Wine Down

Fall in Love with Sonoma All Season Long

Article by Alison Bailin Batz

Photography by Courtesy The Lodge at Sonoma, Autograph Collection

Originally published in Scottsdale City Lifestyle

California’s first wine-making grapes were planted by Russian colonists in Sonoma County in 1812. Since then, Sonoma has grown to more than 425 wineries. Today, thanks to daily 90-minute flights from Sky Harbor Airport, it is easier than ever to plan a wine country adventure. Here is a head start to your planning.

The Lodge at Sonoma

The region’s best accommodations seamlessly blend the region’s distinctive beauty with California-inspired gastronomy and extraordinary amenities. The Lodge at Sonoma, an Autograph Collection hotel, checks all the boxes thanks to a recent renovation. The property’s mission-style architecture was preserved, while a refreshed front drive features lush landscaping and a unique fountain with fire features. Upon arrival, guests are greeted by an open-concept lobby with floor-to-ceiling windows revealing nearby rolling hills. Each of the property’s 182 rooms, suites, and cottages also underwent a facelift, many now with soaking tubs, vineyard views and/or cozy fireplaces. The Lodge also features chef Michael Mina’s first wine country restaurant in Wit & Wisdom; High Horse Bar, a horse trailer-turned-poolside cocktail bar that pokes good-natured fun at the neighboring wine country of Napa; and Raindance Spa, which offers treatments highlighting indigenous botanicals.


Buena Vista

A few miles drive from The Lodge is Buena Vista, which was founded in 1857 as California’s first premium winery. Take your time here to breathe it all in, ideally with a private seated tasting experience in one of Buena’s historic caves. Bonus: it is just minutes from The Lodge.

Gundlach Bundschu and Abbot’s Passage

Also just a short drive from The Lodge is one of Sonoma’s crown jewels in the 160-year-old Gundlach Bundschu. Rather than a glass, bottle, or even basic wine tasting, opt for the Heritage Reserve Private Tasting, a sampling of the brand’s top varietals paired with elevated small bites. And a stone’s throw is Abbot’s Passage, headed by sixth generation vintner (and Gundlach co-owner) Katie Bundschu. It is the sneaky best spot for small-lot blends sourced from storied local vineyards. Here, book the Shuffleboard Social Club and enjoy shuffleboard amid the vines.

Benziger Family Winery & B.R. Cohn

This ultra-sustainable winery offers tours of its biodynamic vineyards via tram, followed by a cave tour and then a seated tasting experience that proves it pays to go green. If coming from The Lodge, make a pit stop at B.R. Cohn en route, where there is and often live music not to mention tarot card readings with a tasting.

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