Sonoma County.
Last edited by Hypersion on Wed Sep 27, 2017 1:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sfnerd
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by sfnerd » Wed Sep 27, 2017 3:59 am


sixtyforty
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by sixtyforty » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:07 am

Good ideas. Thx everyone !
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JupiterJones
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by JupiterJones » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:45 am

I'll second the Charles Schulz museum.

Ferarri Carano is worth a visit. Beautiful property.

The "cave tour" at Schramsberg is over in Napa, is not cheap, and requires a reservation well in advance. Still, I highly recommend it.

Gunlach Bundschu is close to Petaluma and makes great wines. They have picnic tables if you want to make it a cheap lunch outing.

If you're not already a spitter, learn to become one and you won't need a driver.

Be sure to take a small notebook to jot down your tasting notes as you go. Apart from just being a good practice in general, this (along with the previous tip) tends to mark you as someone who's at least semi-serious about wine, rather than just another tourist looking to get drunk. In my experience, this can lead to better treatment by the pourer, and they might even bring out that special "not for the hoi polloi" bottle from under the counter for you to try.
Stay on target...

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:57 am

JupiterJones wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 8:45 am
If you're not already a spitter, learn to become one and you won't need a driver.
Second this. In addition to solving the driving problem, it also helps the tasting process. Sip, spit, pour out the rest. If you want to drink wine, even samples, there are plenty of wine bars that serve flights of tasting portions along with food.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

clutchied
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by clutchied » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:10 am

My favorite thing to do was to ride our motorcycles out to the coast and visit some wineries and cider places along the way. We usually stopped at Navarro.

There's so much to do out there if you're in to that stuff.

Zubs
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Zubs » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:14 am


Shemi
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Shemi » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:21 am

Limerick Lane winery in Healdsburg. Great in Oct.

btenny
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by btenny » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:53 am

I second the cheese tasting. There are 2-3 cheese factories and the associated dairies on the road to point reyes. I think cow girl is one. They have a nice small deli and outdoor picnic area. It is wonderful. Beware over near the coast it is very cool and foggy and damp. So dress warm.

Good luck

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El Greco
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by El Greco » Wed Sep 27, 2017 11:01 am

Seghesio winery in Healdsburg. Taste the wines and you'll probably end up joining the club. I did, and receive 12 wines a year from them. Famous for top notch Red Zinfandel plus many beautifully executed Italian varietals you won't find at most US Wineries. i.e.: Sangiovese, Barbera, etc.

I would also go to the actual town of Sonoma, It's a really lovely old town with a big central square. I much prefer it to Healdsburg. If you want to slum it a little for lunch, check out iL Molino Central, a small taqueria just outside Sonoma town at the beginning of the Sonoma Wine trail (route 12?). Look it up on Yelp. The best fish tacos I ever had, Niman Ranch Pork enchiladas, etc. It's great fortification before you go wine tasting at some nice wineries further up the trail including Kunde, Chateau St Jean and St Francis.

Enjoy your trip. Sonoma County is lovely and considerably less snooty and overpriced than Napa. Plus the wines are terrific.

I also second a visit to Armstrong Woods to see the big trees. Muir woods used to be the place to go, but it is incredibly overcrowded now.
After your visit to Armstrong Woods, get a bite to eat at the Korbel Winery and a glass of one of their sparkling wines. They have a lovely outside deck, great sandwiches and salads, and single pours of champagne.

RosieQ
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by RosieQ » Wed Sep 27, 2017 6:36 pm

In the actual town of Sonoma Sojourn Wines (amazing Pinot Noir) is a must visit. Have to call ahead for a reservation though. Their wines also taste better with food! Walt Wines just off the square is also a great stop. 3 sticks winery is also great and those 3 source from the Gap's Crown Vineyard which is one of my favorites for Pinot and would be a great tasting to compare and without much driving. Combine with lunch at the Sunflower Cafe off the central square.

Gundlach Bundshu as mentioned above is fun. Nice for picnicking, they often have visiting bands. Wines are a tier below some of the other best pics. Jacuzzi Winery is another "experience" place for fun and a picnic rather than top tier wine.

