San Francisco Anniversary – Sonoma

I got eight hours of sleep! I feel like a new woman. I seriously love traveling and would never trade the experience it brings me, but man does it impede on my princess-like sleep habits. Unfamiliar beds, staying up late and waking up early for adventures, ambiguous hotel breakfasts, and a lack of clothing options (I do carry-on only pretty much 100% of the time) all wear on me. I am glad to be home with my 100 v-necks and my memory foam bed.

On to the anniversary, which was ah-mazing. We went to Sonoma, California (about three hours north of San Fran) at the recommendation of several people, including Jesse’s uncle and my mom. Apparently it’s much better than Napa. I don’t know what Napa is like, but Sonoma was fantastic, so I think we’ll stick with it from now on.

I left the picture big on purpose so you could see all those wineries! We visited five and it took us nearly all day. There’s hundreds more to visit, I can’t wait to go back. I’ll say though that next time I’d like to have a designated driver. Not because I want to get intoxicated, but because I feel absolutely ridiculous spitting out wine. It just seems wrong.

So, onward to our adventures. We decided to really get a taste of the coast and took the Pacific Coast Highway (an estimated extra 30 minutes out of the way), but it was worth every minute which turned into twice the estimated time because there were cyclists in the road for half our drive.

It was stunning. The Pacific was infinite and with the windows rolled down and the smooth, chilly air coming into the car I felt so exhilarated. At some points it was so cold that the locals were burning wood in their fireplaces and you could smell it in the air. In August. Swoon.

We arrived an hour past our scheduled time of 11 a.m. and went to our first recommended vineyard, Copain.

The was a line waiting at the gate when we got there, so we felt like we were doing pretty good with our choice of vineyard. Most of the wineries will wave a tasting fee with the promise of a bottle purchase, so we decided to just start our wine collection and drop some cash on some California vino. All of the five wines we had were amazing and it ended up being a toss up between the 2007 James Berry Les Copains (my pick) and the 2009 “Les Voisins” Syrah (Jesse’s). Jesse’s choice was $6 cheaper, so Jesse won this winery.

As were were leaving to our next winery, we decided to take in the view.

I honestly couldn’t imagine prettier sights as we sat in those chairs and stared out over Sonoma. The air was so crisp, I thought I was going to overdose on the purity of the oxygen I was inhaling.

Jesse’s uncle recommended Russian Hill, so that was our next stop.

Seriously. This was the view at Russian Hill. It was so gorgeous, I asked about the cost of living there (knowing it was going to be high) and I was told that they affectionately refer to it as “the sunshine tax”. We have plenty of sunshine here in Florida, so I’m thinking they should call it the “zen tax” or the “mental health” tax. Maybe even the “non-oppressive heat and beautiful landscape” tax?

We loved all of the wines at Russian Hill and had a hard time deciding, but surprisingly we both fell in love with the 2009 Late Harvest Viognier. A white that tasted like fresh candy – honey, green tea, and ginger (?) – I’m pretty sure. No wonder we both loved it, it was like wine-tea. Delish.

Both Copain and Russian Hill recommended Sunce Winery, so we scooted on over there next for our favorite wine taste of the day. The ladies at Sunce were so bubbly and wonderful and really took pride in what they do. I am by no means a wine aficionado, so they helped me and Jesse become much better at understanding what we were tasting. Plus, they had vegetarian spaghetti for us!

We tasted the most wines here, but fell in love with the Cab Franc. If you like big, bold reds, buy this wine! Jesse and I were sucking our teeth it was so good.

Next stops were Pellegrini vineyards, which happened to be having an estate sale! Wahoo! Two really great bottles of wine, one Pinot Noir and one Cabernet (for the dry red wine lover piece of this couple, Jesse). They were good, middle-of-the-road table wines that will be nice to drink at a dinner party.

Lastly, we rushed to Martinelli winery. We were running out of time before we had to get back for our date night! I honestly wished we could have stayed longer because the area was beautiful with blooming flowers, a wagon, and a vine trellis. We tried all of their red wines (we’re not big white drinkers, so we didn’t want to spit/waste when we had to get going). They were all amazing, but both of us widened our eyes and gawked at the Zinfandel Vigneto di Evo. It’s seriously a toss-up for me between this one and the Sunce Cab Franc.

I want to go bacccckkkkk. Someone, take me? Anyone. Bueller? Bueller?

Fine. I’ll go by myself. One day. For now, look at our loot.

Jesse and I agreed these are only for special occassions and we plan to save most of them to open on future anniversaries. The way I look at it, he’s stuck with me for at least another six years now. Muah ah ha. Sucks for you, Jesse. ;)

Seriously though, great anniversary. I’ll be back tomorrow with a post about our dinner, which was a revelation. Yes. That big of a deal.



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Posted on by Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA Posted in Adventures, Grubbin'
Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

About Jen Bingaman, M.A. LMHCA

Hi, I’m Jen. I’m a mental health counselor newly residing in Seattle, Washington. I strongly believe in the mind-body connection as the cornerstone of my professional ideology, along with the healing possibilities of puppies, a good glass of red wine, the smell of a new book, and the importance of travel.