Sonoma Valley: Anniversary Weekend Itinerary
A couple of weeks ago, Patrick and I celebrated our eighth Anniversary together with a weekend getaway to the beautiful Sonoma Valley. Do you guys remember this post from our last Sonoma Valley trip for Valentine’s Day earlier this year?! Sonoma Valley holds a special place in Patrick and I’s heart. We have been visiting with family for years and we just got engaged at a winery up there! So many of you guys have reached out saying how helpful these Itinerary’s are for planning special getaway’s to wine country, so I am excited to share all the fun things we did on our recent trip! If you decide to use this itinerary (or any part of it) for a romantic getaway or girls weekend, send me an email or DM with a photo from one of the the locations and i’ll make sure to share it on my Instagram Stories!
FRIDAY, 7 PM Arrive at An Inn 2 Remember for Check-in
By now we basically just call An Inn 2 Remember our home away from home. We left on a Friday evening to avoid traffic and made the short 1 hour drive to the Inn from San Francisco. We pulled into our reserved parking spot right in front of our room and it honestly felt so good to be back. It feels like a huge breath of fresh air to visit Sonoma and have a fun and relaxing weekend together. An Inn 2 Remember is a much more intimate experience with only 7 rooms and is decorated in the most elegant French-Vintage style. The Italian owners, Alice and Paolo, are the absolute sweetest and most gracious hosts. Everyone that I have talked to that has stayed with them has said the exact same thing!
SATURDAY, 8:30 AM Breakfast on the Patio
We stayed in the Palm Garden Suite this time (last time we stayed in the Mimosa Suite) and we always love how spacious the rooms are! Remind me to ask them where they get their mattresses and bedding, because I need them in my home. I never sleep better or more sound than when I am there. On Saturday morning we enjoyed coffee and an Italian breakfast on our very own sunny patio, which is complimentary to all guests. On this particular morning they made the most delicious apple cinnamon french toast that I am still dreaming about. We didn’t have to be anywhere until 10 AM, so we spent the morning relaxing and drinking coffee before our fun day of wine tasting.
Saturday, 9:55 AM Depart for Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley
Why have I not thought of trying this sooner? Touring Sonoma is so much more fun when on a trolley and it totally take the stress out of transportation when wine tasting! We took the Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley to our first two tastings. We got to ride along with and meet other fellow wine tasting enthusiasts while enjoying the tour guides insight into the world of Sonoma wine and Sonoma Valley. This tour is perfect for first time visitors, couples and experienced wine lovers. The vintage, open air design of the early San Francisco Cable Cars offers a scenic view unmatched by any other touring vehicle. There is also a middle section of the trolley that has inside seating in case you are worried about wind blown hair or getting too cold (me).
The standard Sonoma Valley Winery Tour includes transportation, visits to four charming world class Sonoma wineries and a catered gourmet picnic lunch.
Saturday, 10:30 AM Tasting at Imagery Estate Winery
Our first wine tasting was scheduled at Imagery Estate Winery, which is known for their unusual wines, esoteric blends and for not playing by the rules. They are dedicated to crafting rare wines from uncommon varietals and their bottles reflect that same creativity and individuality. Each bottle has its own unique art piece on the label. Imagery encourages individuality and has an incredible art gallery in their tasting room. They had such a fun environment that would be perfect for catching up with friends! Their grounds are beautiful and their picnic area with a bocce court would be a wonderful place to enjoy with friends or family. We loved their 2017 Riesling! It was perfectly dry, crisp and refreshing for our first tasting.
SATURDAY, 11:50 AM Tasting, Tour and Lunch at Benziger Family Winery
After a fun first tasting at Imagery Estate Winery, we jumped back on the trolley and went on our way to Benziger Family Winery. I was so excited to see this winery on our itinerary because I have been wanting to visit it since we moved to San Francisco. I have heard nothing but good things about Benziger and they were even voted the Best Tasting Room & Best Tour for the Sonoma People’s Choice Awards this year. They quickly showcased why they are so nationally and locally loved. They put a huge emphasis on family, great wine and healthy vineyards and you immediately feel at ease on their property. They have the most incredibly picturesque views and the tour was unlike anything we have experienced. If you decide to go, you have to sign up for their Biodynamic Wine Tour! We got to learn about their unique Biodynamic farming practices, explore their wine cave and ended with a tasting of their award-winning wines. The views were incredible on the tram tour! The most beautiful rolling hills with grapes still on the vines. I definitely recommend this tasting and tour to first-time visitors. It is impossible to not fall in love with this winery. And to all of my Chardonnay lovers – make sure to try their 2015 Signaterra “West Rows” Chardonnay. It received the Gold Medal at San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition certified organic and will blow your mind!
SATURDAY 1 – 2 PM Tasting and Cheese Board at Gloria Ferrer
We were picked up by our new friend Mark (the General Manager of Sonoma Valley Wine Trolley’s) who offered to drive us to our next tasting at Gloria Ferrer. In true Sonoma Valley fashion, he showed up in his charming 1956 Chevy. This was such an unreal experience! When we arrived at Gloria Ferrer we had several people gather around to start taking photos with the car, and I cannot blame them!
