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1st time in Sonoma for wine novices

mtang | Apr 16, 201208:55 AM

Hi all,

I've trailed through various posts to pick out a few to-dos for a 1.5 day stay in Sonoma (full day of 14th & morning of 15th), and my eyes glazed over the multitude of suggestions, wine expertise and experience. I've also looked through the Sonoma County farm trail to identify some farms that we could visit. My husband and I are infrequent wine drinkers who have done wine tasting tours in Australia and would love to visit some vineyards and farms in our short stay. So the focus isn't on tasting exceptional wines, but on the experience (of course we'd like to taste good stuff too so that we can develop a much better appreciation for it!). We'd need patient staff to explain and educate us novices! We'd like to taste olive oil, cheese and local produce as well. Too bad it's not the season for peaches and other yummy fruits! We're staying in Forestville.

I'd greatly appreciate comments or suggestions ...

My original picks (to be done in around 6+ hr)
Preston Vineyards - for wine, olive oil, farm store and a self-guided tour of farm
DaVero - for olive oil, not sure about the wines
Ridge Lytton Springs - because it's mentioned so much here and is between DaVero and Preston
Kozlowski Farms - for the retail store (it's just 10min from where we're staying)
New Carpati Farm at Sebastapol - for mushroom picking
and lunch somewhere in Healdsburg.

What I can't find - a cheese making tour and tasting place that's not too far and open on a Mon!
I'd be happy to hear about any other farms that you think are worth visiting... it's a pity that we can't stay till tues afternoon to visit the Healdsburg Farmer's Market!

What else I've seen recommended from various posts -
Pride Vineyards - it has come very highly recommended from a friend who visited it, but is in the wrong direction from all the other places I thought of visiting. Is it worth a 100min ride two ways from Forestville? Are there stops along the way that would make the journey more worth it?
Bella Vineyards - it's near Preston, and the 2hr cave & vineyard tour sounds interesting, but it may mean giving up something from my original picks, is it worth it to ditch something else (eg. DaVero, Preston, Ridge?) for this or just add it on?
Lynmar - gets a number of mentions as well.

This is probably going to be our only trip to Sonoma in our lifetime because we live almost 8000 miles away, so I'd really appreciate advice!

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