Winter Weekend in Wine Country

Think winter in the wine country isn’t worth it? Think again! I had the best time with my friend Sarah in Sonoma last month. Many of my friends were startled that I was going to the wine country in December, since that’s not a popular time to visit. I’m here to tell you all the brilliant reasons to book your winter wine country vacation as soon as possible! My only complaint all weekend is that we tried to fit in both Sonoma and Napa Valley. Everyone told me you can “absolutely do wine country” in a weekend. There are 700 wineries in Sonoma alone! I was picturing Sonoma Plaza to be a darling town square, since so many people describe Sonoma as a small town. Clearly those people have never been to a small town in Texas. You could easily spend an entire Saturday swooning over the shops at Sonoma Plaza. This will definitely be the first of many, many Rose Table trips to the wine country!

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table
Fairmont grounds
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn | The Rose Table
Willow Stream Spa
Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table
Girls trip at Fairmont Sonoma

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table

A few reasons to visit the California wine country during the winter:

  • It’s less crowded
  • It’s less expensive
  • Sonoma and Napa Valley have incredible shopping for Christmas gifts
  • The weather is still practically perfect (okay, that’s subjective but it was gorgeous!) in December
  • There’s never a bad time to eat dinner in California
  • The wine tastes just as delicious year round!

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table

Fairmont Sonoma

I cannot say enough wonderful things about Fairmont Sonoma. It has that same quiet elegance that Fairmont Hotels are known for with all the charm of a historic Spanish mission. The beds are to die for and perfectly dressed with fluffy pillows and thick comforters. You’re even given a glass of champagne upon arrival! Don’t miss the spa: the bathing ritual is the most European spa experience I’ve had on US soil. The spa is reason enough to visit Fairmont Sonoma year round! The resort is also just minutes away from Sonoma Plaza and a plethora of wineries.

Tour Fairmont Sonoma:

Watch my Room Tour video:

Read my full Fairmont Sonoma review here.

Benziger Family Winery Partners Tour | The Rose Table
Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Family Winery

Benziger Family Winery is the quintessential California winery with a twist: it’s actually a step above organic. Color me impressed! They’ve got it all: olive trees, sweeping views, a wine cave, and great wine. Even on a dreary, overcast day, Benziger was stunning. We did the partners tour and got to taste a ton of Benziger wines in the wine cave after touring the vineyard. What a way to spend a Friday! Read my article about Benziger here.

Sonoma Plaza

Dinner at OSO Sonoma

After Benziger, we headed to Sonoma Plaza for a quick bite at OSO Sonoma. We split six raw oysters and hummus with feta, parsley, paprika, and grilled bread. I am still dreaming about my shrimp and  cheesy grits with bacon. Heaven help me, I could eat that every Friday night. Afterwards we walked around Sonoma Plaza, enjoying all of the glittering lights.

OSO Sonoma Review | The Rose Table
Hummus
OSO Sonoma Review | The Rose Table
Shrimp and cheesy grits
OSO Sonoma Review | The Rose Table
Oysters

Cozy Fire

After dinner we lit our fire bag, popped some champagne, and cozied up in spa robes for the loveliest girl’s night!

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table

Breakfast at Sante

We ate breakfast at Sante on Saturday morning: crab eggs benedict for me (if there’s benedict on the menu, I’m probably ordering it), chilaquilles for Sarah. Both delicious and hearty, which is good when you have multiple wine tastings on the agenda!

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table
Crab eggs benedict

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table

Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn Review | The Rose Table
Breakfast at Sante

Willow Stream Spa

I smelled like a cookie all day thanks to my hot buttered rum sugar scrub and massage. I just had a massage last week and my massage therapist raved about how soft my skin is, six weeks after my sugar scrub at Willow Stream Spa. Now that’s impressive! We also squeezed in a quick bathing ritual (which includes a mineral water soak, rain tunnel, eucalyptus steam, and dry sauna) and felt completely refreshed by the time we walked out.

Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn | The Rose Table
Willow Stream Spa
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn | The Rose Table
Willow Stream Spa
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn | The Rose Table
Willow Stream Spa
Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn | The Rose Table
Willow Stream Spa

We finally got cleaned up and headed out for our first wine tasting of the day!

