Hey there! We haven’t seen you in a while. We’re glad you’re coming back to Sonoma Wine Country. Sure, our vineyards are still here and the redwoods and the hills all look the same, but we have a few new things to tell you about—like new restaurants, boutiques, wineries, and galleries, as well as some major hotel upgrades. Read on for what to rediscover in Sonoma Valley…
VINTAGE 2021 UPDATES
For starters, as harvest wraps up, reports from local winegrowers indicate that vintage 2021 looks like a stunner. With drier temperatures, growers were quick to conserve water, allowing for slightly smaller, concentrated grapes expressing intensity, beautiful ripeness, and exceptional flavors. With none of the challenges of previous years, it’s lovely to know we can toast your visit with amazing wine in our glass!
Throughout the last two years, these exciting wineries have sprouted in Sonoma Valley. Look for the tasting rooms on the historic Sonoma Plaza or in small villages of the Valley.
Caddis Wines is located just steps away from the Sonoma Plaza on East Napa Street. This cozy and intimate location is the perfect spot for showcasing their premier, small-production wines. Owned by Courtney and Chris Sorensen, Caddis offers small-town hospitality with world-class wines. Check out their Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Zinfandel!
Sosie Wines are graced with California sun and a little French soul. Rich in fruit but fresh and bright in acidity, these graceful charmers are easy to love. Find their new tasting room in Vine Alley, just off the Sonoma Plaza, where you can taste five of their wines, inside or outside.
La Prenda’s new tasting room is located off of First Street West, a stone’s throw from the Plaza in downtown Sonoma. Chic and airy, this space highlights the beauty of their wines. La Prenda is best known for farming superior grapes and selling them to high-profile wineries; they are now bottling their own wines under their own labels—a great move for all of us!
Wine Snob* Winery is Glen Ellen’s newest gem! Crafting wines that are approachable yet elegant, made from organic and sustainably grown grapes, this winery shows you that you don’t have to be a snob to enjoy good wine. Try their single-varietal wines and unique blends, such as their Rhôsé, a play on Rhone-style rosés.
Taub Family Outpost arrived in Sonoma after two years of extensive renovations on a historic property. This gorgeous space, located at the corner of First Street West and West Napa Street, is always a hub of activity. From their marketplace and restaurant to their hidden, late-night speakeasy upstairs, Taub prides itself on delicious local fare, served with style. Need interesting wines to go? They have a great selection.
Valley Bar + Bottle, just next door to Taub Family Outpost is another new gem on Sonoma Plaza. Known for their high-end farm-to-table fare, limited menu (served family-style) and fabulous wine list, there’s something of a European experience eating here, with all the panache and none of the pretense. A great date night spot!
Harvey’s Gourmet Donut Bar is the latest sensation of the “El Paseo” alley, just off First Street East. Harvey is a longtime and beloved Sonoman, who has set the valley aglow with his delicious, homemade mini-donuts, served hot and fresh to order. Having been located on the West side of town for years, Harvey and his family have added to their locations, offering up their tasty treats, day and night. Watch your donuts being made with his one-of-a-kind mini-donut machine! The coffee drinks- espresso and lattes and more – are perfect complements to the sweet treats.
A quick drive north, up Highway 12, will lead you to Il Fuoco Sonoma. Formerly known as the Cochon Volante, owner Rob Larman and his one-time barbecue haven caught the attention of Guy Fieri’s Food Network sensation, Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. Just a month ago, to shake things up, he transformed the space and swapped the smokers for pizza ovens to create delicious wood-fired pizzas. Grab a glass of wine or beer at the counter and get ready to dig in!
At last, there’s a place in Sonoma where pets can shop! If you’re traveling with your four-legged friend, be sure to visit, WooF! on East Napa Street. Packed with fun dog toys, healthy treats and accessories, your pooch will feel like he’s got all the attention in the world. Let owner Kathy Moreno and her dog friend, Javier, welcome you with open…paws.
Looking for that special boutique to tie your new outfit together? Look no further than Myriad, a new boutique on First Street East in downtown Sonoma! Oozing the boho-chic look that defines Wine Country, Myriad offers beautiful accessories to bring your ensemble to life. Check out their bags, jewelry, hats and scarves to take your look to the next level.
Jason Tinacci Gallery is a happy addition to Sonoma’s historic downtown and arts scene. A longtime commercial food and wine photographer, Tinacci now showcases his bold wine, food, and regional photography in his eponymous gallery, located behind Vine Alley. After your visit, pop down East Napa Street, where you’ll find the newly minted Michael Friedes Gallery, home to Friedes’ colorful abstract art and that of a rotation of visiting artists.
NEW TOUR OPERATORS
Destination Drivers is making its mark on Wine Country travel again after a few years’ hiatus, with a designated driving service that serves to up your wine tasting game. Hire a driver to drive your own car or rental car, and allow them to take care of the rest. Their concierge service is sure to make you feel like a V.I.P.
For those who appreciate unconventional touring, look no further than Rides by Me, a motorcycle with side car that fits up to three people—one driver and two passengers—vintage attire not required! Owner Jerome Ribeira makes it fun with his skilled driving, wine country narration, and a whole bunch of fabulous twists and turns!
Two major luxury hotels in Sonoma Valley shook things up —The Lodge at Sonoma with its extensive design changes and MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa with its new amenities—adding extra panache to the valley’s already stylish and diverse lodging.
The recent design renovations at The Lodge at Sonoma have elevated the hotel to new heights with redesigned rooms that showcase Mission-style architecture, and an open-concept lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows that reveals views of the hills. Rooms now incorporate earthy tones, hand woven Mexican textiles and Native American-influenced artwork, while the lobby restaurant is renamed Benicia's Kitchen, an homage to Benicia Vallejo, an early Sonoma resident. With a focus on casual Latin-inspired cuisine that’s Sonoma crafted, the menu serves up farm-fresh fare daily, as well as an array of beverages from freshly brewed coffee to signature cocktails. At the front of the resort, Michael Minna’s highly acclaimed Wit & Wisdom Restaurant has become a locals-favorite haunt for excellent cuisine and extensive wine list.
The new amenities at MacArthur Place Hotel & Spa complement the already beautiful décor of this boutique, 64-room hotel. They’ve recently added new offerings, including their Design + Wine Excursion, a design-forward wine tasting experience and lunch crafted by a local travel company and architectural writer. In addition, the hotel has partnered with local arts organizations to create an artist-in-residence program, offering workshops and more—a great addition to the hotel’s extensive collection of art! Food lovers will also delight in the newly planted Chef’s Garden, now a prime source of restaurant Layla’s vegetables, flowers, microgreens and herbs.
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All caught up? Sonoma Valley is always changing, while still maintaining the classic California wine country lifestyle. By the time you get here, there’ll be something new to explore – a new show at Sonoma Arts Live, a new trail through the hills, or a new wine event to help you find your new favorite glass. See you soon!