Wine country highlights

Wine country highlights

This was a trip I’ve wanted to take for years, but the timing was just never right for one reason or another. I’ve almost gone with Ulysses, with friends and with another couple (also friends) but I honestly can’t imagine a better pairing than with Kat. Does that sound cheesy? Yes, indeed. But seriously, Kat knows her stuff when it comes to wine. I know my stuff when it comes to food. And so the two of us in Sonoma & Napa was pretty much amazing.

For as much as I like taking, setting up and editing food pictures, I really don’t enjoy that whole process while I’m out and about “experiencing” something. It seems forced, I’m not as good at it and I’d much rather just live in the moment. My SLR came out maybe 3 times the entire trip. The iPhone, on the other hand, was used to the point of a drained battery every day. Enjoy the pictures, sorry they’re not great (and the ones that are, are stolen from Kat like the one above).

Most of the food:

Wine country highlights

  • Kendall Jackson
  • Zazu
  • Jole
  • Zin (website not working but it’s right in downtown Healdsburg)
  • Willi’s
  • The Girl & the Fig
  • Bouchon Bakery

The wine:

Wine country highlights

  • Kendall Jackson
  • J vineyards
  • Cosentino (favorite wine of the trip CigarZin)
  • Girard
  • Somerston
  • Alpha Omega
  • Hawley
  • Williamson
  • Portalupi
  • Windsor

Things learned:

Wine country highlights

1. I have never drank so much in such a little time and yet never been full out drunk. Impressive and scary.

2. Guilt is the best motivator. We ran & lifted all 3 mornings and it wasn’t my idea any of the days.

3. Spilling miso soup down your pants makes for a very uncomfortable mile walk back to the car.

4. I now know what “tannins” are and mean, I can confidently say all my assumptions of what I “liked” for wine have been completely altered and I will no longer make fun of people in my head for swirling and smelling the wine before tasting. I get it now.

Wine country highlights

Go check out Kat’s post for a way better play by play, better pictures, better explanations of the wine and pretty much a better post all around.


  1. Cait's Plate

    Looks like you ladies had a blast – good food, good wine and good company. Can’t really ask for more than that in a vacation :)

  2. Kelli H (Made in Sonoma)

    So glad you had an awesome trip! You also lucked out with some pretty awesome weather! May is sometimes tricky. I’m so jealous of all the food you ate! Starting to think I might want to do the Food & Wine paring at Kendall Jackson for my birthday next month.

  3. Jess

    YESSSS!!!! Wine country is my MECCA!! We go to Healdsburg every single year the past three years, it is amazing. We rent a house when we go so we can cook each night, pairing it with the wines we bought earlier in the day. I LOVE WIlliamson — we are wine club members, they have the BEST cab and sauv blanc I’ve EVER tasted. Also loooove J Vineyards and Zin!!

    Where did you stay most of the time?? I need details! SO SO SO glad you had a blast (and clearly I’m a wee bit excited over here based on the length of my blog comment, sorry about that ;-)

    1. Gina

      Williamson had an amazing cheese pairing with the wine which was so, so good! And the guy who served us was great (and good looking) so that helped too ;)
      We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Windsor actually b/c of work points with Hilton hotels. Would’ve loved to do the house/b&b thing in Healdsburg but they were SO expensive. Windsor ended up being a great central location though, didn’t regret it at all!
      So jealous you go there every year!

  4. katie @KatieDid

    looks like an unforgettable trip, I can’t wait to do all of that one day. And all that food just looks incredible. I’m still drinking cheap wine, not sure when that will change, but maybe one day!

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      one thing this trip taught me is that it’s not always the most expensive stuff that tastes the best! Granted, I don’t think that applies to wine from a box ;)

  5. Averie @ Averie Cooks

    I love this post and I love Napa & Sonoma. We used to go ALL the time pre-Skylar. It was such.a.blast. I love it up there, almost moved there, but it’s too chilly in the winter. And there’s too much wine…like…everywhere :) Not that that’s a bad thing. Except if you’re trying to not just vineyard hop every day. GREAT POST, Gina!

  6. Cinnamon @ eatpraytri

    Taking a trip like this is totally on my bucket list. I will have to bookmark this to make sure whenever I do eventually go I will know all of the awesome places to hit up!! Looks like an amazing time!

  7. Baking Serendipity

    So fun! A trip to wine country is definitely on my bucket list and has been talked about from time to time, but nothing has worked out yet! Your post has inspired me to step up my trip planning game and make this happen already!

  8. Angie

    I am in Dry Creek staying with cousins (I’m from Idaho), and was talking about a couple of my favorite food blogs with my cousin and her brother’s girlfriend. I open your blog to show them and find you’ve just been here too! We were at a backyard BBQ at the time with the owner’s of Hawley so I got to show them your post. So fun!

    If you make it back to the area I highly recommend you check out Foppiano (Natalie, the girlfriend mentioned above) is the wine maker and is doing a great job with petite syrah. Also make sure to check out the cave at Bella. Ask for Ross and try the Zin and Pinot. Great wines you don’t want to miss.

    Headed home myself tomorrow. Can’t wait to come back.

    1. Gina

      That is crazy! We loved Hawley so much. The woman there was the owner’s niece (I think?) and she sold me the top of a wine barrel which made my day b/c I’d been eyeing them up the whole time to bring back for a background to food pictures! She also gave us the recommendations of Williamson and Portalupi so we owe our entire day in Healdsburg to her basically :)
      I hope I can go back sometime soon and check out those recommendations!

  9. Kathryn

    We’re heading to wine country in the summer while we in the States so I’m going to be coming back to this post time and time again as we plan our trip!

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  11. Julie @ Table for Two

    haha, I thought you were praying into tannis — looks like such a fun trip! i definitely want to make a trip out there some time :) too bad I’m super light weight, I get drunk off 3 wine tastings…yeahhhh ;)


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