Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sonoma Tour Guide Overnight

As a member of the San Francisco Tour Guide Guild, I often have the opportunity to go on the educational forays they arrange. The most recent jaunt was an overnight trip to Sonoma County to show us the ins and outs of leading a wine-tasting and/or culinary tour there. Of course, to be fully informed, we basically had to eat and drink our way through the county. Talk about tough duty!!!

The first day focused on the Healdsburg area and we actually were running early so we added a stop at Clos du Bois, just of 101 near Geyserville. Our bus broke down at the entrance (talk about good timing!) and our second stop was less than a mile away at Francis Coppola's Winery, so we got in some hiking along with the tasting!

Church window
George at a cute cottage

After lunch in Healdsburg, we got a fabulous tour of the delightful square and downtown area homes from George Webber (who became General Vallejo the next day in Sonoma). The homes were quite charming and made me think it might not be a bad place to move to when our knees can no longer handle the stairs and levels in our house.

Inside of Casino Bus
We got an introduction to a cooking school and sampled crepes we made (well, not me, but everyone else did a great job of flipping those babies) at Relish Culinary Adventures. After relaxing for a bit at our hotel, the Dry Creek Inn (VERY quiet despite being by the freeway), we had more wine tasting and cheese at the hotel, and a short hike to look at Seghesio Winery, which I had never heard of. I LOVED their Barbera....

Then we got a ride to the River Rock Casino in a tour bus like none I have ever seen before. I am not a big casino person and River Rock is just as noisy and obnoxious as I feared. Dinner was here (at least it was comped...) and we finally retired to our jacuzzi-equiped hotel rooms.

Bright and early Wednesday, we headed to Sonoma and the Sonoma Valley Inn, near the square, for breakfast and then a tour around the square with General Vallejo. I finally discovered what the Bear Flag Revolt was all about (it was sort of a Lone Star State thing that only lasted 3 weeks) and moved on to a great lunch at Meritage and then a stop at Ramekins, another cooking school which also has hotel rooms.

Ramekins let us sample some champagne....
We ended the day with a drive up the Valley of the Moon to Deerfield Ranch Winery, which is very big on organic wines. We toured their caves and tasted several types of chocolates with the reds. All in the name of education! Of course, to help support the economy, I ended up with another 7 bottles of wine for our small cellar.....It could be time to expand its storage capacity again!