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The Perfect North Sonoma Day Trip

We've done all the hard work of planning it—now go do it.

Vineyards at Jordan 


Wine country is enormous. With all that ground to cover it would be a fool’s errand to try to see, much less enjoy, all of that wine country in one day. In this new series of stories, we are separating Sonoma and Napa Counties into three easy to decipher areas—north, middle and south—to cut down drive time and maximize your wining and dining. (Check out our previous guide to Northern Napa.) Northernmost Sonoma County is known for country charm, reasonable prices, and earthy reds and well-balanced whites. Here is a day trip filled with options that showcase some of the best that northern Sonoma wine country has to offer:



If you leave San Francisco bright and early you can make it to northern Sonoma in about an hour and a half on the 101. If you can manage to wait, head all the way up to Cloverdale and start your adventure at local’s favorite Plank Coffee.

Your first stop will be at Icaria Creek, located at the northernmost part of Alexander Valley, in Cloverdale, a quaint town of friendly folks. There are a few wineries around here, but you’ll be surrounded mostly by vineyards and farms. Here you often get to hang with laidback winemaker Jeff Smith. Tastings are only $15 per person. Expect a relaxed experience as you sip his iconic zinfandel, balanced and spicy cabernet, and refreshing chardonnay, on a hillside overlooking vineyards. Appointment only.

Head south and west to Bella where you’ll voyage deep into their wine caves and taste through five feisty red wines for $25 per person. The caves are filled with aging reds (ask for a barrel sample). Taste jammy zinfandel and leathery syrah during your 45-minute stay in the caves. For $65, Sign up to blend your own wine in their 90-minute blending session for. Appointment only.


Your best bet for lunch is to head into Geyserville. Go to the Geyserville Grill for fresh salads and sandwiches on the patio. Try Diavola Pizzeria for pizza and house cured salumi and sausages. Or stop in to historic Catelli’s for handmade ravioli and truffle fries.

Lunch at a winery? If you’d rather dine at a winery, try one of these two options. Jordan has a renowned chef and award-winning culinary options. Or head to Rustic at Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville for its have a diverse menu, family-friendly atmosphere, and all kinds of cool movie paraphernalia.


Just south of Geyserville you’ll find a warm welcome at Trentadue. Here you can take a gondola tour for $25 per person—although its less a gondola like you’d find in Venice so much as a cart pulled by a tractor through the vineyards. If being pulled through the vineyards behind a tractor doesn’t strike your fancy, they offer a series of experiences that range from a tasting in the courtyard ($20 per person) on a nice day or a private reserve tasting by the fire ($25 per person) if it’s cold.

Head further south to Healdsburg for a tasting or custom experience at Jordan. While the wines truly drives at Jordan, their events, culinary experiences, hikes, gardens, and generous hospitality are often what people remember most. A must-visit for my family when we are in the area, the vine-covered walls to the walks through the fields seem designed to match the chateaus you only see in the movies. Tastings and experiences range from $35 to $125 per person. Appointment only.


There are celebrated restaurants all over this posh city, but few match the culinary prowess of Valette. The simplicity of their dishes draws locals and tourists alike. So make those reservations early.

Barn Diva is known for its intricate locally-sourced cuisine, which highlight the bold flavors of seasonal vegetables and dishes with creative sauces and flair. They also have a great bar.

If you want to keep it classy you can’t go wrong with Dry Creek Kitchen. For a little fun and some great drinks try Spoon Bar or the family-friendly Bravas Bar de Tapas.


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