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16 Dec 2019

California Adventures: Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

I would love to bang out this post and sound like I’m now some connoisseur on wine but, alas, we drank the wine. All the wine. And the majority of the knowledge I gained was lost somewhere between my 24th glass and the nap I took on the way back to the hotel. Ah well. 

Wine country, California. You can’t not go right? We were staying in San Francisco without a car (and even if we did have a car, you can’t just have one of you drink without causing a major argument on your honeymoon) so I did a lot of research as to how we could have a decent experience of wine country without feeling like we’d missed out or wasted money on a poor quality tour. 

Enter: the Painted Ladies Tour Company. The main thing that pulled me in about these guys was the fact that the tour is in a vintage VW bus. Plus that also means the tour group is a max of 6 plus guide. Sold. 

Our first stop was a photo stop at the Golden Gate Bridge which, given the fog at our last visit, we were more than happy to make sure we got a photo whilst we could actually see it! And then we drove out into wine country which was pretty much exactly how I imagined. The clouds melted as we left San Francisco and we drove through the winding roads, staring at rows and rows of vines in the glorious sunshine. 

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

We visited four different wineries in Sonoma Valley and we had a ball. The tour was absolutely on point. 

Each vineyard we visited was different but equally interesting. Our first stop was a very tranquil setting; huge and perhaps with a touch of glamour. Think the vineyard out of The Parent Trap (if you don’t get that reference, I can’t help you). The second – where we stopped for lunch – was similar, only with a deli. The third was a cute rustic cabin, much more stripped back and relaxed, and the fourth had a cool, underground bar vibe going on, with a hilarious barman who had never seen snow before (blew my mind). 

We didn’t have a tasting session at the second winery but utilised their deli for our lunch stop and we had the tastiest cheeseboard sat in the sunshine. The rest of the group took a break from wine over lunch… Gary and I did not. It just seemed appropriate to go for a glass with lunch so we ended up having more wine than everybody else, which may explain why I fell asleep on the way home. Still, no body could accuse me of not making the most of it. 

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

We tried 6-10 wines in each of the three wineries; white, reds, dessert, ports – the whole hog. And yes, we were suitably pissed by mid-afternoon. Each place had a really informative wine connoisseur who talked us through each wine and the process of how the vineyard worked and the process of making the wines. Even if you didn’t like wine, it was so interesting. Luckily we do, and there wasn’t a wine we didn’t try. By the end of the day, we were firm friends with the other two couples in the group, a little bit in love with the guide and his playlists and convinced we were now wine experts. The whole vibe was really relaxed and civilised and it was such a lovely way to experience Sonoma Valley. 

Ending the day by driving through Californian wine country in a VW bus, with bellies full of wine and The Beatles playing on the radio (the same song I walked down the aisle to) was probably one of my favourite moments of our honeymoon. 

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley

Wine Tasting In Sonoma Valley


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