I’m pretty thankful for the fact that I live so close to wine country. It’s easy to gather some friends, get on the highway, and find yourself among the vineyards within an hour. While I used to take advantage of this much more when I was newer to the city, it never gets old having a #wineday. And going during autumn is my absolute FAVORITE time of year to experience wine tasting. The vineyards are colorful (not just green), it’s a bit slower paced, and I can get wine drunk while wearing comfortable sweaters. WINE WIN! I personally gravitate towards Sonoma over Napa because it is less touristy, has cheaper tastings, and people are more down to earth. Not to mention it’s a tad bit closer to the city, and less time in car = more time drinking, so LET’S GO!
I love starting out tasting sparkling wine first because it’s a great way to ease into your day, especially when you start tasting at 11am. Domaine Carneros is my absolute favorite sparkling tasting experience; the view is amazing, the wine is very dry (just what I love), and they have caviar! I love getting all bougie up in there because I am not bougie in real life so it is an all around cool experience. (Caviar should be round, and hard, and of adequate size, and should burst in your mouth at *precisely* the right moment. #overboardforever).
Gloria Ferrer is another good option for a day starter and is close by in Sonoma, but you might have to wait if you don’t have a reservation. I know a lot of people like Domaine Chandon as well, but it’s a bit too crowded for me on a normal day. I like to go when there isn’t anyone there so I can have a good seat and order oysters, because #idontlikecrowds #introvertproblems.
I’ll be makin’ room for some more vino in this sweater dress ❤
Another fun spot is Cuvaison. This is probably my favorite place in Sonoma. They are small but have a GREAT VIEW, fun people work there, and the wine is on point! I could spend an entire afternoon just lounging outside on the patio. They also released a new wine with label artwork by THEE Andy Warhol! Super artsy and different – check.
I mean, LOOK AT THAT VIEW!
I usually almost always stop by one of my longstanding favorite spots, Bartholomew Park. You can’t buy the wine anywhere other than at the vineyard, they have a gorgeous picnic area and hiking trails, a wine history museum, and THE BEST sauvignon blanc this side of New Zealand! Srsly check them out if you make your way to the area.
John & I at Bartholomew last year on a hot summer day. You can honestly have a fashion shoot in these vineyards, as I have had many times…
Some things to note:
- Most places comp your tastings if you buy a bottle so if you end up liking something it’s almost always more cost effective to buy a bottle rather than just pay for the tasting (depending on how $$$ it is).
- You WILL have wine lips so it’s good to have wine wipes close by as to not embarrass yourself.
- DRINK WATER!
- Take fun pictures in the vineyards drunk that you can show off to your crew later. “Hey guys, I found my new profile pic!! New Christmas card, anyone?”
- In the holiday season, always wear ugly sweaters. Sometimes you might be surprised at how amazing people will treat you in an ugly sweater.
- It’s easy to walk into another party’s limo; I recommend not doing this unless you purposely want to start a commotion – then proceed.
- Have a great time 🙂
Ugly sweater extravaganza a few holidays ago.