Is the California Wine Country on your list of places to visit? Perhaps this year? Events begin as early as spring here in Northern California, and I’m excited for barrel tasting in Healdsburg next weekend. When touring the wine country, one must live the full experience! There’s something so special about sitting outdoors around a firepit surrounded by grapevines sharing a bottle purchased in a nearby tasting room!
Where I live, the wine country includes both Napa and Sonoma, they are adjacent to each other. The Napa Valley is one of the most popular wine tasting destinations in the world. The towns stretching from Calistoga in the northern part of the county down to St. Helena to Yountville in the south are all gorgeous destinations and all the appellations are easily accessible along the Highway 29 route.
Napa feels more elite with its resorts and trendy restaurants, whereas Sonoma is more laid back and spread out, and in between the wineries you’ll pass cow pastures and craft breweries. The Napa Valley has over 500 winery listings so good luck even scratching the surface on a singular visit, but you can definitely have the wine country experience by spending 3 or 4 full days in the region.
Personally, when I travel, I love the Airbnb experience more than staying in a hotel because I can lounge around, make breakfast, and do laundry and feel more like a local. I spied some really cute cottages in the Napa Valley on Airbnb:
The Bungalows in Calistoga (sleeps 4)
Modern Getaway in Napa (sleeps 4)
Cottage with vineyard views (sleeps 4)
St. Helena Cottage (sleeps 4)
Farmhouse retreat in Calistoga (sleeps 8)
Vineyard Bungalow in St. Helena (sleeps 4)
Italian style villa (sleeps 4)
I live in Sonoma County and there are wineries all over but most of the tourists visit the Healdsburg area to the north, or Sonoma in the southern part of the county. You’ll get the full wine country experience in either of those areas because you’ll be surrounded by acres of vineyards with views, and you’ll have a long list of tasting rooms to choose from.
When out-of-towners visit me, I always take them on a Sonoma Plaza tour and to these five favorite wineries, and sometimes I’ll take them through the valley of the moon. Up in the northern part of Sonoma County near Healdsburg, I highly recommend tasting and touring the Dry Creek Valley and/or the Alexander Valley.
Here are a few Airbnb cottages to stay at in those regions!
The Barn in Sonoma (sleeps 2)
Farmhouse Cottage in Sonoma (sleeps 4)
Thornsberry House in Sonoma (sleeps 6)
Kenwood Retreat (sleeps 8)
Hilltop Guest House in Healdsburg (sleeps 2)
Dry Creek Valley Cottage (sleeps 2)
Wine Country Cottage in Healdsburg (sleeps 4)
Farm Stay Apartment in Healdsburg (sleeps 2)
There are two airports to consider if your destination is Napa or Sonoma. The Sacramento airport is about a 45 minute drive by car (assuming no traffic) to Napa. The Oakland airport is a one hour drive by car to Sonoma or Napa. If you’re destination is just the wine country, I’d avoid the San Francisco airport unless you’re planning on a few days exploring the city during your vacation.
Have you visited Sonoma or Napa recently? What were your favorite places?