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Sonoma Valley with a kid - vineyard and lunch spot suggestions needed

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I saw some posts on Sonoma Valley, but since I am looking for something more specific and didn't want to hijack someone else's thread...

Going up to SF during Xmas and wanted to spend 1 day at Sonoma Valley. I've been to Napa multiple times many years ago but never been to Sonoma. This time though we have an 8 year old in tow.

Given that, can you please recommend vineyard that will be interesting to visit/tour, plus a few that have good red wine for sampling? The only vineyard I had in mind right now is Chateau Souverain so any suggestions will be appreciated.

I am also looking for a good lunch spot. Casual - nothing fancy and kid friendly. Just don't want a chain fast food joint but doesn't have to be full service. Thinking traditional american will be fine.


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  1. Chateau Souverain has been purchased by Coppola and as of last month hadn't been renamed yet. We're still calling it the winery formerly known as Souverain. It's in the Alexander Valley appellation of Sonoma County and nearly an hour's drive from Sonoma Valley (aka Valley of the Moon and also located in Sonoma County).

    Fun for a kid might be the tram tour at Benziger winery in Glen Ellen in the Valley of the Moon.

    If you're asking for the larger Sonoma County area, here's a thread that might be helpful for other food-related but non-wine activities -

    1. Kaz winery in Kenwood is a small winery that's very kid friendly. I didn't notice it while I was there, but the wine columnists at the Wall Street Journal say that they have a kids table with coloring and play dough, etc. You could go there (http://www.kazwinery.com/) and to the Fig Cafe (http://www.thegirlandthefig.com/html-...)

      1. Sonoma County or are you set on Sonoma, the city?

        If county, I think Hartford might be somewhat kid friendly and has lots of good wines to try. Healdsburg is a nice little town to walk around and Rosenblum has an outlet there that pours good wine. As I posted in the other thread, when I'm in the area I eat lunch at Oakville Grocery.

        Sonoma the city I'd drive a couple of minutes and go to Landmark, which is beautiful and Chateau St. Jean next door which has a huge gift shop for the kid.

        1. If you are going to the city of Sonoma there are several places around the plaza for take out sandwiches or pizza. We have often picnicked in the plaza in December. It's usually quite nice. There are two playgrounds and a pond with ducks to feed. This may be less fancy than you want, but we've sometimes found it to be more relaxing with kids than going to a restaurant.

          1. If you can skip over to Petaluma (just 25 min from Sonoma) downtown Petaluma is full of great food and child friendly places. I haven't eaten at a bad place since I moved here in March.

            1. Sorry, that's geographic (and generally wine) ignorance on my part. We plan to drive up to as far as we can go or until the kid complains. So generally any recommendations in the County.

              Thanks Melanie for the Benziger recommendation - that's pretty different, and I think our son will get a kick out of that.

              Not sure if Chateau Sourverain is still tourable. On their website they seems to direct people to a tasting room at Heraldsburg. The sale may explain why my email inquiry last month went unanswered.

              sfmags - Kaz looked unusual so we will definitely try that.

              Thanks for the restaurants recommendations and the picnic recommendation. Guess we will play it by ear, keep the list of potential ones and figure out what we want to do/where we were at the time to decide on one then.

              I think the 'let's not bore the kid to death' part is taken care of. We may have time for one more stop for tasting (for the adults). Any particular tasting room/shop/winery that's exceptional in the area?


              1. You'll have to forgive me if my location is wrong, but we were recently at Frog's Leap Winery and I THINK it was in Sonoma. The tour was small as you have to call ahead for a reservation, it was free, and had free wine tasting. I'm thinking it'd be good for a kid because there's no long boring talks, the people are friendly, and they let you walk through their gardent and tell you to sample whatever you like. We had fun eating a few apples and some other nice things growing in their garden. The other couple in our tour looked at us in disgust as we actually took the suggestion of eating an apple from the tree, but we had fun :)

                1 Reply
                1. re: Rick

                  Frog's Leap is in Rutherford in the Napa Valley. I've been there with a kid and it was a fun experience for him.

                  Disclaimer: I'm acquainted with the owners.