With their al fresco lifestyle, Wine Country chefs take their barbecue cooking seriously. So whatever your preference – wood or charcoal, rubbed, marinated, or basted, grilled or smoked – there’s a ‘cue for you. Lick your lips over these top picks for ribs, pulled meats, and all the extra goodies from beans to pickles.
Some of Wine Country's most interesting destinations are hidden away from the typical tourist routes. It’s worth tackling twisting, winding back roads, and in a few cases, peering past industrial settings, to explore these gems in Sonoma County.
Designating a designated driver can take a lot of fun out of wine tasting, when one person in your merry group must refrain from even the smallest sip. And while we mean no offense to limo tours or a certain well-known train, we’ve been there, done that.
It's not just about the food and vino in Wine Country.
Despite acclaim for its wine and food, Sonoma remains the trail-lined farmland and wilderness that I hiked with my family as a kid. For those more interested in wining and dining, never fear, there are plenty of winery hikes for those wary of straying far from their glasses. Here are four great hikes in Sonoma where you can earn your indulgences and explore the land that gives rise to such fantastic vines.
Think Wine Country is all tasting rooms and vineyards? Think again. Sure, there is plenty of grape juice for the anti-teetotalers among us. But you'll also find incredible hiking and biking, world-class cuisine, mineral spring spas, and backwoods towns with friendly locals who produce as mean a zinfandel as their Napa neighbors.
Ready to get going? Here are the 50 things to do in Wine Country before you die:
Truth be told, life to the north of the Golden Gate might as well be country living to most city folk. Say what you will about it, the country still has some advantages even city purists can’t deny, notably cheese and wine. You can get a gourmet taste of that country life this month at California’s Artisan Cheese Festival.
Think fresh-picked wild strawberry, pomegranate and raspberry jam layers, combined with the savory flavors of white pepper, iodine, sage, and a hint of briny ocean air. This describes the particularly great showing for Patz & Hall's new Jenkins Ranch Pinot Noir. And we can't wait to have our first sip!
Most wineries that have achieved fame have done so by getting to the game early, making fantastic products, or offering an exceptional experience. But there are wonderful wineries that fly under the radar because they're new, off the beaten path, make a very small amount of wine, or have simply chosen to remain secret. I worked with premier concierge & driver Kent Higginbotham, owner of Squire Livery Tours, to discover seven of Napa’s finest, top-secret wineries.