Nor Cal tips
I know this has been beaten to death in this form so I will try and keep this brief; I will be traveling to San Fran and Sonoma for 6 days (3 in each Oct 22-28th). Thought I would look to the experts for a couple of inquiries I had.
First is the idea of appointments, I am not all that familiar with the idea of creating appointments at the wineries. Is this for tours, tastings, pairings, or all of the above? I grew up just south of Toronto in a small wine region, never made a reservation outside of dinner.
Second which of the wineries are recommended? I would prefer a couple off the beaten path, and a stable or two that represent the region. From patrolling the forms, and small list is below I would anticipate one day in Sonoma, one in Napa. Definitely prefer informal and unstructured, grab a bottle and take in the scenery type places (3 or 4 maybe in each locale). Alternatively if there are any other local attractions I would love a little diversity.
The Hess Collection
Finally I know I may be pushing my luck a bit, but looking for a hip and innovative place to grab dinner either Friday or Saturday in San Fran (Preferably not Michael Mina level pricing). We are staying in Fisherman’s Warf but happy to travel. Finally any street food I shouldn’t miss out on? Its my first time there and I am super excited.
If you are looking for any tips for Toronto info I am happy to help as well!!!
Thanks in advance,
Your best Friday night dinner choice would be Off The Grid at Fort Mason (if it is still going at that point in the year - I'm not sure when they shut down for the winter). That is the largest enclave of food trucks in the city.
On your wine list. I would avoid Darioush. The rest are fine. But you say you are going to Sonoma but most of the wineries on your list are in Napa; what is your itinerary plans? It could be a lot of driving if you don't map out your desired wineries and figure out which day to take on Napa.
On the Napa side of the valley, eateries worth considering include Oxbow Market, Oenetri, Zuzu, Bistro Jeanty, and Cook.
I would totally agree the list of wineries, is wayyy to intensive to tackle all. My thoughts were to spend one leisurely day in Napa, one in Sonoma and let the travel days happen organically and check out some of the pacific coast ocean views. Off the top of my head;
Sleep in ;-)
Drive to Far Niente (heard it is stunning).
Lunch at the Oxbow Market
Drive to Palmaz Winery (sounds like an impressive lay out)
Maybe an hour hike in between to take in the vista's.
One more winery (quick, easy, and unpretentious to fill the hotel with famous Napa Pinots. (looking for recommendations here))
Head home to avoid over consumption of the varietals!!
Spend some time exploring the town.
Rent bikes and patrol the country side stopping at a few wineries and possibly a picnic or lunch within a winery (also looking for any reco's here). We are staying at the Sheraton in Petaluma, and from what i hear it is a bit off the beaten path.
I am just spit balling idea's out here and would love some input, to get more of a local flare than falling into line with the masses. Even though it is my first time I really don't want to attempt to tackle 5 wineries a day and feel rushed. Which is why the appointment thing rattles me a bit (that and my propensity to be late for everything!!!)
Also love the food truck idea, i am meeting up with a couple of college buddys that will be all over that!!.
Thanks for all the suggestions,
If you want a more relaxing time, then don't worry about appointments. Deal with wineries that handle walk-ins (which, frankly, are a LOT).
The problem with your Napa itinerary is that you are back-tracking (assuming you are staying in downtown Napa). You'll drive up valley for Far Niente (it IS stunning), but then back south for lunch and back north again for another tasting somewhere. This is counter-intuitive, I think. Consider some place like Brix or Bistro Don Giovanni for lunch which is closer, or some place in Yountville (Bistro Jeanty is my favorite, Reddwood gets a lot of good reviews).
For Sonoma, you can get picnic supplies at Gundlach Bundschu and they have picnic tables. I believe Ravenswood does as well and they are all bikeable distances from one another and do not require appointments.
The problem is your Petaluma spot. THAT is a drive from Napa (about an hour). If you haven't already booked hotels, I'd suggest getting a new spot that is more central.
Unfortunately the hotel is already booked but do not mind a little driving at all. The Napa itinerary definitely sounds a little disjointed. If you were to recommend one winery in Napa or Sonoma to book an tasting appointment with which would your suggest? Far Niente sounds like a front runner to me. And if it helps at all I only said Oxbow Market because it sounded like a forum favorite.
Thanks for all the help!!
Hello to a fellow Canuck! What fun to be going to SF for the first time. We go twice a year from Vancouver to sample the Bay Area's many offerings. Just wanted to put a word in for the Friday Night Off the Grid food cart event at Fort Mason http://offthegridsf.com/markets It's a great way to try a bunch of different trucks and carts in one place. Beer and cocktails also available, so very civilized. Just be sure to go early to minimize lineups. Have a great trip.
I cannot vouch for the quality of the wines at The Hess Collection (although I would think they are at least good to very good), but the winery is located in a very pretty spot and houses a gallery of worthwhile modern art. If that appeals to you, it is certainly worth a visit.