A bit up north I love Hall Wines in St Helena. Expensive, great Cab Sav and a cool art collection. Cakebread (also mentioned above) is nearby in Rutherford and is another of my favorites.

Definitely take a favorite bottle of your wine from the tour and do some cheese tasting and hiking in Point Reyes with another day. You might also stop by Petaluma Port Works for Port tasting which is a really different and fun thing most people miss. If you are into bike rides one of my absolute favorites for almost no car road biking is a short stop away along rolling CA hills, cows etc. https://ridewithgps.com/routes/2991785

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Strayshot
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Strayshot » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:32 pm

Gundlach Bundschu (gund lock bun shoe) has a lot of nice Zinfandels. Actually have a few over on the wine rack I should think about drinking soon.
Arrowwood is my favorite, stop by and have a cab or a Chardonnay depending on your taste.

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CaliJim
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by CaliJim » Wed Sep 27, 2017 10:55 pm

You might like an overnight at Pt Reyes out on the coast.

There is a herd of Tule Elk out on the point past Pierce Point Ranch.

The short trail at the end of Mount Vision Road leads to some great vistas up near the FAA ground navigation aid antennas.

The Pt Reyes light house is pretty cool.

And the area is known for killer cheese, especially the blue. https://www.pointreyescheese.com/visit

Finally, Pt Reyes Station is a great little town with lots of good eats.
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nickjoy
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by nickjoy » Thu Sep 28, 2017 8:19 am

Try an area called Lodi (Load-Eye) right next to Sonoma. It's a little less fancy, but all the tastings are free or pretty cheap. I went to some places last year in Sonoma that wanted $30-60 per person for tastings.

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Thu Sep 28, 2017 10:09 am

Lodi is over near Stockton. That is a bit of a hike from Petaluma.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

Teague
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Teague » Thu Sep 28, 2017 11:55 am

I guess you have connections at the NY Times, because today they wrote an article for you:

https://nyti.ms/2fzB5oQ
Semper Augustus

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El Greco
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by El Greco » Thu Sep 28, 2017 1:09 pm

I guess you have connections at the NY Times, because today they wrote an article for you:

https://nyti.ms/2fzB5oQ
I skimmed the article. Good suggestions. I second the recommendation to visit Iron Horse Vineyards. Unlike any other tasting experience you'll likely to find. Plus, their sparkling wines rival many fine French Champagnes at a much more reasonable cost.

galectin
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by galectin » Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:50 pm

The DW and I will be there in Oct. also. We have visited the Imagery winery in the past and will probably go again. They have tastings and also have a nice patio in the back where you can buy a bottle and drink it. They have snacks to buy or bring your own. The patio is dog friendly, if that matters.

There was another we visited where the tasting room is in the cellar among the barrels. Very nice on a hot day. I forget the name, unfortunately. It was a lot of fun, especially because we came as a difficult party was finishing and the hostess was so relieved at our easy-going nature (she said so) that she was quite generous with the pourings. My wife and my son's fiance had to be guided to the car at the end of that visit.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Hyperborea » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:44 pm

For those in this thread who said they were going to be visiting Napa and/or Sonoma in October note that there are some massive wildfires happening right now. You should check out how this will impact your trip plans. I can smell the smoke and I'm a long way away in the South Bay Area.

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/2-bi ... 262945.php

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/10/09/m ... tion-area/

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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by KyleAAA » Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:58 pm

For Sonoma, Buena Vista was interesting in an old-school way. It didn't really seem like the others wineries in Sonoma, which tend to be more laid back. We really liked Imagery and Arrowood in Glen Ellen. Viansa had a great view and some good wine but I think we mainly liked it because it was the first winery we stopped at after a long week in the city. Didn't make it up to Russian River Valley but was told that's where many of the best wineries in Sonoma are.

ccieemeritus
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by ccieemeritus » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:34 pm

+1 for reevaluating after the fires. 1500 buildings including a Hilton have been destroyed so far. Fires are out of control.

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Mon Oct 09, 2017 4:55 pm

October in wine country is not the best time to go. Wineries are often busy with harvest & crush and/or crowded. Then there are the fires. We preferred to go in late spring after the rainy season was well past. Much easier to get access to the winemaker at many places.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Artsdoctor » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:03 pm

Unfortunately, they're struggling with fires right now. There has been a lot of destruction in the Glen Ellen region. This would not be a good time to go, as you'd imagine.

