Roughly three-and-a-half-hours south of San Francisco on the 101 is Paso Robles, an appellation that is becoming known for both its diversity of wines and the reputation of its growers and winemakers to take chances on unusual blends and lesser-known varieties. There is an excitement about wine and winemaking here that, while certainly not lost in places like Napa and Sonoma, often lies beneath a more corporate-driven surface.
With over 450 wineries and 270 restaurants, it can be a daunting task to plan a day in the Napa Valley. To save you time and angst, we created a balanced day that will make you look like an insider and avid organizer.
A lot of winemakers in Northern California are crossing their fingers, rubbing disembodied rabbits’ feet and throwing copious amounts of salt over their shoulders. Why? Because it is the middle of July and 2012 has been a nearly perfect growing season (knock on wood).
Sondra Bernstein is well known as “the girl” of the girl & the fig restaurant, a Wine Country destination right on the historic square in Sonoma. Her inspiration for the girl & the fig is “country food with a French passion,” and this lively spot, popular with locals and visitors reminds you of a bistro in Provence. But “the girl” loves Italian food too, and what Sonoma locals know that not all visitors do, is if you venture just a bit further down Spain Street, beyond the Plaza, you will discover Sondra’s other Sonoma restaurant ESTATE.
Kids aren’t the first thing that pop into your mind when planning a trip to Wine Country. But times are changing. More and more, parents don’t want to miss out on what’s growing right in their backyard, and the wineries, well, they’re listening. Parents with kids in tow can get a new taste of Wine Country and the whole family’s happy about it.
Forget all this “farm to table” nonsense. Why bother, when you can just bring the table to the farm? At least that is Chef William Heubel’s idea behind his Beyond the Kitchen dinner party series, which will be staged at a different farm in Napa Valley each Saturday throughout the summer.
Imagine spending a gorgeous afternoon sipping delightful wines, savoring delectable bites, and shopping to your heart’s content – all while being charmed by some of the most beloved men in the Napa Valley. What makes this afternoon even more sensational? The cause.
With hundreds of wineries scattered throughout Northern California, I never cease to be surprised by how each features unique characteristics that make them stand out from one another. Whether it’s the wine, winemaker, grapes, tasting room, vineyards, or location, they all have distinctions that make them different from one another. Medlock Ames in Healdsburg’s Alexander Valley is no different.
While typical visitors to Healdsburg and Medlock Ames are most interested in the tasting room, and for good reason, it’s important to know about the vineyards and winery, which few have the chance to see.