Starting off in the Russian River Valley region, where the moderate temperatures suit Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and into the Dry Creek Valley. Here the morning fog from the Pacific tempers warm days. Stone strewn soils are ideal for concentrating fruit and flavor characters of Zinfandel, the hallmark of Dry Creek Valley, along with Cabernet Sauvignon, and the resulting wines are rock-solid examples of their types. On the white side, Sauvignon Blanc dominates.
Red Car. Combining old and new world techniques, Red Car minimizes manipulation so the fruit can express the cool climate personality of the Sonoma Coast. Red Car produces Pinot Noir, Syrah and Chardonnay. 8400 Graton Road. www.redcarwine.com
Freeman Vineyard & Winery. Owned and run by Ken and Akiko Freeman, they aim to make cool climate Californian Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in sophisticated Burgundian style. Tours & tasting. 1300 Montgomery Road. www.freemanwinery.com
Graton Gallery. Contemporary and traditional paintings, prints, sculpture, jewellery and artisan crafts by over 50 Northern California artists. Art shows in the gallery and sculpture garden change every six weeks. Open Tuesday-Sunday. 9048 Graton Road. www.gratongallery.com
Mexico Lindo Restaurant. Authentic, delicious Mexican food for lunch and dinner, with a festive atmosphere. Specialties include fresh chile rellenos, fajitas and fresh salsa. Open daily. 9030 Graton Road. Tel.: +1 707 823 4154.
The Farmhouse Inn . It is 15 minutes from Healdsburg, in Forestville – and is a food lover’s favourite for its fresh seasonal ingredients. Produce is sourced from the Bartolomei family ranch and local artisan farmers, and the menu changes according to what is seasonably available and at its best. The wine program offers guests the opportunity to taste and experience the finest wines of Sonoma and Napa. Tel.: +1 707 887 3300. www.farmhouseinn.com
The Quicksilver Mine Co. Is an art gallery specialising in Sonoma County and Northern Californian fine art. 6671 Front Street.
Windsor – pays homage to its farming roots, with a growing reputation as an epicurean hotspot and an “eat fresh, eat local” philosophy. So named because in 1855 a Pony Express rider thought it looked like the grounds surrounding Windsor Castle in England!
Hop Kiln Winery. One of America’s finest examples of a historic kiln. Built in 1905, it houses a unique tasting room open daily 10am-5pm. The winery produces bold flavourful reds and fresh bright whites. There’s a scenic picnic area, and the tasting room has cheese, breads, charcuterie from regional artisans. 6050 Westside Road.
North of Healdsburg – The Dry Creek Valley
Montemaggiore. This vineyard is the dream of Vincent and Lise Ciolino, who specialize in Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyards in the mountains high above Healdsburg. Vincent is the biodynamic winegrower, while Lise makes the wines. The elegant, distinctive wines and olive oils reflect the strength and vitality of this secluded mountainside estate. Open by appointment only. 2355 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Tel.: +1 707 433 9499. www.montemaggiore.com
Family Wineries Dry Creek Valley Tasting Room. A co-op tasting room showcasing small producers from the Dry Creek area. 4791 Dry Creek Road. www.familywines.com