Day 4: Sonoma Valley

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  • 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.
    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.
    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!
    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.

     

    Above is the Rubicon Estate.  While you may not be familiar with that name, you may know it’s wines, Francis Ford Coppola.
    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!

     

    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.
    I’m sure the wines would have been lovely.
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