Sonoma and Napa Valley are a sea of verdant grape vines, dripping with secret richness, and laid down to drink decadently years later. For every epicurean, there is only one destination on the West Coast to play sommelier and quaff the finest wine. The natural beauty and sunshine is just a great bonus.
The light cascading through the branches of a tree in Napa Valley.
Throw back some of the local elixir of the gods at Auberge du Soleil. Sunday Brunch offers a spectacular panorama from the deck skirting the restaurant. The sun casts its appetizing amber glow on the locally sourced dishes. The food is fresh and oozing with seasonal goodness that you can taste. Sit back and take in Napa Valley from grape to glass. The vines light up the ground, with vertical poplars framing the view of the all-encompassing Pacific coast sky. It is a view that can’t be beat anywhere in Napa. Take a moment to amble around the sculpture garden there after brunch as you digest a delectable meal.
The vineyard covered landscape of Sonoma and Napa.
For a meal unlike any other, there is only one place on the West Coast, world-renowned The French Laundry. If its three Michelin stars do not sway you, then the stories of farm to table food served in the intimate 17-table dining room will. The food is mouth watering and whimsical, brought to life by the light and fun touch of the famous chef Thomas Keller. Challenge your conception of what cuisine can be, with vegetables picked that day from the fields, topped off with fresh marshmallows cooked and chopped up at your table. It is the perfect way to spend a few hours with foodie friends, or someone you want to impress.
A winding road in Napa Valley.
To fully appreciate the Napa area, you need a car. It will give you freedom to experience the cornucopia of wine tastings. Just stop by a local establishment and ask for recommendations for the best secret local wineries. Often the bartering of wine will be accompanied with a grand tour of the grounds. Be prepared to see the very grapes you are sampling, and the huge wooden casks that they keep them in. Nothing beats a good bottle of red with a story attached, so make sure that you stock up on your favorites. Mondavi, Beaulieu and Benzinger vineyards never fail to disappoint. There is a wine for everyone, with more unconventional wine tastings that match chocolate pairings to the wine, perfect for those with a sweet tooth. Other offerings include The Olive Press, where you can taste olive oils, the amazing unsung produce of Sonoma. They come in a variety of beautiful bottles that make the perfect gift.
A historic building in Sonoma.
The gem in the Napa Valley is a little village called Sonoma, renowned for its wine stores and boutiques of all kinds. They are all tucked into a cozy and fascinating historical town. See the beautiful old brick and pastel buildings as you stuff your bags with clothes, antiques, and bottles of red, white, and rosé. All found around the Sonoma Plaza. And all produced just a stone’s throw away. When your feet start to ache, nothing beats putting them up at a local café, rewarded with your purchases.
The lovely garden of a vineyard in Sonoma.
For when you may have over indulged in the wine, Sonoma has the cure, it is teeming with incredible spa options. The historical Fairmont Sonoma Mission is a spa famous for being built to incorporate the natural mineral hot springs and the Willow Stream. It’s an impressive 4,000 square foot spa, with private mineral baths and a Watsu pool. The signature bathing ritual provides the full experience of this decadent Romanesque setting. For something more exotic try Osmosis, a secluded five-acre sanctuary of healing in Sonoma County’s coastal hills. Bask in wooden tubs filled with a mixture of finely ground cedar and plant enzymes imported from Japan. Surrendering to the stillness of the bonsai and bamboo gardens, you will soon forget all the troubles in your head.
The verdant vineyards of Sonoma and Napa.
Sonoma and Napa encapsulate the wonders of wine, food, the Mediterranean, and the California sun. Come for a feast for the senses, and stay for the bacchanal ambience. Sonoma and Napa Valley offer you the chance to truly relax in an eternally sunny setting, with delectable libations, just like a Roman Emperor.
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