Sipping Through Wine Country: Answering Your Questions

You asked your questions and I tried to answer. Let me know if there is anything else you’d like to know, and I am more than happy to share my thoughts, experiences, and recommendations.

I recently asked on Instagram if you’d like to have my recommendations on Wine Country. I’ve always been a lover of wine and have had the privilege to visit multiple wineries all across the globe. But lately, I’ve been soaking up the California sun and hitting up some amazing spots right here in our Golden State. Figured it was high time I spilled the grapes and shared my adventures with you! In this post, I’m tackling all the questions you threw my way. So, grab your glass, settle in, and let’s talk wine!

In this post, I’ll be answering all the questions you submitted. From Sonoma to Napa, and everywhere in between, I’ve got the inside scoop on the best spots to sip, swirl, and savor. So, grab your glass, settle in, and let’s chat wine!

My personal Wine Country Preferences and Experiences

How many wineries have you been to? 

Let’s start with this one. Such a fun question because it reminded me of the fact that I’ve been to so many wineries, it’s hard to count them at this point. This Q&A is supposed to be about Wine Country in Northern California, but I have actually visited wineries in Greece, Austria, Italy, South Africa, just to name a few, and even stayed in a Winery Hotel last year in Mallorca:

What’s your favorite Winery in Sonoma?

Such a tough question! There are so many wineries to choose from; it really depends on the occasion. For a quick getaway, I would recommend Rams Gate Winery as it is located close to San Francisco and boasts such an impressive outdoor space, ideal for exploring. You can purchase wine by the bottle and relax by their pond, which I really like. If you are looking for a more serious wine-tasting experience, I would suggest visiting MacRostie or Flowers Winery. Both wineries have lovely designs and outdoor spaces. I think the winery I’ve personally visited the most might be my favorite, but I’ll spill the tea on this a little later, as there is a perfect question for that.

What’s your favorite Winery in Napa?

Napa is always worth a visit, and with most of the OG wineries located in Napa Valley, there’s plenty to explore. Calistoga, Yountville, and St. Helena alone are worth a day trip. While I can’t say I have a favorite winery in Napa, I’ve had great experiences at a couple of them that I can recommend: Odette and Frank Family Vineyards, the most recent ones. I’m particularly looking forward to visiting Domaine Carneros and Mayacamas Vineyards & Winery soon.

Do you prefer Sonoma or Napa?

The $100 question… and not really possible to answer. It depends a little bit on the type of wine you’re into. I personally really enjoy Sonoma Coast Chardonnays – they are among my top favorite wines if not THE favorite, and I usually enjoy white wine more, especially during the day. However, as I start to get more into reds, I am particularly loving Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa. And as I explained earlier, Napa is a region worth exploring. It all depends on the occasion, what you are looking for that day, and maybe also who you are going with

Where did you have the best overall experience?

Honestly, I believe the best overall experience in Wine Country depends a lot on who you’re with. For me, one standout trip was to Scribe Winery last October with my girlfriends. It was just such a lovely time because of the wonderful company and the relaxed outdoor seating. Plus, the farm-fresh food pairing was a hit! Overall, whether it’s a winery or any other spot, if you’re surrounded by great people and the sun is shining, you’re bound to have a good time, right?



What time of the year is your favorite to go for a wine tasting?

I think any time of the year is good for visiting wineries. Winter is a great time because it is less crowded, and the managers have more time to teach you about wines. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Tom, the tasting room manager at Odette Winery, who mentioned that he enjoyed having more time and attention for us since it was the less busy season. Harvest time is amazing because the views are breathtaking, and you feel surrounded by ripe wines. Summer is great for a getaway. Even in autumn, it’s a lovely weekend trip worth leaving San Francisco for some sun and fun. So, I would say any time of the year works.

Is it worth going when it rains? What would be the best winery?

