1st Time to Napa/Sonoma - Printable Version

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- jhannen - 04-25-2005 07:15 PM

Hello All,

We are traveling through the "Wine Country" on our way to San Diego and have decided to stay for a day of tasting/touring. We will be staying in San Rafael May 21-22.

I'm looking for some advice for the best wineries to hit for someone who prefers sweet Rieslings instead of dry Chardonnay.

My red preferences tend to the Italian Chianti.

Therefore, I have no idea where to go. [img][/img]

Any suggestions? You help is very much appreciated.


- winoweenie - 04-26-2005 06:29 AM

Hi jhannon and welcome to the board. If you go back on this thread 1 year you will find numerous posts on the Sonoma/Napa area. Some of the other members of the board can give you better advice on your palate choices than I. Have fun! WW

- Zinner - 04-27-2005 12:41 AM

California's "Wine Country" extends far beyond Napa/Sonoma these days, so you can taste to your hearts content all the way from Mendocino to San Diego, if you like. There's lots of wine country below San Francisco too.

For just a short time in the Napa/Sonoma area though, considering the varietals you've picked, perhaps Dry Creek Valley would offer some of what you've asked about.
People tend to associate it with Zinfandel, but there's quite a diversity there. And at a time when some of the California wineries are giving up on Sangiovese (main grape of Chianti), it seems to be going strong in Dry Creek.

Seghesio, Unti, J. Pedroncelli and Lago di Merlo wineries all produce Sangiovese and several do Barbera as well as a bunch of other things you might enjoy tasting, if you want to be open to other experiences. For a sweeter white, there's some Moscato at Teldeschi and at Preston. Preston is an interesting place to go anyhow, since they have hearth baked breads from their own ovens and olives and olive oils and organic produce in season.

You might have a good time at some of the wineries whether or not they have exactly the wines you're looking for. Ferrari-Carrano has lovely gardens (local monks meditate there), Raymond Burr has greenhouses with orchids, Yoakim Bridge has a yummy Zinfandel sauce, Bella has caves in the hillside. There's a web site at for wineries of Dry Creek valley.

And Healdsburg has plenty of good places to eat. If you're interested, I could look through my notes and give you more info.

- Kcwhippet - 04-27-2005 03:57 AM

You might want to make a stop at Viansa Winery and Italian Marketplace. As the name suggests, they're very Italian oriented. They make several wines from Italian varietals, both red and white, as well as importing a number of wines from Italy. Easy to get to from San Rafael, too - you just north on 101, then a right on 37 toward Sonoma and Napa Valley. Take a left on Arnold Drive (rt. 121) at Sears Point, and Viansa is about 4 miles up on the right.

- jhannen - 04-27-2005 04:13 PM


We're really looking forward to this trip.

If any of you can think of any others, especially for the whites, please feel free to pass them on. We really appreciate it.


- wondersofwine - 04-28-2005 08:38 AM

On the sweet Rieslings, one of my favorite domestic sweeties is the Arrowood Late Harvest Riesling. The winery with hospitality center and tasting room is near Glen Ellen in Sonoma County. It mentions private tours so it sound like tours might have to be arranged by appointment.