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Mar 31, 2011 01:05 PM

Sonoma, Napa, and Healdsburg Tentative Itinerary

My husband and I will be visiting Sonoma, Napa and Healdsburg in April for my 40th birthday. After doing a ton of reading on this board, we've finalized our dinner plans for the three days, as well as most of the wineries we plan to visit and other meals.

We'll be staying at the The Lodge at Sonoma, arriving late Thursday evening and departing early Monday morning. I tried to keep to someone's advice on the board to schedule no more than 4 wineries in a day and no more than two appointments. Day One I feel hits the mark and I feel the best about but maybe the other days are getting a bit out of control. Also, after researching I found out that the wine event, April in Carneros will be going on that weekend and I am thinking about getting tickets. It sounds like fun but not sure if and looking for any input. So, Day 3 is a little loose thinking that we will just hit the wineries with events going on that day, making sure to hit the ones on the list. I haven’t make an appointment with Keller yet. Also, would like to hear any comments about the decision to dine at Bottega. I know that restaurant gets mixed reviews on this board but I wanted to give it a try. The 9:30 reservation is all I could get and we would have to drive all the way back to Yountville. I also need to figure out a late lunch spot for Day 2 in Healdsburg.

In terms of wines, we're fans of Cabernets, Zins and unoaked Chardonnays. Also, looking to hit one or two of the big wineries so I’ve included Mondavi and Kendall-Jackson on the list. We are also foodies and love a great meal and since it is my birthday I want our choices to be solid ones.

Please feel free to comment, fill in any gaps and suggest anything I may have missed. It’s been over 15 years since I’ve been to the wine country and I am looking forward to it. The last time I was here was with my girlfriend who lived in San Jose and our main objective was to collect as many complimentary wine glasses as possible. Good times but ready for another trip with a new appreciation for wine and food. Thank you in advance for your help and suggestions. So many wineries and restaurants, so little time!

Here is our tentative itinerary:
Arrival: 9:00pm--Hit an In-n-Out Burger :) and head to Sonoma

Day One
Napa Area

Breakfast: Bouchon Bakery
Bouchon Bakery Yountville

Oakville Market

10:00-11:15 Reservation Schramsberg $90 Cave Tour/Tasting

August Briggs
Lunch: 12:45pm Reservation Solbar


Silver Oak

4:30-6:00pm Reservation Elizabeth Spencer Cottage Tasting of EXS

Dinner: 9:30pm Reservation at Bottega

Day Two
Sonoma/Kenwood Area

Breakfast: 10-11:00The Fig Cafe and Wine Bar Brunch


11:30-12:00 Reservation Loxton

11:00-12:30 Reservation Mayo Reserve Room Wine and Food Pairing (I have to change this reservation. I think maybe later or cancel?? not sure if there is enough time if we want to get to Healdsburg)

Stop at Figone’s Olive Oil on the Way

Kendall Jackson Wine Center (10-5pm)

Russian River Brewing Company(11-1am)
725 4th Street, Santa Rosa, CA, 95404

Rodney Strong (10-5pm)

Ridge* (10-5pm)

Healdsburg Square:
La Crema

Dinner: 9:30 Reservation at Meadowood

Day Three
April in Carneros Event

Breakfast: Fremont Diner

Keller (10-3


Cline* (10-6)
24737 Arnold Drive/Highway 121 Sonoma, CA 95476
Phone: (707) 940-4030 or 800-546-2070

24724 Arnold Drive/Highway 121
Open Daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Gloria Ferrer

Lunch? Sonoma Square:? El Dorado Kitchen?

Dinner: 7:30 Reservation The Girl and the Fig

Bouchon Bakery
6528 Washington St, Yountville, CA 94599

6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

Fremont Diner
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

411 13th St, Oakland, CA 94612

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  1. My biggest concern is how much back-and-forth driving you are setting yourself up for between a day in Healdsburg and then dinner at Meadowood - and a late one at that. You are going to be awfully tired, I think.

    While I can't fault you for wanting to see Healdsburg I would either find a place to have dinner or there or spend the day in Napa instead.

    Lastly, a Mondavi visit is fairly mundane. There are more fabulous wineries on the Napa side which have more impressive juice and grounds.