I recently went for a wine tasting during a storm and I still had a great time. All wineries typically have indoor spaces with great views. When I went recently, I visited MacRostie and I particularly enjoyed it because their open space has plenty of glass doors, allowing you to see the vineyards while remaining cozy indoors. Also, a special shoutout to Ram’s Gate Winery – their indoor/outdoor space is remarkably beautiful, and they have a stunning indoor wine bar that invites communal seating, perfect for getting to know others while the rain pours.

Wine Recommendations and Winery Dining Experiences

What’s your favorite tasting with food pairing? / Winery with good food?

If you’re looking for a fantastic dining experience, there are plenty of options to choose from. It all depends on whether you prefer a fine dining experience or just a few nibbles. One thing I really appreciate is that many wineries have started serving natural, organic, farm-grown produce from local farmers. It’s always great to see businesses supporting their communities like that! I’ve heard amazing things about the food at Jordan Winery, and I’m really excited to try it out myself.

I like bubbles – any recommendations?

I’d go to Vineasa or Domaine Carneros – also a superb place to bring parents or visitors because it’s informal yet stunning with great views – thank me later

Any recs for wineries that offer wine by the glass? 

I absolutely love this question! Sometimes, all you want to do is enjoy a glass of wine without going through the entire tasting process. However, some wineries do not have the license to sell wine by the glass. For bottled wine, I recommend Rams Gate, Abbots Passage, Vineyasa (who definitely have wine by the glass), and Caymus Suysun. These wineries are amazing and definitely worth a visit. Additionally, there are also smaller wineries that may offer wine by the glass, so it’s always worth checking with them as well.

Wine Destinations for Different Occasions and Preferences

Where to go for a casual hang out with friends?

Uuuhhh, I recommend visiting Rombauer Winery. It has beautiful views, and you can book a picnic table to enjoy while purchasing bottle service. Their Chardonnay has excellent reviews, so I suggest trying that. It’s a lovely experience.

Winery with a great design – we know you adore architecture.

I think it’s a great question, although there is a whole book about winery architecture with great design, so I’m not sure how qualified I am to answer. However, I recently visited Flowers Vineyards and Winery, and I was blown away by their stunning design. I also adore MacRostie. I’ve been to Caymus Suisun a couple of times, and I always thought it was the most stunning building ever. And, my all-time favorite, Abbots Passage – a true gem and worth coming back to many, many times.

First Date Winery?

Choosing a casual location like Rams Gate Winery can help ease the tension if you’re worried about not liking each other.

Best Winery to go without reservation?

Also Rams Gate – Just a perfect winery to show up, hang out on their bar counter or take a bottle of wine down to their pond to enjoy the beautiful weather and surroundings without no one bothering you 🙂

Wine Country Retreats and Post-Tasting Activities

Romantic Wine Country Staycation?

Since I live so close, I usually just drive home after a wine tasting and never stay in Napa or Sonoma. For a special occasion, there are a few places on my list, such as: The Madrona, Meadowwood Napa Valley, Alila Napa Valley, Senza Hotel Napa, The George Napa.

Any recommendations for activities after the wine tasting?

I’m not entirely sure, as it depends on your situation. It could be worth it if you plan on regularly visiting a winery and drinking their wine, as well as if you want to bring friends and family for a free tasting. However, my partner and I used to be members at a couple of wineries, but we canceled everything because we wanted to explore more and didn’t want to commit to anything in particular yet.

Wine Lifestyle Recommendations

Do you think it’s worth getting a wine membership?

I’m not entirely sure, as it depends on your situation. It could be worth it if you plan on regularly visiting a winery and drinking their wine, as well as if you want to bring friends and family for a free tasting. However, my partner and I used to be members at a couple of wineries, but we canceled everything because we wanted to explore more and didn’t want to commit to anything in particular yet.

Your hidden gem?

Abbots Passage!

Can you recommend wineries in Central California?

Yes, let’s make another series about it, shall we?


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