Visiting Sonoma including lodging at the Sonoma Valley Inn, Fine Dining, Wineries, Pairing, Blending, Cooking Class- November 2015

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Let the BEST WESTERN Sonoma Valley Inn be your gateway to California Wine Country. Their family-owned and operated Sonoma hotel is the perfect expression of the casual, friendly, hometown warmth that defines Sonoma. Just steps away from The Plaza, in the heart of Sonoma—you will find one of Sonoma County’s premiere wine country destinations. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay taking advantage of the spacious room, comfortable bed, warm outdoor pool, outside yoga and their courtyard for hanging out and the nice reception.

Relax in one of their comfortable, well-appointed guestrooms designed for the savvy traveler who appreciates affordable luxury. You’ll have plenty left in your travel budget to explore the famous vineyards, fantastic dining, and shopping that make the Sonoma Valley so desirable.

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Their warm, knowledgeable staff will guide you to the best that Sonoma has to offer — from wine tours to historical landmarks.

From Jacuzzi Suites to pet-friendly garden patio rooms, our accommodations will take you away from it all. Lounge in our courtyard gazebo, unwind in our hot tub and steam room or take a dip in our saltwater pool. Every morning, enjoy a complimentary Sonoma Style breakfast before you begin your Sonoma Wine Country day.

BEST WESTERN Sonoma Valley Inn & Krug Event Center 550 Second Street West
Sonoma, California 95476-6633
United States Phone: 707-938-9200

The best way to get to Sonoma from San Francisco or Oakland if you are not renting a car and staying near the downtown is Marin Door to Door Shuttle. Friendly, prompt and professional drivers and very nice service.


A big thanks to Sarah Krupp (co founder of Town Kryer, LLC PR Company in Berkeley) , who represents the Sonoma Valley Inn but put together a fantastic itinerary for this press trip as you can see below. Some of my personal thoughts and favorites were the Girl & the Fig and don’t miss the duck confit. The Ravenswood was great as I blended my own wine for the first time. Cornerstone and Park 121 was a relaxing nice lunch. St Francis lunch/wine pairing is not to miss. Jacuzzi Winery with the biggest and most affordable wines I saw in the area and the Olive Oil tasting are in the same building and a fun stop. Ramekins was a great cooking class as you prepare, make and then eat what you cooked.

Dinner at the girl & the fig Discover “country food with a French passion” at Sonoma Valley’s most acclaimed restaurant. Since opening in 1997, the girl and the fig has been a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Enjoy a four-course tasting menu made from fresh, seasonal foods expertly paired with wine. The girl and the fig has been lauded by the Wine Spectator, the Wine Enthusiast, the Huffington Post and the Los Angeles Times and described by Zagat as “sumptuous“ and a “French treat.”

Ravenswood Winery – Blend Your Own “No Wimpy Wines” Ravenswood credo says it all – “embrace the bold, abhor the bland.” Specializing in single vineyard designate and county specific wines, Ravenswood makes wines that reflect the growing regions and growing conditions of each vintage. After tasting the wines and discussing their origin and characteristics, you’ll create your own unique mélange of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignane. Take your masterpiece home to share with friends in a 375-ml bottle!

Cornerstone Sonoma Visit & Lunch at Park 121 Soon to be the home of Sunset Magazine’s test kitchen, Cornerstone Sonoma features art galleries, shops, wine tasting, gardens and the iconic Big Blue Chair. Kick off your Cornerstone visit with lunch at renowned Chef Bruce Riezenman’s Park 121. With a focus on freshly prepared seasonal and local cuisine, Park 121 is a Sonoma favorite for casual dining. After lunch, explore Cornerstone’s lovely shops and tasting rooms and wander through the patchwork of walk-through gardens, created by some of the world’s finest landscape architects.

Walt Wines Tasting Enjoy a tasting of current releases as well as several of their most exclusive wines. This charming tasting room combines the warmth of a wine country home with an impressive art gallery and world-class wines. Located on the Sonoma Plaza, Walt Wines produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from California’s Santa Rita Hills, Sonoma County, Anderson Valley and the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Their non-interventionist philosophy allows the wines to express the character of the site where the fruit was grown. Their wines have received 90+ ratings from the Wine Enthusiast, Wine Spectator and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate.

Dinner at Red Grape Voted #1 for Pizza by Sonoma Valley residents, you’ll be breaking bread with locals at this hot spot. Choose from traditional pizzas like margherita or pepperoni or try a more adventurous option such as chorizo and manchego or fig and goat cheese. Whatever you choose, you’ll quickly discover why locals keep coming back for more.

St. Francis Food & Wine Pairing Voted the #1 restaurant in America by Open Table users in 2013, the St. Francis Wine & Food Pairing is a one-of-a-kind experience. At this seated, multicourse meal, Executive Chef Bryan Jones creates an assortment of small dishes to pair with hand-selected artisan wines. Enjoy stunning vineyard views and a fine dining presentation at a shared table. Each seating is hosted by a friendly St. Francis wine expert, creating a relaxing, fun and unforgettable wine country experience.

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Benziger Family Winery Vineyard Tour Get a behind-the-scenes look at the estate and wine caves of one of Sonoma’s best-known wineries. A trailblazer in sustainable practices, Benziger was the first certified biodynamic winemaker in Napa and Sonoma counties. While touring the vineyard, discover how the farm animals, gardens and other techniques contribute to the biodynamic and green farming practices. After a tour of the property, taste why Benziger wines have won the hearts of wine lovers and critics alike.

Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Yes, this is the family that makes founded the eponymous baths and spas! They also make great wine. The family pays homage to its Italian roots by producing many wines from Italian varietals rarely seen in California. After touring this beautiful winery, enjoy a flight of wines that range from Nebbiolo to Cabernet. Buon Appetito!

The Olive Press – Olive Oil Tasting Located at the beautiful Jacuzzi Winery, The Olive Press is Sonoma’s first olive mill. The Olive Press specializes in single varietal Extra Virgin Olive Oils, carefully crafted blends and infused olive oils. While sampling the award-winning wares, learn about the process of producing olive oils and the various varietals – from the buttery Mission olive to the grassy, nutty flavors of the Arbequina olive.

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Ramekins Cooking Class & Dinner Part of Travel + Leisure’s essential Sonoma itinerary, Ramekins offers hands-on cooking classes for the home chef. Learn to create specialties of Liguria, Italy’s north-western coast, such as handmade linguini with creamy genoa pesto, green beans and potatoes and rustic bread salad. After the cooking is done, savor your hard work and enjoying the multi-course meal you just created.