Touring wine country in the winter is a great option.

jebmke
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by jebmke » Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:22 pm

Artsdoctor wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:03 pm
Unfortunately, they're struggling with fires right now. There has been a lot of destruction in the Glen Ellen region. This would not be a good time to go, as you'd imagine.

Touring wine country in the winter is a great option.
Had an email from my BIL. His sister and husband live in Sonoma County and are just about ready to bug out (bags packed, bugout boxes packed). It is going to be a mess out there this fall. Winter can be chancy depending on the rains. Russian River floods pretty easily as I recall.
When you discover that you are riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount.

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Artsdoctor
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Artsdoctor » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:16 pm

jebmke wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:22 pm
Artsdoctor wrote:
Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:03 pm
Unfortunately, they're struggling with fires right now. There has been a lot of destruction in the Glen Ellen region. This would not be a good time to go, as you'd imagine.

Touring wine country in the winter is a great option.
Had an email from my BIL. His sister and husband live in Sonoma County and are just about ready to bug out (bags packed, bugout boxes packed). It is going to be a mess out there this fall. Winter can be chancy depending on the rains. Russian River floods pretty easily as I recall.
Yes, this is a very rapidly evolving series of fires and it's devastating. We've had several friends evacuate and they don't even know if they have their houses left.

Certainly until these fires are controlled and we know what's left, I wouldn't be planning any trips for vacation purposes unless you're prepared to find a very different landscape.

With winter comes rain and that can be unpredictable. But the tourists are gone, you have plenty of time to talk to the winemakers, everyone's in a far better mood, and it's a more laid back experience. Every season has its advantages and disadvantages but fall is the most frantic (even without the fires).

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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by travellight » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:31 pm

Hypersion wrote:
Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:45 am
Armstrong woods is awesome!
Also check out the napa sonoma marsh if you like bird watching but careful of hunters.

The Girl and the Fig is the best food in Sonoma County.
+1, get the french toast at brunch, sublime!

There was a great ramen place called Gaijin near Petaluma.

Bistro Jeanty near Napa is wonderful, love the ratatouille.

N10sive
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by N10sive » Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:33 pm

My whole neighborhood where I grew up is only concrete now. Dozens of houses that were probably worth 800k each are gone. Id visit another time as I believe many months will be spent recuperating from this disaster.

CULater
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by CULater » Tue Oct 10, 2017 10:09 pm

Maybe you should wait to go to Sonoma until the fires are out and see if there's anything left.
May you have the hindsight to know where you've been, The foresight to know where you're going, And the insight to know when you've gone too far. ~ Irish Blessing

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CyclingDuo
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by CyclingDuo » Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:07 am

sixtyforty wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm
DW and I are heading to the wine country this October. Staying in Petaluma, with some plans to visit the coast, wineries and maybe an olive oil ranch. For those of you that have been there, were there any wineries you really liked, or things you did that you would recommend ?
Check with your booked lodging ASAP to see if they are still in operation, and what their recommendation is on even visiting during this crisis. Pretty devastating around Santa Rosa with massive losses.

http://google.org/crisismap/google.com/2017-tubbs-fire

Carefreeap
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Carefreeap » Wed Oct 11, 2017 10:26 am

CyclingDuo wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 12:07 am
sixtyforty wrote:
Tue Sep 26, 2017 3:07 pm
DW and I are heading to the wine country this October. Staying in Petaluma, with some plans to visit the coast, wineries and maybe an olive oil ranch. For those of you that have been there, were there any wineries you really liked, or things you did that you would recommend ?
Check with your booked lodging ASAP to see if they are still in operation, and what their recommendation is on even visiting during this crisis. Pretty devastating around Santa Rosa with massive losses.

http://google.org/crisismap/google.com/2017-tubbs-fire
I'm guessing a lot of places are needed for all the evacuees. Air quality is horrible as well.
Winds are going to awful today. I wouldn't want to be anywhere near there as the winds can shift dramatically.

