westside road or dry creek road wineries
Planning to take two of my friends visiting from Durham, NC to a few Sonoma wineries on Sunday July 29. I have looked at the multitude of posts on CH recommending Sonoma wineries, and I decided to simplify our trip by sticking to one of the above two routes. I am still a bit overwhelmed with narrowing down the choices. Hoping to stop at 3 to 5 wineries. My friends are by no means wine experts, so I am looking more for friendly spots with nice scenery, etc. over award-winning wines (but tasty wine too would be a bonus). Not looking for a particular varietal. We plan to bring food and picnic at one place -- so at least one winery which allows guests to picnic is a must. Any suggestions on which of the above routes to take -- and which wineries you would choose. Thanks for your help.
Gopfrich is an excellent, small winery (only reds) on West Dry Creek Road. Picnic tables are available. Nice people. Call in advance for tasting.
The 2 roads are on opposite sides of what is a fairly narrow valley...the Dry Creek valley. You should consider the entire Dry Creek valley as a single location....no need to focus on one side or the other. You'll see what I mean when you get there.
Ferrari-Carano has the most picturesque winery and gardens. IMHO, there are no bad wineries in the Dry Creek valley. Quivera is a nice spot too. Another fun thing to do is drive up to the end of the valley (very close) and rent a power boat at the Lake Sonoma Marina. Bring some vino and food and take a nice cruise around the lake. The western branch of the lake is my favorite.
After 3-5 wineries you're gonna be seeing double. ;). Think about bringing along a designated driver.
Oops..I confused Westside Road with West Dry Creek Valley road. Only lived near there for 9 yrs so must be getting prematurely senile.
I'd vote for Dry Creek Valley, but you can still easily do both in a day.
Westside Road is slow and winding and just beautiful with many ecosystems and vistas. The grapes are grown right there with smaller boutique wineries. The Russian River Valley has many picnic spots, but you would need to pick up food either in Santa Rosa, Sebastopol or Healdsburg.
For picnic fare-
124 Matheson Street, Healdsburg
Dry Creek General Store
3495 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg
Homemade food, wine selection, gourmet food. Picnics to go.
In Santa Rosa- Traverso deli is pretty good have not been for a while.
I am not sure where in Sebastopol has good picnic items, I know a couple of good restaurants there is a Whole Foods market in Sebastopol.
Depending on which way you start-up in Green Valley near Sebastopol and
close to Westside Road is Iron Horse is one of my favorites with it's outside tasting area and what a view- good sparkling wines. This is a nice place to start or end.
Armida Winery-nice view!
Rochioli Vineyards and Winery
Hopklim- picnic area
Belvedere - pinic area and aroma gardens
Hartford Family Winery
Lambert Bridge Winery - picnic area
Mill Creek Vineyards - picnic and hiking area
Quivira Vineyards - picnic area
9280 Hwy 128, Healdsburg - Picnic area with panoramic views of Alexander Valley
I'll second Oakville grovery for picnic-makings. They've got great sandwiches, but I usually opt for baguettes, cheese (great selection), olives, and chocolate :)
My favorite wineries around there are Preston (also an organic farm, with a lovely garden- totally unpretentious) and Bella (also unpretentious, they have a great late harvest zin, and their tastings are in a big awesome cave).
I'm also a fan of Dutcher Crossing- they've got a great chardonnay in addition to good big reds. They've also got a really nice little picnic area around back.
Some others that I like:
roshambo (pretty mediocre wines, but really fun)
A few that I've gong to once but wouldnt return to (despite tasty wine, I don't like places that are too stuffy- I prefer little family places):
Roshambo is no longer there. They closed the Westside road location and sold it to another winery. I haven't been up there in several months so I'm not sure if it's reopened under the new owner.
According to Roshambo, their new tasting room will be in Carneros but it's not yet opened. They've been operating out of a bus, kind of a rolling tasting room.