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Sonoma - winery itinerary

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2 couples headed to Healdsburg on Wednesday 10/17, plan to do tastings on Thursday with a driver. As a group the reds we tend to like are cabs, zins and pinots. We also like chardonnays and an occasional savignon blanc. And we're open to other varietals.... Easy, huh?! From our prior trips the wines we still order are Frank Family and Artessa from Napa and Williamson from Sonoma (if that helps at all). Here is our preliminary list of wineries.... I hope to select ~ 4 from this list.

Freeman - pretty sure I'm interested in this one
Lynmar - this one, too

On the list, but less sure about the following:

Copain
Arista
Paul Hobbs
Rochioli (but I read they have very few wines available to taste)
Stonestreet
Rafanelli
Unti
Iron Horse (One of us loves sparkling, but the rest of us don't... what else do they have that you'd recommend?).

Also, we should be in Healdsburg by Wednesday afternoon ~3:30 ish. What tasting room(s) would you recommend? I know we visited ~ 4 of them in '09 but other than Williamson I can't remember which ones. I would guess that we'd have time for 1 depending on when they close. Or, is there a winery on the way in from SFO that you'd recommend we stop and do a tasting?

Thanks so much for all your help!! Kathey

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  1. I recommend Copain. On a recent trip to Healdsburg, we also enjoyed Unti. Not on your list, but would also recommend Papapietro Perry. Unti and Papapietro Perry are near each other, so you could visit them on the same swing through the valley.

    1. Here's a recent thread on Healdsburg tasting rooms:

      http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/871795

      I think all your winery choices are good ones (you're not really going to go wrong). I would group them by area and pick one to center on. At most two. Getting in 4 wineries before 3:30 can be a challenge, and if you switch areas, that will be about 30 minutes of driving if not more. Make sure your driver knows your itinerary! A couple of these aren't on the regular maps and signal can be bad in some areas.

      RRV :
      Freeman
      Lynmar
      Paul Hobbs
      Iron Horse - I haven't been super impressed with their non-sparkling wines. Not that they're bad. Just for me, they're forgettable.
      Copain (north of the others
      )Rochioli (north of the others, and I wouldn't visit unless the group likes whites too. Their whites are really good but yes - there is usually only one pinot to try).
      Arista (north of the others)

      Dry Creek-ish:
      Rafanelli - there's not much to try here either
      Unti - Red Blends

      Alexander Valley:
      Stonestreet - Cabernet Sauvignon + Chardonnay

      2 Replies
      1. re: goldangl95

        Thanks for the info goldangl95, it was very helpful. I plotted out your recs on the winery map and was bummed to see Unti so far north. Any other recs for good red blends? Anything stand out in the tasting rooms in Healdsburg? Thanks again!

        1. re: krumley

          Copain has red blends. That's the only winery/tasting room in the Russain River Valley area that has them that I can think of...