I honestly love any wine tasting that includes sparkling wine. It just feels like we’re really celebrating once a little bubbly is added into the mix. Gloria Ferrer produces the most awarded California sparkling wines, having won more than 500 gold medals and received 50 outstanding 90+ point ratings in the last 5 years. And on top of that, their patio seating for their tasting looks out onto sweeping views with vineyards for miles and miles. Have I mentioned that Fall is my favorite time to visit wine country during harvest? The vineyards turn yellow and red in color and the weather is perfect. This was such a lovely spot to sit and relax with a sampling of their most coveted sparking wines and a delicious cheese plate. Their Carneros Cuvée comes in the most beautiful and sleek bottle and would be the perfect celebratory gift! They also have an incredible 2010 Anniversary Cuvée that would make a great Anniversary gift for a couple. I love gifting wines for different occasions because who wouldn’t enjoy receiving a nice bottle to enjoy with loved ones?
SATURDAY, 3:30 – 5 PM Jacuzzi Family Vineyards for a Tasting Experience
Patrick and I drive by Jacuzzi Family Vineyards almost every single time we go up to wine country. Every time we pass it we say how beautiful it is because they have major curb appeal! We have been especially intrigued by the name. The real reason why it is called Jacuzzi? This family invented the jacuzzi! Actually their entire family lineage is incredible. If you go, make sure you request that they share the history of how they got to where they are today. It is remarkable.
Jacuzzi was the standout star of the day for us. We absolutely fell in love with everything about this Tuscan Villa tasting. Megan Cline, the daughter of Fred Cline (founder of Jacuzzi Family Vineyards), gave us our tour and tasting. She gave us a tour of their gorgeous property and provided so much insight into the history of this incredible winery. We enjoyed a cheese plate with our wine and it was the perfect compliment. Pro tip: you have to get the cheese plate here. And honestly we enjoyed every single wine that was poured too. Jacuzzi specializes in unusual Italian varietals like Lagrein, Nero d’Avola and Montepulciano, and familiar favorites like Sangiovese, Barbera, Primitivo and more. We especially loved the 2017 Sangiovese and the Asolo Prosecco and ended up taking a bottle of each home with us.
There was a wedding being set up during our tasting. There were string lights in the courtyard and we got to watch everything being set up as we had our tasting on the upper patio. This would be an incredible venue for a wine country wedding!
If you decide to visit, make sure to sample their Olive Oil Tasting Room on the first floor. We took home an Extra Vigin Olive Oil and their Rasberry Balsamic Vinegar. Although, now I am kicking myself that I didn’t also get their Co-Milled Jalapeño Olive Oil!
SATURDAY, 7 PM Dinner reservation at The Girl & the Fig
We were here to celebrate our 8 year Anniversary, so why not continue the celebrations?! The Girl & the Fig is a longtime favorite for both locals and visitors to the area and typically a tough one to get reservations at. We have been dying to try it for quite some time! It is a 2-minute walk from the Inn, so it was the perfect spot to end the evening. They offer a farm-to-table, seasonal menu that features garden vegetables, herbs and an abundance of creativity. This restaurant is definitely my #1 recommendation for dinner in Sonoma. Patrick and I switched to cocktails for dinner. I ordered the eyer lemon-infused gin, honey, lemon juice and dried lavender. Absolutely delicious! Patrick ordered the Spiced & Stormy Cocktail. We definitely ordered with our stomachs because we ordered a lot of food.
We started with the Pastis-Scented Steamed Mussels & Frites, which was incredible. Each of us then got a cup of soup. I got the Tomato Bisque and Patrick got their special, which was a Butternut Squash Soup. You can tell how fresh the ingredients are and you will absolutely not be disappointed. For the main course I got the Salmon, which unfortunately isn’t on their menu every day, but it was locally caught and might have been the best salmon I have ever had. Patrick got the Steak Frites as his main course. We had zero room for desert but the waiter suggested we take a bite of their Milk and Cookies and then take the rest of the cookies home. I am so happy he suggested this because the cookies were unbelievable and the perfect sweet treat for us on Sunday. I 100% recommend The Girl & the Fig.
We cannot thank Sonoma Valley enough for partnering with us and for creating the most memorable Anniversary Getaway for us this year. Sonoma Valley is a destination that offers an amazing experience year-round. Located in the heart of Northern California Wine country, Sonoma Valley is a 17-mile span that encompasses the city of Sonoma and the villages of The Springs, Glen Ellen, Bennett Valley, Carneros and Kenwood and is home to more than 100 premium wineries, 85 percent of which are family owned. US News & World Report named Sonoma named “Best Small Town to Visit in the U.S.” Patrick and I have definitely found this to be true. The destination is easily accessible from all major Northern California airports, and a quick drive from San Francisco, which makes it the an easy trip for weekend getaways or celebrations. The plaza, the largest in California, hosts all kinds of events and farmer’s markets. The Valley of the Moon Vintage Festival was actually going on in the Plaza while we were there, so we got to enjoy live music and art shopping before heading back to the city on Sunday. Sonoma Valley has become one of Patrick and I’s favorite weekend getaways, it is where we got engaged and was our first choice when deciding where to celebrate our Anniversary this year. We will, without a doubt, be back very soon!