Sonoma by Surprise

Sonoma by Surprise

by Leah Bickford 

July 25, 2015

I was lucky to have the opportunity to visit Sonoma for the first time this past June and was surprisingly charmed.  Aside from being incredibly picturesque, Sonoma has what every celebrated wine region has; the whole package.   Community, sustainability, quality local food/wine and gorgeous scenery.


Without feeling touristy, Sonoma has a plethora of options for visitors depending on your travelling objectives.   Cottage versus hotel?  The little town of Sonoma has a beautiful grocery store stalked with local goodies including wine and beer.   Prefer dining out?  Take your pick…from craft beer themed pubs *(try Bear Republic Brewing in Healdsburg) to upscale restaurants, it seems the options are unlimited.  I prefer casual and if you drive through Napa enroute to, I highly recommend GOTT’S Roadside ( best burger I’ve had all year!

Oh and wine?  I was duly impressed by what I saw and tasted.  Many wineries it seems are ahead of the technology curve but also care about preservation.  From solar panel power to biodynamic farming, I felt a strong sense of respect for the land.  Wines are generally elegant, fresh, and balanced.  Proximity to the cool Pacific acts as a natural cooling system, with weather patterns coming up from the Bay.  Sonoma is also bordered by mountain ranges and so elevation for some vineyards creates a diurnal shift between night and day temperatures, allowing grapes to retain their acidity.

biodynamic preparations

Whether large scale or boutique, the hospitality I received by the families and winery staff was superb.  There is great pleasure in meeting the families, dogs, cats, kids and in hearing/seeing the story behind the wines coming from this fabulous region.  I highly recommend a visit.  Check out this great winery map  or contact me directly for tips on wineries to visit.  If you’re interested, wines currently in stock from Sonoma can be found here: