Sonoma Valley

LAST UPDATED: May 05, 2021 | PUBLISHED: Apr 06, 2011 | By:
I want to share our recent getaway with you.  Our third day in California started at the Beltane Ranch in Sonoma.  Just a short drive from Napa Valley, but already much more peaceful and quaint.  The long drive leads to a side entrance where the Beltane Ranch pickup is parked.
A truck is parked in front of a house.


Julie posing in front of a white truck.
The photo below was taken in the gardens in front of the home.  The Beltane Ranch is home to vineyards, olive groves, cows, clydesdales and hens to name a few.  They have their own Sauvignon Blanc and make their own olive oil!


Julie posing in front of the vineyard.


Cows standing next to a tree.
Chris befriended the cows, I, the clydesdales.  The grounds and the views were so breathtaking, that you will never want to leave!  For more on the beautiful Beltane Ranch and our decadent breakfast there, click here.
Julie standing next to two horses.
A person sitting at a table with wine and crackers, over looking the valley.
An afternoon “snack” at Gundlach Bundschu.  We enjoyed their picnic grounds and watching the bottling process from the tasting room.
Julie and her husband taking a selfie in front of the valley.


A path lined with trees and bushes.
One of our highlights was a quiet walk through Bartholomew Park.  A resident told us it was seldom used.  All I could think about was hosting a wedding there!  Chris reminded me as I was walking out the grounds to see how many tables I could fit, that we didn’t live there.


The gates opening to a big, white house.


A man standing on a sidewalk posing in front of a building.


The grounds of Buena Vista Winery were so serene.  The winery is a Historic Landmark.
A white house during sunset in Sonoma Valley.
Above is Arrowood Winery.  We truly enjoyed our tasting there.  The staff was friendly and informative.  It was the only winery we visited that sold by the glass as well.  After a few tastings and sharing a bottle of wine already, a glass of wine to top off our tasting was just perfect.  After all, we wanted to indulge on the view from their beautiful wrap around porch.
By day four, we were feeling relaxed and rejuvenated.  After enjoying an amazing breakfast at our Bed and Breakfast, the Beltane Ranch, we took a short drive to Ravenswood Winery.  They offer a tour at 10:30 daily.  They are just a little different from other wineries for a variety of reasons, which made for a fun visit!  First of all, our guide truly loved his job and it reflected in our tour.  Ravenswood is certified organic, so it was interesting to see how their vineyards worked in comparison to other wineries.
A vineyard in Sonoma Valley
They allow wildflowers/weeds to grow between rows unlike other vineyards.  They also utilize bat houses, prune later than traditional wineries and have an area designated to draw in “good” insects.
A man next to three barrels of wine.
Remember at Mondavi where the barrels were beautifully painted as to not show splatter?  Yet another way this winery differed.  Above, you’ll see our tour guide drawing a sample from a barrel that will not be ready for another 10+ months.  As you can see, my husband was delighted to partake!
A man standing in front of a barrel
A vineyard in Sonoma Valley
Benziger was a pleasant surprise. The hillsides were beautifully carved and we learned that they are certified orgranic and biodynamic!  In lieu of pesticides and fertilizer, they too use composting, insects, etc to keep the vineyards healthy and balance.  To read more visit here.  We simply tasted at Benizger, but I highly recommend a tour if you have time.


A tan and orange with trees in the background.
Above is the Rubicon Estate.  While you may not be familiar with that name, you may know it’s wines, Francis Ford Coppola.
A tan house with trees and shrubs in front.
The grounds at Chateau St. Jean were my personal favorite.  Gardens surrounded multiple buildings.  We enjoyed a private tasting in The Chateau {shown above}.  It was built in 1920 as a summer home for the Goffs and was impeccably furnished!  What I wouldn’t do for the leather chairs there!


Julie and her husband sitting on a bench.
I have a confession to make.  When researching our trip, we received numerous recommendations to visit Ledson Winery.  It was a must visit for us, however, by the time we made it there, I had tasted too much for the day.  Instead, we enjoyed a walk around the grounds and a quick walk through the winery. Fortunately in addition to wine, they offered an array of cheeses and crackers, so we took advantage of the picnic grounds and relaxed for an hour.  It was a perfect end to a perfect day, well, until dinner!  We dined at The Fig Cafe.
Julie and her husband taking a selfie in front of a dark brown house.
I’m sure the wines would have been lovely.