I have always wanted to visit the Californian wine country (along with the Argentinian/ Spanish/French/etc.) so as a little treat to myself for finishing my PhD I decided to make a trip out of it. Matt and I weren't really sure where to start, but I think we did a pretty good job and will probably go back since we have done some trail blazing.
Day #1- Benziger winery
Benziger is a beautiful winery in the hilly valley of a small volcano that was active prior to the 1907 San Fransico earthquake. It is located close to the little quaint town of Glen Ellen and just down he road from the Jack London State Park. All in all a beautiful setting and I would recommend it to anyone. I particularly liked their 2006 Pinot Noir made from grapes grown in the Russian River valley, the 2005 Port, and the 2006 Reserve Chardonnay. I especially liked the winery tour. This winery is a certified biodynamic winery, meaning that it goes beyond organic in the sense that all their practices try to be self-contained and use all aspects of the environment. I especially liked their usage of compost tea (a practice I have been meaning to investigate and learn for myself). This was a great little winery to begin with in the Sonoma Valley.
During our trip our homebase was this cute, hidden away B&B called Beltane Ranch. I loved everything about this place. It had such character and charm and was removed enough from the towns and highway that i felt like I was visiting a less traveled country-side.
The moment we stepped onto the grounds I felt like I was in a peaceful spot. The grounds were beautiful and were abound with olives trees, grape vines, horses, and cows. The ranch immediately gave the feel of a southern antebellum home with it's full wrap around porch and moss covered oak trees. I also loved that it lacked a TV and phone in the room, making it more of a little escape. In addition, the ranch house was ours for the night, being the only guests. This is one place I would love to return to.
That night for dinner, Matt and I went to the Glen Ellen store in town, bought a bottle of wine and dined at The Fig. I had a delicious meal of Spring lamb stew on couscous and Matt had the special which was a duck entree. Everything about this place was nice. I only wished i would have gotten the baked goat cheese- but alas.
19 hours ago