Still no containment. Horrible situation for everyone.

btenny
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by btenny » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:46 pm

ALL and I mean 100% of Napa and Sonoma and all the wineries and most of the hotels etc. are closed due to the fire. Everyone is scrambling to house the evacuees and their pets. Tourist should not go there. It is not clear when these places will open again. For now we should be praying for their safety and canceling any travel in that area.

Pessimist55
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Pessimist55 » Thu Oct 12, 2017 12:06 am

Smoke from Napa can be felt in San Jose 60+ miles south

WVbaron
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by WVbaron » Thu Oct 12, 2017 3:44 am

It is sad to see what is going on in Sonoma / Napa at the moment and heart-breaking to see the damage these wild fires have caused to the area. So, it feels a bit odd to offer recommendations on wineries but I used to live in the area a few years back and it will be good to see Sonoma bounce back after this tragedy.

Some interesting wineries include:

Ceja winery: This is the only Mexican owned winery in the area. They have frequent events where they teach salsa dancing, pair the wine with Mexican food, etc. The family run winery is incredible hospitable and one of my favorites in the entire area.

Artesa: This winery is situated on the top of a hillside with beautiful views of Sonoma. It is a modern designed winery with some incredible Cab Sav's. A nice place to visit on your tour.

Roche: If you like white wine, they do some really interesting French and American Oak barrelled chardonnays. Worth a stop if you are close by this part of Sonoma.

V Sattui: This is a more boutique, upscale winery and definitely one of the most beautiful in the area. This is a perfect place to stop for lunch as they have a nice, outdoor picnic area. Their wine is not sold in stores and can be a bit pricey -- but definitely worth it. In particular, they have a Madeira dessert wine that is almost worth the entire trip to Sonoma. It is $61 a bottle but you can also taste it there. I know we are bogleheads but this is one bottle that is worth the 'splurge'. Buy as an early Xmas present to yourself.

Hope these recommendations help!

Carefreeap
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Carefreeap » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:17 pm

btenny wrote:
Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:46 pm
ALL and I mean 100% of Napa and Sonoma and all the wineries and most of the hotels etc. are closed due to the fire. Everyone is scrambling to house the evacuees and their pets. Tourist should not go there. It is not clear when these places will open again. For now we should be praying for their safety and canceling any travel in that area.
+1

As well as staying off the roads so that people can evacuate and give easier access to emergency responders.

Hate to say it but I'd avoid coming to the Bay Area at all for the next week or so. Air quality throughout the region is in the dangerous category as the winds are sweeping the ash southward.

I left my car out last night and it is covered in ash. I live 50miles south and west of the fires.

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Hyperborea
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by Hyperborea » Thu Oct 12, 2017 1:31 pm

If those with plans to come to Napa/Sonoma this month can't change the flights they might want to consider going down the coast to the Paso Robles and Santa Ynez area instead. Some lovely wineries down there and a lot of good pinot.

sixtyforty
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by sixtyforty » Fri Oct 13, 2017 10:30 am

I cancelled our trip several days ago. We were scheduled to leave in two days. The hotel refunded 100% saying they could use the room for evacuees. We went with Southwest so we'll use the tickets elsewhere I suppose. The last thing NoCA needs right now is tourists getting in the way. The whole thing is just terrible. I hope those winds die down and they get those fires contained soon.
"Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication" - Leonardo Da Vinci

btenny
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Re: Sonoma in October

Post by btenny » Fri Oct 13, 2017 11:27 am

Sixty I am going to give away a local secret. There are great wines in El Dorado county around Plymouth. This is way over east of Sacremento. They do great old vine zinfidels and other reds. Places like Sobon, Terra d'oro, Shenendoah, and others. Then drive up to Apple Hill and pick apples off the tree (it is harvest time) and go for a meal in Placerville. Then go up hwy 49 to the gold strike and pan for gold and enjoy the fall colors. It is a total color pallet right now.

Then drive southwest towards Pismo Beach and San Louis Obispo and that area. There are several spas and wineries in that area. Wine shops like Cambria, J Lohr, Firestone, Foley, Lincort, etc.. Plus the beach is great there.

This vacation will a really be better than Sonoma with almost no one there during the weekdays.

Good luck.

PS. The air over here is mostly clear with just a slight haze from the fires.

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