Greetings friends, happy Friday! Guess what gang? It’s tasting season out here in Wine Country and many of you are planning WC getaways and little day trips. I keep getting tweets and emails with the same question time and again.
“Hey Kate, we’re coming to San Francisco and want to spend one of our vacation days in Wine Country, where do you recommend we go/sip/eat?”
Just one day? Oh no! Truly, you need several days to experience Northern Cali’s Wine Country, preferably two days spent in the Napa Valley touring Calistoga, St. Helena and Yountville, and two days in the different regions of Sonoma County, specifically Healdsburg and Sonoma. A few days is really the way to vacation in the WC in order to truly absorb the flavors and the relaxed atmosphere around here. It’s infectious. You may find you never want to return home.
However, if you’ve only got one day and you’re coming from (or living in) the City by the Bay, it’s true, you can still get the flavor of Wine Country in a single day. Here is the very best route for all of you “I just have one day” visitors. This day trip is 45 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge and takes you on a tour of the Carneros region in Sonoma, known for its Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays, and sparking wines from grapes that grow in the volcanic soil and thrive amid the coastal breezes.
This tour will give you a taste and feel for the region and still allow your designated driver to get back to your hotel in San Francisco by nightfall. Let’s journey, shall we? Who’s up for a day trip to Wine Country? Yay, glad you all raised your hands.
First, travel north on Highway 101 to Highway 37 to Highway 121 – it’s best to map it out before you come on MapQuest, your smart phone, or a GPS device.
You’ll cross Marin County into Sonoma County and enter the Carneros Valley where you’ll see the grapevines rolling along the hills and start to get excited. Relax, there are acres of those to come! Your first stop is Viansa, an Italian inspired hilltop winery which specializes in both red and Italian varietals. This villa offers a fabulous view, beautiful gardens, and a great marketplace of gourmet foods.
Next, you’ll travel next door to Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. The nicest thing about Jacuzzi, other than its sustainable practices, is the fact that although relatively new, the estate buildings seem as if they’ve existed for centuries. There’s a courtyard, fountain, and vines crawling up the stone façade. Sample their wines and the flavorful olive oils at The Olive Press.