I can’t stress it enough, I don’t drink Pumpkin Spice Lattes. Ever. Fall is such a great time to celebrate the harvest of grapes, fall colors & wine. Red, red wine.
We’ve been to California’s Wine Country a handful of times, in different times of the year. We have been in the fall (over Halloween / my husband’s birthday), Mid-December, late January into February & early April (for our wedding <3).
Each time the weather varied slightly but was always sunny and warm. Mid 70s. When escaping Chicago in those months, the weather was perfection.
Another thing we refuse to to do, is take mass tour busses, or boring huge group tours at large scale wineries. We took the tram at Sterling, mainly because we thought our families would love it, and felt like we were at Disney World. Mid trip we found out that Sterling was owned by Coca Cola before changing hands to Seagram and then Diageo. Suddenly, it all made sense.
We have our favorites which I would like to share- and why they are.
Alpha Omega Winery- Alpha Omega made THE BEST Buttery, Oaky Chardonnay in the past. We haven’t been in a year so can’t speak for this year’s vintage. While a bit pricey, every taste wine we have had here has been one of the best we’ve ever had. Well- for Californian wines. Bold, Strong, Big flavors. We heard of the place through a wine rep out of CA. They have a great outdoor patio section, and a beautiful rustic tasting room.
1155 Mee Ln, St Helena, CA 94574
Chateau Boswell- As a small producing winery, a visit to Chateau Boswell, brings you back to the days where technology didn’t make wine, wine makers did. Seeing the wine vats, in the caves, and tasting wine right from them, you really get to experience the wine making process. They are very small producers and tend to sell out by February. We also heard of the winery from a recommendation by my husband’s friend.
Hall (& Walt) – We came to Hall on our 1st trip to Napa, a few months into dating. We ONLY stopped because my, then boyfriend, now husband’s last name is Hall. Upon getting to the door, we saw that their Cabernet Sauvignons were rated highly. Upon tasting, I believe on our 2nd visit, they had opened a 2nd winery called Walt. We bought at least 6 bottles. Since then, their wines continue to be top notch. You can find their wine on occasion at Binny’s out in the Midwest. Since our 1st visit they also built a new tasting room.
401 St Helena Hwy, St Helena, CA 94574
380 1st St W, Sonoma, CA 95476
Ram’s Gate – Besides great wine, Ram’s gate is one of the best for an experience & views. If you would picture what what happen if Restoration Hardware decorated a winery without over Restoration Hardware-ing it, you would have Ram’s gate. High Ceilings, Industrial Feel, Huge Fireplace, Big relaxing furniture and an open feeling kitchen. Ram’s gate is on of the 1st wineries you’d pass on your way in fro San Fran- hence how we found it.
28700 Arnold Dr, Sonoma, CA 95476
Scribe- I think Scribe is best when the weather is mid 70s, warm, sans rain. They have a large grassy area with what I can only describe as being slightly hilly, in a perfect manner to add dimension to the property. They have picnic tables, and Navajo patterned blankets to use to either keep warm, or to sit on the ground. As the sun sets, Edison outdoor string lights hang between the vast trees for ambiance. During the day time the trees provide shade from the sun. Upon tasting, they bring you a nice antipasto and cheese plate to pair with their delicious wines. Our in-laws visited here while in town for our wedding, we visited on our next trip.
2100 Denmark St, Sonoma, CA 95476
Sinskey- Sinskey has really expanded their offerings in the tasting room since we last visited. B’s friend from growing up, is in the wine industry, and made the recommendation. They have the most amazing Cab Franc (amongst other wines). Every time we go to the wine shop locally, we hope they have a bottle. They have a full kitchen now, and often have various tasting events with food. Needless to say, this makes them a great option to visit, especially to ensure you have something to eat.
6320 Silverado Trail, Napa, CA 94558