i may be a city girl, but i like the peaceful serenity of a rustic country life every now and then. annnnd, i like good wine.

Roman God of wine & the grape harvest

needless to say, wine country called to me like the ocean calls a pirate. Jess and i woke up early on the day we’d decided to drive up to Napa & Sonoma from San Francisco, eager to spend a day touring the wineries and taking in the beautiful landscape. we knew this was going to be a definite highlight of the trip.

map me out a wine tour, will you?

we got there around 10:30 am (thankfully, most of the wineries open at 10), and the first one we hit was Schug Carneros Estate Winery in Sonoma. we hadn’t heard of this one, but we had to start somewhere, so we pulled in.

Schug Winery in Sonoma

it was the smallest one we went to, but a nice, understated place to begin, and the staff was extremely friendly. it was also very well priced: we did a 5 wine tasting for $5. i really liked their Savignon Blanc and ended up buying a bottle.

it was also a beautiful view, stretching out over wine country on a crystal clear morning in late August. we couldn’t have hand-picked a better day.

view from Schug Winery

 from here, we drove into the heart of Sonoma to  Sonoma Plaza (or Sonoma Square),  which we’d been told was an absolutely lovely little center offering shopping, wine tastings, bakeries, eateries, and the like.

we fell in love with it…because really, what’s not to love?

right around the corner from center square was the next winery we haunted — and it was a gooood one. so good, that we returned to it again later on that evening, after visiting two more wineries in Napa.

we were so glad we stumbled upon Sebastiani, and we got realllly excited about the “Crushpad” sign for a hot second, hoping we’d be squishing our bare toes in grapes. that never happened, but regardless, this winery was a big hit. if you’re ever in Sonoma, go here, and take advantage of the free tour, too. it’s pretty dang sweet.

the tasting room is set in an incredible castle-esque structure with stunning arched cathedral ceilings and a rich stone and wooden interior, with a long stretch of bar gracing one whole wall. we were captivated from the moment we walked in, when Jess immediately spotted a wooden table she wanted and i asked the pourer, “so what’s a girl gotta do to get a job around here?”

"This is the table I want!"


"Look, an 'S' for Shawna! Okay, so it's probably for Sebastiani, but whatever...I need a picture."

we partook in their Regular Tasting option, which allowed us to try seven (amazing) wines for $10. (okay, well, eight actually, because the guy had a particular favorite that wasn’t on the tasting list that he wanted us to try…it’s nice being a girl!). i kid you not when i say we liked every single wine, and we both ended up buying a bottle of the Red Zinfandel. it was delicious (and still sitting in my apartment awaiting a good excuse or special occasion for the drinking!).

fortuitiously, we finished our tasting just as a tour was about to begin: they offer (free) historic tours every day, three times a day. the tour lasted about a half hour and walked us through the history of the winery, the importance of a wine maker’s calendar, and concluded with a view of one of the distilling rooms with the vats and vats of wine. i think the tour guide thought i was joking when i asked if we got to stomp on grapes.

 and as our good luck would have it, we happened to be there on the last Friday of the month, which meant party night at Sebastiani and “food truck” night. every final Friday the winery remains open til 9pm, and a variety of food trucks set up in their parking lot and people come to enjoy wine and outdoor eating in their lovely courtyard. after a full day of traipsing to four different wineries (the final two are coming in my next post!), we returned to Sebastiani to find a picture-perfect lawn party in full-swing, complete with a fabulous band and a beautiful sunset. clearly, we hit Sonoma on the right day.
and no, i didn’t pick up an application.

Clearly, I belong here.