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Please help me chose which Sonoma and Napa wineries to visit

Halifax | Apr 4, 201005:46 AM

Chowhounds - I have received much helpful guidance for our upcoming trip to Sonoma and Napa in May. Thanks!

I thought I would start a new thread asking for advice specific for winery recommendations. I have done searches, but there is a lot to chose from, and I notice that the results that come up are usually quite old. So I am asking for more help.

A few points to bear in mind: I have never been to Sonoma or Napa; I am a wine tasting rookie; I would like to learn; I am most interested in fun and personal experiences. I don't feel the ned to visit a million wineries, but would rather spend more time at the ones we do go to. I have a few places in mind, but nothing is carved in stone. I am not focused on any specific type of wine.

We will be driving to Sonoma County on a Monday. We are planning to stop at the Fremont Diner for lunch and will then make our way to Kenwood, where we are staying that night. My thinking is that we may stop at one winery along the way, before getting to a longer tasting/tour experience closer to in Kenwood. For a longer experience I am considering Deerfield, Chateau St. Jean, Kunde, or Benzinger. There are also some comments about Kenwood and Landmark.

The next day, the plan is to drive the Trinity Road shortcut with Yountville being the ultimate destination. The loose plan now is to stop at Lookout Ridge, and take the slight detour to Makayamas. I don't know much about either of these. Based on Chowhound posts, I have also sent a request for an afternoon tasting at Shafer. It seems to me that, at most, we would be stopping at one more drop in type tasting, but that may be pushing it as we have 5:45 dinner reservations.

The last day in wine country will be spent entirely in Napa. We have friends who have recommended Crocker Starr and Keever (if we can get in?). I've seen lots of love/discussion about Pride. Our concierge has suggested a few also: Swanson; Hall Rutherford; Elyse; Viader; and Cliff Lede. The only one of those that I have read any meaningful discussion on is Cliff Lede, and the feedback looks mixed. I have not looked at many options yet for that day.

As mentioned above, the options mentioned are preliminary, so if I am missing something, or am headed down the wrong path, please chime in.

Thanks again.

Fremont Diner
2660 Fremont Dr, Sonoma, CA

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