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The Bachelorette Fete – Part III: Destination Wine Country

May 20, 2010

Ok, ladies… settle in for a few minutes. This is going to be a long one.  😉  It’s my recipe for a fun-filled weekend of touring, tasting, and time away with your friends. 

Just one hour from San Francisco lies a little piece of heaven – the Sonoma and Napa valleys, also referred to as wine country!  Now, I love food and I love wine, which is a tribute to my California upbringing, to be sure.  And for anyone who appreciates those two things, this is just the place to go for an elegant and decadent getaway with the girls.  The region is relaxed yet refined all at the same time and it’s simply amazing. 

  
Now, where to stay, you ask?  For the comforts of home, why not stay in one?  A vacation home that is large enough for all the girls in your party would be a great headquarters for your weekend.  If you’re hoping for a few amenities and impeccable service, head to the ever chic and serene Carneros Inn, which is by far my favorite place to stay while in the area.  With vineyards, and a restaurant, and spa (oh my!), it’s the perfect place to soak up the wine country atmosphere. 
Take a deep breath.  Can you feel the relaxation washing over you?

Planning Note: If possible, I recommend a shuttle or limousine service to take you on your tour of wine country. With roads that wind through the mountains and vast vineyards and farmlands, it’s quite easy to get a little lost in these parts. Plus, shared transportation also allows everyone to just relax and take in the moments you have together, without compromising safety. While it might not seem like it, wine tasting DOES catch up with you.
Start your Saturday morning with a lovely brunch at Estate Sonoma Restaurant. The menu features a mix of market fresh ingredients with regional Italian flair.  I highly recommend the Bellini and Eggs Florentine.  YUM!  You’ll also get a kick out of the signage on the outer restrooms doors.  Trust me on this one. 

When I celebrate with my girls, there is nothing I like better than a glass of bubbly.  There is something so sophisticated, yet fun about “champagne” (insiders tip: “champagne” only comes from the Champagne region of France.  Anything made anywhere else is called “sparkling wine”).  But, for a taste of France, take a tour (with tasting, of course) at Domaine Carneros The brick chateau and grounds are simply breath taking and the tour guides are very entertaining.  It’s definitely worth a stop. 
 Part of the Tattinger family, Domaine Carneros is simply some of the best sparkling wine available in the region. And who can resist a sparkling wine flight? Not me!

For the rest of your day, a cheese tasting would be delicious.  Or maybe a stop at one of the numerous tasting rooms or wineries in the Sonoma or Napa valleys. With so many options, it can be tough to pick just one.  But if the bride-to-be has a favorite varietal (Cabernet? Chardonnay? Pino Grigio?), find a wine maker that specializes in that type and it’s sure to go over well. But if it’s still overwhelming, just ask me. I can point you towards a few.  😉
To finish your day, you cannot go wrong with dinner in Santa Rosa at Willi’s Wine Bar for small plates to share, John Ash & Co. with it’s amazing wine country inspired menu, or even The Fig Cafe for a more casual, but big on taste dinner in Glen Ellen.
I think Sundays are “Fun Days” so relax a bit at the spa with the girls and take a few moments to just appreciate all the wonderful things around you… in the scenery, in the air, but most importantly, in the company you keep.  Cheers!

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