Exploring California Wine Country: A Day in Sonoma

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When you hear “California wine country” you probably think of Napa Valley, which is located in Napa County, but the valleys located in Sonoma County are also included in the category of “California wine country.” These areas include Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, Bennett Valley, and Russian River Valley.  During our last trip to California we decided to visit wine country, but we opted for Sonoma County instead of Napa County. While Napa is stunning and has lots of wineries to explore, there are many areas in Sonoma County that are just as nice and are usually less crowded — which is a plus in my book!

Our trip to Sonoma was pretty quick, but we were able to visit two beautiful wineries — Jacuzzi and Cline. Below are a few pictures of our drive to Sonoma, the wineries that we visited, and Sonoma’s downtown plaza, which is a really cute place to dine, shop, and (of course) enjoy more wine. 🙂 

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Our drive into Sonoma was really fun for me. Being a Floridian, I wasn’t used to seeing so many windmills!

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We made a few stops along the way to take in the views and admire how amazing it is that they have built so many windmills! Did you know that the windmills supply nearly 5% of California’s energy supply? Pretty cool!

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Aren’t cows the sweetest? During our trip, we saw SO many cows and I made it my mission to pet one at some point. Most of the cows in these fields were very timid because they never get handled, so unfortunately it was a failed mission during this stop. We did peak their interest enough to get them close for some pics though!

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The other thing that we had to stop and check out was the almond trees; I never realized how many almond farms there were in California, we must have passed hundreds!

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We also passed a few towns with small markets and decided to try some of the local produce. This cute little farmer’s market was perfect for stretching our legs and enjoying some ripe cherries!


Once we made it to Sonoma, our first stop was Jacuzzi Family Vineyards. We chose this winery because they offer free tastings (always a plus) and they have The Olive Press, which is their gourmet olive oil company that I was excited to check out.

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I was really impressed with The Olive Press. They had so many flavors and you could sample every option available. Their oil is a bit pricey when compared to oils that you find in most grocery stores, but the difference in quality was obvious when you tasted it. They also sell unflavored olive oil, and you can sign up for regular home deliveries for nearly all of their products. I would definitely recommend checking this place out if you’re an olive oil fan!

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After enjoying a few samples of wine (and getting stuffed on olive oil drenched bread crumbs!) we ventured outside to explore the courtyard and the vineyards. The atmosphere was so inviting; it was as if we were enjoying a sunny afternoon in Tuscany. The weather was perfect, the landscaping was amazingly kept up, and I really could have stayed forever.

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I’m a big nature lover, so I’m always looking at landscaping and flower arrangements; These roses were some of the prettiest I have ever seen. If only I could have taken a bush or two home with me.. 😉

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These vineyards were really fun to walk through while sipping on a fresh glass of wine!

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After admiring the vineyards at Jacuzzi, we decided to head across the street to their sister vineyard, Cline. This setting was quite different than Jacuzzi — It had more of a mid century American feel, while Jacuzzi was strikingly Italian.

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While Cline was less elaborate, it offered a quaintness that you didn’t get at Jacuzzi. The atmosphere was really laid back and cozy. Just like Jacuzzi, Cline also had it’s own gift shop with wine-themed gifts that were fun to browse through.

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In addition to the cozy, inviting atmosphere near the main house, they also had gardens, ponds, and winding pathways that were so beautiful and fun to explore!

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We wandered around Cline for a couple of hours before leaving to explore Sonoma Plaza, which is Sonoma Valley’s main shopping and dining area.

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This area was so cute! They had lots of shops, wine bars, and restaurants, as well as a few shaded areas with ponds and lots of wildlife all around.

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How perfectly timed is this picture? 😉

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While Sonoma Valley has lots of large wineries with their own vineyards, there are also lots of smaller wineries that have storefronts in Sonoma Plaza. A lot of these brands are just as good but have a lower price point since they have less overhead.

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For dinner we ate at Harvest Moon, which I would definitely recommend. Their food was prepared perfectly and we had no complaints whatsoever!

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After our long day of driving and exploring, we were ready to settle in and relax for the night. On Airbnb we found a cute little place, “Hillcrest Hideaway,” which was great for our one night stay.

If you’re planning to stay for more than a day or two I would recommend checking out some things to do in nearby areas as well. We were in Sonoma for only one day and night, but if we had stayed longer we may have run out of activities other than drinking wine and shopping. (Unless that’s all you’re looking for, of course!)

Until next time!

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