Sonoma Through (All The) Food and Wine

I just got back from Sonoma for a friend’s wedding, and if you are what you eat, I am most certainly a grape right now.

I got busy/distracted and never adequately recapped my trip to Puerto Rico, so I’ll try to do some justice to Sonoma–partially for myself, partially for if you’re going there and want some recommendations.

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We took a 6am flight from NYC to SFO. We had breakfast before the flight, but once we landed it was time for second breakfast. Wandering around the square, we found Sunflower Caffe, a wine and espresso bar.

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I got the South of the Border omelet: it had chicken, jalapeno, tomatoes, onions, black beans, cheese and was topped with cilantro lime cream and avocado. Since that’s obviously a TON of food, I balanced it out a little bit by having the berries instead of potatoes. TOTO, I WAS NOT IN NEW YORK ANY MORE. These berries were so freaking juicy. I vaguely remember hearing at some point that the San Francisco area is known for its sourdough, so I went for that. (And did any other time it was an option on this trip!)

By the time we finished lunch, it was clearly time for some wine. I mean, we’d been on the ground for nearly four hours and hadn’t yet had any. I guess I didn’t take any pictures, but we stopped at the Hawkes tasting room, where I realized there are some Chardonnays that don’t suck. I’ve never really had a Chardonnay I really liked before, but I really liked their Gravel Bar Chardonnay.

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We met Emily and Justin (the happy couple) and their families and some more friends here, and sat outside and drank champagne flights.

Champagne flights. Friends. Sunshine. Warm Sonoma sunshine on our shoulders. There was literally nothing wrong with life that afternoon. My favorite wines here, which I bought, were the Blanc de Noirs (a blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay) and the Royal Cuvee (also a blend of Pinor Noir and Chardonnay, but with a bit more Chardonnay than the Blanc de Noirs.)

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The grounds are gorgeous, and the wine is tasty. If you go to Sonoma, go here.

Somehow I didn’t take any pictures at the rehearsal dinner? But it was gorgeous and the Depot ff’s garden outside, which was around a beautiful pool.

I woke up the next morning itching to run and explore some more on foot.

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I covered about three miles and ran from our hotel through the square to the bike path (just by the Depot Hotel) and then through some residential areas when the path ended and turned around at about 1.5 miles. After all the travel, food and wine, it felt more like a shuffle but it was still nice to get some fresh air and see a bit more of Sonoma. It was in the 40s and super foggy when I ran, but…as I guess it does in the SF area…it warmed up quickly as the day went on.

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For breakfast, we found a place on Yelp called Community Cafe. The girls were sold on grilled cheese breakfast sandwiches in the reviews; I was sold on the eggs because I knew that much cheese in the sandwich would make my jerk of a stomach angry. The eggs, sweet potato fries and sourdough toast were amazing, though. (I should have gotten bacon instead of turkey sausage though.)

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We wandered back to downtown Sonoma and found ourselves with a few hours to kill before the wedding…so we decided to do a tasting.


We’d heard Sigh was great (hi, bubbles?) so we headed down this cute little alley to find it…but it didn’t open till 12, so we ended up at Bryter, across the way. It’s a family winery started by a couple named Bryan and Terin, and they specialize in small-lot wines. Our favorite, a rose, had a run of 125 cases, and that was a lot for them! The woman working the tasting room was really cool too – she’d lived in Australia her entire life, but she and her husband frequented Sonoma, dreamed about moving there…and then finally did.

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She poured us a cabernet that was still a bit cool, so Emily warmed it up for us. (We all split tastings here since we knew we had a full day ahead of us.)

I’ll write about the wedding festivities in a different post, but suffice to say here, it was a beautiful wedding, and I need to find a better waterproof mascara.

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Our last stop before heading back to San Francisco for our flight was the Artesa Winery in Napa. As you can see, it was really ugly.

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I mean, the views were just terrible.

Most of Emily and Justin’s friends that were still around met back up here yesterday afternoon before their flights or leaving to spend a little time in other areas of the region. I accidentally made my flight, which I’m really disappointed in myself for.

It was fun spending time with the very happy and relaxed just-married couple the day after the wedding before we all left, and we sat outside in the sun with our tastings. This tasting room/area was a huge building (where I’m sure they also have lots of events) with a big deck outside. The views were the best from here, but these were my least favorite wines. (Probably because I didn’t get any bubbly.)

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We drove back to San Francisco, walked around downtown by the Embarcadero and Ferry Building a bit to kill some time before our late flight…

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…had some In-N-Out…

…did a little time-travel overnight flying…and now I’m back in NYC with memories of a friend’s beautiful wedding and a fun trip with friends.

