The historic adobe at Three Sticks Winery, recently updated by SF designer Ken Fulk.

A Modern Guide to Downtown Sonoma: Beloved Restaurants, Cozy Inns, Shops, Hikes + All the Wine

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Downtown Sonoma, once the birthplace of the California flag that marked the state's independence from Mexican rule, lures visitors with the charm of its heritage along with all the modern trappings of Wine Country life. Go for the wine tastings, quirky speciality shops and restaurants du jour.

All the Wine (and a Little Beer) in Downtown Sonoma

Three Sticks

The Vallejo-Castanada adobe—the longest-occupied residence remaining from California's Mexican Period (1822-1846)—got the magic treatment from San Francisco interior designer Ken Fulk, who transformed the historic interior into an enchanting space for tasting Three Sticks' primo chardonnay and pinot noir, sourced from some of the top vineyards in Sonoma County. // 143 West Spain St., threestickswines.com

Sojourn Cellars

Want a taste of the best pinot noir in all of California? Wine Spectator awarded Sojourn Cellars' 2014 Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir top honors in 2016. It's not too surprising, as Sojourn has a reputation for producing stellar, single vineyard pinots, which can be sipped side-by-side in an intimate tasting (by appointment). They also pour excellent Sonoma County chardonnay and even some Napa cab in a recently renovated, country-chic cottage. // 141 East Napa St., soujourncellars.com

Sigh Sonoma

Sonoma's only bubbly bar, Sigh feels like a New Year's Eve party all year long. The luxe location off Sonoma Plaza pours local sparkling wines, but the real treat is the chance to try Champagnes and bubblies from around the world. // 120 West Napa St., sighsonoma.com

Kamen

Kamen Wines represents the second career of screenwriter/producer Robert Mark Kamen, who brought us The Karate Kid. Back in 1980, Kamen bought property in Sonoma and began to grow mountain cabernet sauvignon, eventually starting his own wine label. The only decoration in his sleek, minimalistic tasting room is a series of quotes from his famous films above the bar. Wax on, wax off, drink up. // 111B East Napa St., kamenwines.com

Walt Wines

Taste your way through California at Walt, which makes chardonnay and pinot noir sourced from vineyards that span 1,000 miles of California coast, making for a diverse portfolio of wines that showcase the terroir of each region along with their distinct flavor characteristics. Walt is the sister winery to Napa Valley's Hall Wines, but the vibe here is considerably toned down. More fitting for Sonoma, Walt tastings go down in a charming country house where the best seats are on the patio. // 380 First St. West, waltwines.com

Corner 103

Named simply for its address, Corner 103, the only African American–owned winery in Sonoma Valley, strips down the oft-intimidating tasting experience into something more relaxing, fun, and educational. Owner Lloyd Davis, formerly of the much larger Viansa Winery, wanted to do something different, without the crowds. Here you'll find no bar (all tastings are done comfortably seated), and there are no stupid questions. Tastings spotlight seven different varietals and come with an option for food pairings. Try the Sonoma Cheese Experience, with samples from nearby Vela Cheese Company. // 103 W. Napa St., corner103.com

Pangloss Cellars

With 4,000 square feet to work with, Pangloss has a tasting experience to match every mood. Saddle up to the bar or nosh light bites in the cozy lounge, or head to the cellar for a fully immersive 90-minute journey through Pangloss' portfolio of wines. Design junkies will enjoy the latter thanks to a recent painstaking restoration of the gorgeous, 115-year-old building featuring the original redwood and stone walls. // 35 East Napa St., panglosscellars.com

HopMonk Tavern

When you've had enough wine, you can drink all the beer at HopMonk Tavern. The 15-beer tap list includes a mix of HopMonk's own brews, as well as some from the West's top brewhouses—Lagunitas, Dogfish, and Drake's to name a few. Head there for "hoppy hour" or a nightcap in the massive beer garden complete with a fire pit and live music on Fridays and Saturdays. // 691 Broadway, hopmonk.com

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