My girlfriend and I are heading to Sonoma County later this month -- it will be our second time in wine country. Last time we did Napa only, so this time we are looking to do Sonoma, Dry Creek, Russian River, etc. (accepting that we will not be able to do all of those in 2.5 days). We would really appreciate help in formulating a list of wineries to hit. We have gone through this board fairly thoroughly, but don't feel we have a good sense of how best to accomplish our goals.
Food: We have reservations at the Farmhouse Inn (chose that over Madrona Manor) and are also planning on eating lunch at El Molino central. We are then trying to decide between Willie's Wine Bar, Girl and the Fig, Bistro 29, and BarnDiva for 2 other meals and could use a lunch recommendation in the Healdsburg area.
Wineries: We like chardonnay, syrah, zinfandel, petit syrah and cabernet. Not huge pinot drinkers, but are amenable to having our eyes opened on the chance that we just haven't yet had a really great pinot. (So we would be interested in doing a really great pinot winery in Russian River.) A couple other things. First, we would prefer to go to places with a bit of scenery, either outside or the tasting room itself (e.g., a cave or something). So we would prefer to not go to places that just have a wine counter. We are open to spending up to $25 for a tasting, but would prefer to have a mix of costlier/cheaper places. (In terms of wines themselves, we would go up to about $80/bottle.)
Some wineries we have read good things about, but are not sure whether they fit the above bill: Lynmar, Copain, Ridge, Rafanelli, Swan, Unti, Porter Creek, Pride Mountain, Merry Edwards, Arista and Deerfield. We would really appreciate any thoughts on these, or any other recommendations you may have as we are feeling totally overwhelmed!!!
Edit - My gf wanted me to point out that we REALLY like chardonnay.