The Napa and Sonoma Guides
People often talk about Napa and Sonoma in the same breath: There’s the crazy-beautiful, seemingly endless landscapes, vine-scented air, incredible farm-to-table restaurants, and sprawling hotels that maximize on the scenery. Here, we’ve put together our best discoveries—off-the-beaten path wineries and kitchens, plus all the greats (The French Laundry, Auberge du Soliel)—and divided them into two guides to help you navigate the best of what each region has to offer.
As total winos, we’re constantly taking notes on the best spots in Napa. The classics, like The French Laundry, Opus One, and Auberge du Soleil, will always rank high on our list for continuing to set the bar for food, wine, and ultimate luxury. That said, discovering new-to-us wineries, restaurants, and mom-and-pop boutiques is just as exciting. A short drive from San Francisco (45 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge), and a quick flight from LA, Napa continues to be an easy long-weekend getaway for West Coasters and visitors alike.
The site of California’s earliest planted vineyards, Sonoma Valley is rich in both history and legend—the word “Sonoma” is derived from the valley’s native Pomo, Coast Miwok, and Wappo tribes and means “many moons.” Located between the Mayacamas and Sonoma Mountain ranges, the region envelops a smattering of rustic farms, idyllic small towns, and scenic vineyards, which are consistently churning out some of the world’s best chardonnays. Although easily accessible via a flight into Santa Rosa, it’s a bit more spread out and trickier to navigate than its neighbor Napa Valley, giving reason to why it’s slightly less touristy, but still a worthy destination in its own right.