The second most renowned North American wine region, Sonoma, has long suffered the fate of being compared to the more famous wine valley that runs parallel to it: Napa. But outside of sharing a border, these two regions couldn’t be more different.
Sonoma wine country is actually double the size of Napa Valley, extending far beyond the town of Sonoma to worthwhile destinations like Healdsburg and the Russian River Valley, the funky town of Sebastopol, and even the Pacific Ocean.
While Napa Valley has zeroed in on Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varieties, Sonoma is far more diverse.
Home to more than 60 grape varieties (though Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the stars) and upwards of 400 wineries spread throughout 19 AVAs, Sonoma is also known for its abundance of farms, creameries, breweries and distilleries.
Due to its vastness, there are two common mistakes visitors to Sonoma make. They either plan only a day or two, hardly scratching the surface, or they schedule winery appointments, meals and hotel stays without realising it can easily take an hour to get from one to the next. As a result, they’re constantly running late to reservations on what’s supposed to be a relaxing holiday. By focusing instead on a specific area, you can spend time experiencing rather than rushing, and really immerse yourself in the best of what Sonoma has to offer.
Sonoma town: The perfect place to begin
Understandably, most people who visit Sonoma wine country start with the town of Sonoma. An easy, one-hour drive from San Francisco, Sonoma is anchored by the charming and historic Sonoma Plaza. The birthplace of the California flag, this square played a pivotal role in the state’s declaration of independence from Mexican rule. The historic buildings and adobes are now occupied by shops, wine tasting rooms, hotels and restaurants. Miles of vineyards and winery estates surround the town, offering a plethora of tasting options.
Check into the MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa for the weekend. Located in the heart of Sonoma and within a mile of the Sonoma Plaza, this idyllic resort recently completed a massive transformation.
The Spa at MacArthur is accented with modern, luxury elements, new treatment rooms, locker rooms complete with steam showers, an outdoor Hydrotherapy Spa Garden and Lounge, and a brand-new outdoor pool space complete with private pool cabanas. The Spa at MacArthur’s treatment menu offers a range of unique, bespoke therapies including skincare, body renewal treatments, massage techniques and 100-minute Journeys that include holistic healing elements.
Relax at the pool or spa before dinner at Layla, MacArthur’s Mediterranean restaurant, and then enjoy a nightcap at The Bar, a Gatsby-era lounge serving signature cocktails and late-night nibbles.
Embark on an easy stroll to the Sonoma Plaza for a Lavender Mist mimosa and breakfast in the back garden of Sunflower Caffé, known for simple and healthy dishes made from hyper-local ingredients. Afterwards, take a walk around the square, pop into interesting-looking shops, and visit Sonoma State Historic Park, where, for a $3 admission fee, you can access six historical sites, including the Mission San Francisco Solano, the last of the 21 California missions built.
Book a lunchtime tasting at Three Sticks Wines, housed in the Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe, the longest-occupied residence from California’s Mexican Period. The food and wine pairing ($110) includes a flight of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (crafted by Bob Cabral, former winemaker for the renowned Williams Selyem) paired with five bites from Sonoma Plaza restaurant El Dorado Kitchen. Or, you can make it a three-course private lunch.
Schedule a second wine tasting in the intimate salon of Sojourn Cellars, which sources…
Source : https://www.decanter.com/wine-travel/sonoma-travel-guide-the-perfect-three-day-itinerary-463075/