A few recommendations I didn’t get to take: Cline Cellars, Jacuzzi Wines, The Girl and the Fig, Bottega

Favorite wines/wineries? If you could go anywhere on a wine-cation, where would you go? Maybe I’ve mentioned I’m dying to go to New Zealand?

Also, someone please pass me a vegetable.

28 comments on “Sonoma Through (All The) Food and Wine

  1. Cathryn

    So glad you had a good weekend…Artesa is my favourite,we take all our guests there! Running is also lovely there – so cool in the mornings!

  2. Heather

    I live out here in Berkeley and go to the valley often. Jacuzzi and Cline are not that good so you did not miss anything. You did miss amazing food at Bottega. Definitely go there when you are in Napa next time. and Ram’s Head winery. That one is unreal.

  3. Jen

    New Zealand!!!! And I’ve never done WA wineries and feel like a bad Washingtonian. I try to make up for it by always ordering Washington wines when they’re on the menu.

    Also, I want to go to there. I went to Napa two years ago and it was so beautiful, but we couldn’t do wine tasting because there were only two of us and we had no designated driver (and no budget for a chauffeur). Obviously this means we have to go back.

    1. Theodora

      @Jen: Do you have a fave WA winery? OH NO, YOU NEED TO GO BACK TO NAPA! I went a few years ago and we did some tastings early in the day and then ate and sobered up and then drove back to SF.

  4. Kristin

    I love it out there! My company bottles just North of Sonoma so we stay in Healdsburg on business trips, it’s not bad 🙂 I am dying to go to the Champagne and Burgundy regions of France. I don’t know if I would ever come back!

  5. Kristine

    Ahhh my hood! 🙂 Looks like an awesome weekend! My favorites are Cakebread, Rombauer, Silverado and Stag’s Leap. (Mostly Napa). The Russian River Valley/Dry Creek Valley are amazing for Zinfandels if you like those.

    Next time definitely go to Ad Hoc or Bouchon for lunch – they are AMAZING! (Thomas Keller restaurants and so, so good.) The half-marathons/marathons in wine country are amazing too – WINE TASTING at the finish line! 🙂

  6. Jane @ Not Plain So Jane

    I really enjoyed my time in Santa Ynez for wine tasting which is in the Santa Barbara area. Stunning. I’m headed up to San Fran & Yosemite soon, I’m hoping to check out some northern vineyards then with my sister!

  7. Beth @ 990 Square

    Well, color me jealous. Napa/Sonoma are on my dream list–I’ve actually made my husband PROMISE we will go for our 10 year anniversary (in three years…when did that happen?)

    I don’t understand why the winery said the blanc de noirs is a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay though–blanc de noirs are always all red grapes–it means white from black!

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Beth @ 990 Square: Interesting – I just looked that up and saw it on another site, too. I guess this one is a bit of a misnomer then…but it is 90% Pinot, so mostly red. Either way, it was really good 🙂

  8. Molly

    My husband and I went to Napa/Sonoma a couple of years ago and fell in love with it. I really want to go back and run the Napa to Sonoma Half-Marathon. Killer hills, but wine at the end!

    1. Theodora Post author

      @Molly: I’d love to run that one, too! I actually had signed up for it years and years ago when I signed up for a few races in hopes they’d motivate me to train for them and then didn’t.

  9. Naomi

    Glad you had a great time in the Bay! Although I live here I never seem to find enough opportunities to make it up to Wine Country. Glad you had a great time and hope you come back to visit again soon!

  10. Julie

    I like in SF and always go to Gloria Ferrer when I visit Sonoma, so awesome 🙂 Also, Cline and Jacuzzi are pretty but the wines aren’t great, so you didn’t miss much!

  11. Lisa C.

    Looks like a great trip! I’m new to your blog and I have to admit that I haven’t been able to stop reading over the last couple of days. I have a somewhat similar story. I’m turning 30 this year and studied journalism in the D.C. area. I lost a lot of weight after college and got into running more recently. You’re much faster than I am so you inspire me to get faster. Thanks for the great reading!

  12. Mari H.

    New Zealand has been on my “oh my God I want want want to go there”-list since primary school. Only made it as close as Sydney so far, might need to add California to that list too. So many pretty pictures up there, this list is getting long…

    Sort of related to this, I might just have found the perfect marathon for you. 😉 (or Runner’s World’s take on it: am very tempted!

  13. Shields

    Wow, I am drooling with such sumptuous foods and travel. You seems to have a great time in your travel, anyway thank you for sharing this, I will surely try those foods when I get the chance to go there.


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