Sonoma...North vs. South

Well, at least a battle of the palate. Sonoma can basically be divided into the North and the South. Southern Sonoma butts up to the San Pablo Bay along with Napa. You'll find great Chardonnays and Syrah in the south. In the southern valley, you should make sure to visit the historic town of Sonoma itself. There are many tasting rooms in and around the town square, and there are dozens of wineries in the surrounding area. Close by is one of California’s oldest wineries, Buena Vista and one of the Zin lovers favorites, Ravenswood. One of the winery tasting rooms on the square is the newer Envolve! Sound familiar? Remember Ben from “The Bachelor”? Yep, that’s his loving wines you’ll taste there! Don’t forget to stop by Ledson Estate to check out the beautiful tasting room and the gardens. Up north you'll find some of the best Zinfandels in the world in the Dry Creek area, and world class Pinot Noire's in the Russian River area. In the Russian River area you'll also find a strong Italian heritage of wineries. In Alexander Valley over the hill and east of Dry Creek you'll find great Cabs as well as Chardonnay and Zinfandel. Also, this is another one of those areas that you can't cover in at least one or two weeks. I suggest either a three day weekend every once and awhile, of a weeks’ vacation! The perfect place to base yourself is the great little town of Healdsburg. You could spend a whole day there visiting the many, many tasting room around the square, never getting into your car, and walking distance from many of the hotels, inns and B & B’s. There you'll also find many fantastic restaurants such as Scopa, Zin, and the awesome and romantic Madrona Manor. Up the road is one of my favorites, John Ash. Close by in Gyserville you have two great Italian restaurants, Catelli’s and Diavola’s, whose breadsticks are to die for! Of course all of them serve a wide selection of Zinfandel wines to enjoy with your meals. Speaking of Zinfandel, the small triangular vineyard in the picture above is Jackass Hill. This vineyard produces one of the most sought after Zinfandels around. It's produced by Martinelli Vineyards. (HINT: A bit of knowledge!) You can find the vineyard, where they have to tie machinery down so it doesn't roll down the hill, on Martinelli Road, between River Road and Hwy.116. To winos and cork-heads like's magical!