Sonoma is one of wine travel’s most well kept secrets. Not for long though, as it is becoming one of the most promising and fastest growing wine regions in the world. Amongst many other things, Sonoma boasts over 400 boutique wineries with an open door policy, stunning sites with plenty to do for the active wine lover and a high concentration of farm to table restaurants. Although it is so close to Napa, Sonoma has a much more private, community feel. This is the perfect destination for the discerning traveller and it is great for groups of friends, families and couples too.
It is Sonoma’s Food scene that has attracted so much attention and awe in the last few years. The climate here is so favourable that you can grow pretty much any fruit or vegetable you can think of. This allows farmers and local restaurants to experiment with ingredients and bring global the cuisine to the region by using locally sourced produce.
First Stop: Healdsburg
Healdsburg is one of Sonoma’s top foodie destinations. At the heart of Northern California's finest regional wine appellations, including Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley, here you will find over 100 world class wineries and tasting rooms witnessing the best things Sonoma has to offer.
It has a unique sense of community, is quaint, friendly and with coffee shops scattered across town, great shopping and the famous town square this should definitely go on your list as the next travel destination.
Quaint Healdsburg is famous for its farm to table concept. Restaurants here take a lot of pride in offering fantastic Spanish food - go no further than Bravas Restaurant, or try organic, alternative cuisine and some of the best coffee at The Shed.
For the best way to discover Healdsburg and its food, you will want to try the Sonoma Food and Wine Lover’s Culinary Tour.
Second Stop: Geyserville
We had one of the best meals in Sonoma at Catelli’s. We fell in love with Domenica Catelli who breathes passion for the food that she serves. From the calamari and buratta and prosciutto starters to the superbly cooked raviolli, we enjoyed each and every one of the 6 courses we had. If you want to make room for desert, we recommend a visit to the back garden where most of the vegetables and herbs come from.
Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria is perfect after or before a wine tasting. Enjoy a meat board with a delightful bottle of Zinfandel - the restaurant operates a BYO policy too so you might want to bring your own. What makes this restaurant special is the fact that it practices a tradition of cucina povera - those of you who have been to Puglia will be very familiar with it. This is the art of combining the most basic ingredients with the passion for food, resulting in pure, simple dishes which are fresh and simply delicious.
Seghesio Winery is at the heart of Healdsburg and one of our favourite stops for Zinfandel. Established in 1895, this winery is one of Sonoma’s darlings. The 2011 Old Zinfandel was also awarded 92 points by the Wine Spectator and having tasted it, we know exacly why. The Seghesio family wine making tradition shows passion, the best display of red fruit, beautiful, dusty tannins and a soft finish which will linger on your palate. If you make it to the winery, you will immerse yourself into some spectacular views and you should give the wine and food pairing a go. In Healdsburg, you will find the Seghesio tasting room which is equally fun and after a tasting, you can challenge your friends with a game of bocce!