Buena Vista Winery Tour and Tasting | The Rose Table

Buena Vista Winery

Our first wine tasting of the day was at Buena Vista Winery, just minutes from Sonoma Plaza. Buena Vista has an old world European feel with cobblestone paths, secret passages, and ornate wine bottles. The Count gave us a private tour and I wish y’all could have seen my face when I walked in to the bubble lounge. Oh wait! You can. Just watch the video below. Read my article about Buena Vista here.

Sonoma Plaza

Make sure you have enough time to explore Sonoma Plaza. It’s much larger than I was anticipating and full of lovely little shops. You could easily spend several hours shopping. Sonoma Plaza is also home to the original Williams-Sonoma.

Original Williams-Sonoma

Sweet Scoops Ice Cream

Don’t even dream of going to Sonoma without going to Sweet Scoops Ice Cream. I got three scoops and had zero regrets. It’s a tiny, cheerful shop that serves up practically perfect ice cream. My favorite was the Basque Cookie, made with cookies baked daily by nearby Basque Boulangerie. I didn’t have time to stop into Basque (we were practically sprinting from activity to activity) but it’s at the top of my to do list on my next wine country visit based on the ice cream alone.

Sweet Scoops Ice Cream Sonoma Review | The Rose Table
Three scoops, zero regrets

Sweet Scoops Ice Cream Sonoma Review | The Rose Table Sweet Scoops Ice Cream Sonoma Review | The Rose Table

Black Stallion Winery

The drive from Sonoma to Napa Valley is quite fun. We got to Black Stallion Winery just as the sun was starting to dip down to kiss the vines. We toured the barrel room, the production facility converted from an old farm, and the educational vineyard that shows many types of grapes. Bucephalus was my favorite Black Stallion wine – no surprise there, since the bold red is named after Alexander the Great’s epic stallion.

Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table Black Stallion Winery Napa Valley | The Rose Table

Shopping in Napa Valley

I wish we had a whole other day to shop in Napa Valley! I was ill-prepared for how large downtown Napa would be. We didn’t have too much time to shop but I do have to give a shout out to Boho Lifestyle. I bought a new dress, a fabulous cross body bag, and a ton of Christmas gifts. Bring comfortable shoes because Napa Valley is filled with adorable shops all within walking distance of each other.

Torc

Sarah and I talk about this dinner frequently. Torc, we love you. And I love blogger Vogue in Vines for recommending it! We loved every bite of this hearty Italian restaurant. I highly recommend ordering the pakora (crunchy sweet potato bites with a yogurt sauce), beet salad, and lobster risotto.

Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table
Potato croquettes
Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table
Sleeping beauty apple dessert
Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table
Lobster risotto
Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table
Truffle pasta
Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table
Beet salad

Torc Napa Valley Review | The Rose Table

On Sunday we had a dainty breakfast of pancakes and bacon at Sante and did the bathing ritual at Willow Stream again – it’s that good! – before getting cleaned up and heading to our last vineyard of the trip.

BR Cohn Winery Tour and Tasting | The Rose Table BR Cohn Winery Tour and Tasting | The Rose Table

BR Cohn Winery

We had breakfast at Sante again and went back to Willow Stream for another bathing ritual because it’s just that good. Before saying goodbye to the wine country, we snuck in one more wine tasting at BR Cohn Winery. It’s just five minutes from Fairmont Sonoma and looks positively idyllic. I can’t even decide what the best part is: the picturesque olive groves, delicious food and wine pairings, happy roses, live music, or Oyster Mike. Either way, this is a very Rose Table place. Read my article about BR Cohn here.

Book this Trip:

Watch the wine country episode of The Rose Table:

Cheers,

TRT_Logo_V4_PantoneDon’t forget to follow/like The Rose Table on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram! Sign up for The Rose Table’s emails here.

Disclaimer:  This article is intended to be a general resource. Any recommendations are based on personal opinion. A portion of this trip may have been compensated but opinions are my own, always. I’m not a fan of negativity so if I don’t like something, I don’t write about it.

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