This past Saturday, I joined my friend and her coworkers on a wine tasting trip to Sonoma. Napa tends to take much of Northern California’s wine glory, but there are several other great wine tasting areas near San Francisco that are just as nice and kinder to your wallet. Sonoma is Napa’s more down-to-earth neighbor to the west.
Our first stop was Cline Cellars. I found the staff at this winery to be full of character and very personable. The guy who ran the wine tasting had a lot of useful information and entertaining anecdotes about his personal journey to appreciating wine. Cline had fun descriptions for their wine, including one that they claim is perfect for drinking with leftovers. This was a great winery– earthy, old school, and unpretentious.
Next, we headed down the street to Viansa Winery where we had a short tour of their property. After a tasting, we had lunch and then relaxed on the sunny patio which overlooks their vineyard. We talked to a youthful old couple who were originally from Holland. They said they came there every weekend to enjoy a bottle of wine. The woman told us, “We don’t even have to ask for what we want anymore. We just sit at our table outside and they bring us our wine!” That is my definition of aging well.
When we arrived at Nicholson Ranch, we found the perfect spot for our tasting. They had a wonderful patio with a view of vineyard-covered rolling hills, flowers, and extremely comfortable chairs. One of the owners came around to pour the wine while we enjoyed conversation and the late afternoon sun. Here, I felt complete relaxed and content. I was able to peel myself out of the chair for our last stop, Gloria Ferrer, where we enjoyed glasses of sparkling wine at sunset.
Wine tasting at Viansa
Grapevines on a hill
Wine and a view