    1. It is a LOT of driving but if you are keen on H'berg, check your maps and skip 12 and downtown Santa Rosa and go 29 to 128. Check your maps, it has been a while but that is beautiful country through Alexander Valley. OR go 129 to Calistoga Road to Mark West Road west which will plop you right near the KJ tasting room in North SR. I would avoid downtown Santa Rosa - if you are hungry you can go to Willi's Wine Bar not far from Mark West Springs Road. It is still a lot of driving. But stunning!

      Willi's Wine Bar

      4404 Old Redwood Highway
      Santa Rosa, CA 95403-1725
      (707) 526-3096

      Willi's Wine Bar
      4404 Old Redwood Hwy, Santa Rosa, CA 95403

      1. We had an amazing lunch at El Dorado Kitchen. I recommend it highly, and sit out on the back terrace if the weather is good.

        1 Reply
        1. re: c oliver

          I think it's an ambitious but well thought out trip. Do you have a driver? If not, it's a lot of driving and a lot of wine in the same day.

          Only one reso that's out of sync is, as mentioned, the Meadowood late dinner after a big day in Healdsburg. I'd save Meadowood for it's own special day and substitute Cyrus in Healdsburg on that day. Then, you could get the driver to take you home or even stay over night. Check out the new H2 hotel for the overnight.

          Have fun!

        2. I think that there have been enough mixed reports on Bottega that I wouldn't want to risk it with the 9:30 reservation time and the need to drive all the way back to Sonoma afterward. I'd either go somewhere else good in the Napa area with an earlier reservation, or have a snack, then head back to Sonoma and have a late reservation, but a late reservation in Yountville will be such a pain for you, especially for a restaurant that doesn't get a lot of great reviews. And I agree with Carrie that you should avoid Mondavi, there are lots of other more interesting wineries to go to.

          6525 Washington Street Suite A9, Yountville, CA 94599

          1. Thanks all for the the comments and suggestions! I was concerned about the driving. No, we don't have a driver so it may(wiill) be too much... I'll take Healdsburg off the list and save it for another trip. I had my heart set on birthday dinner at Meadowood since we couldn't get into FL. Unfortunately, I waited too long for resos and 9:30pm was all I could get. We'll take it easy that day so we can enjoy dinner. Maybe even leave earlier for drinks. I'll think about Botegga and look into some other options in Napa or Sonoma. Cafe La Haye was on my list.

            I haven't gotten tickets yet to the April in Carneros event. Anyone ever been or recommend?

            Thanks again!

            Cafe La Haye
            140 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

            3 Replies
            1. re: jenbass

              Good adjustment of your plans.

              April in Carneros could be fun. But, we avoid it as it comes across as too many tasters tasting too much wine at too many wineries.. The tasting room staffs tend to fear that day -- too many drunks.

              A nice tasting by appointment is at Sojourn, directly across the street from Cafe La Haye in downtown Sonoma. We much prefer their Pinots to their Cabs. Relaxed sit down tasting in a charming small home.

              For eating, the El Dorado Kitchen has a great location and design. But, the food is mediocre. We like the coffee bar/cafe in the hotel for breakfast and cocktails at EDK. For lunch, you might want to buy sandwiches at the Sonoma Market and eat them at a table in the lovely Plaza or at a quiet picnic table in the discrete park just behind Sebastiani Winery.

              The other lunch options in Sonoma are just so so. You're hitting the high points w Girl and the Fig, La Haye and Fremont Diner.

              Sonoma Market
              500 W Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

              Cafe La Haye
              140 E Napa St, Sonoma, CA 95476

              Fremont Diner
              2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

              1. re: cortez

                Thanks, Cortez! Appointment made at Sojourn after lunch. Should end the day off perfectly. Thanks for the suggestions.


              2. re: jenbass

                I don't know when exactly your trip is, but if you want an earlier time, I encourage you to call Meadowood every week or so leading up to the trip.

                I was in a near identical situation with Meadowood for an upcoming trip. Available table was later than optimal, big birthday dinner for a friend, but I took the reservation. And have been calling every week or so. Today I called and -- volila! -- they had an earlier opening.