Last week I was so lucky to have the opportunity to go to Sonoma during harvest season. I only had 48 hours, but I covered a lot of ground. Two other journalists and I stayed in the lovely three bedroom farmhouse at Inman Family Wines. We spent the afternoon with Kathleen Inman, a lady like no other. Kathleen’s passion for sustainability extends to a solar powered winery, which produces more energy than it consumes, a new tasting room built from post-consumer recycled materials, and the North Bay’s first privately owned and publicly available electric vehicle charging station, which allows guests to “fill up on sunshine.” Even the Inman office is working its way towards zero waste, with 100% post-consumer recycled paper, soy or water based inks, the use of tree-free labels made from bamboo and sugarcane cellulose, and domestically produced lightweight bottles. This woman is unreal!
Her family winery, the Inman Family Wines currently produces a Russian River Valley Pinot Gris ($30), Russian River Valley Chardonnay ($35), an Olivet Grange Vineyard Rosé of Pinot Noir called “Endless Crush” ($30), Thorn Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir ($56), and Olivet Grange Vineyard Pinot Noir ($56). In extremely limited quantities, Inman also produces a sparkling Brut Rosé Nature (all are beyond fabulous!). The wines are available direct through Inman’s tasting room or website, www.inmanfamilywines.com. This is a MUST-STOP list in Sonoma. Read on for a few of my other Sonoma favorites:
Sonoma has so many incredible wineries, so be sure to stop at Matanzas Creek where charm meets quality. The vineyard is breathtaking, and it sits among olive trees, a lavender farm and gorgeous mountains. It is one of the most beautiful places on earth where wine and lavender is fruitful. Yes, this is the size of the grapes (above) during this time of the year.
At Matanzas Creek, they have an entire lavender garden which is almost as interesting as the wine. I couldn’t decide between wine and lavender lotion so I bought both. Apparently this spot (above) is one of the top places in the U.S to get engaged. I can see why.
For a produce stop, don’t miss Crane Melon Farm, a Sonoma landmark for over 130 years. The Barn is currently owned and operated by father and daughter Rick and Jennifer Crane who are fifth and sixth generation Sonoma County farmers. They are the loveliest, nicest, most genuine people! Along with the Original Crane Melons, they sell Crane yellow watermelons, heirloom tomatoes, Crane Melon Honey, Organic Sonoma County Walnuts, local art and much more! The melons melt in your mouth, and they’re perfectly sweet with peak season in September and October.
This shot (above) was taken at Iron Horse Vineyards, which also should be on your Sonoma to-do list. Their champagnes and wines are divine! A few other “musts” include dining at Zazu Restaurant where Iron Chef Rockstar, Duskie Estes, hosts updated American Classics and The Girl and The Fig, where food and atmosphere is beyond superior. Also, swing by the Epicurean Connection, owned by Cheese-maker, Sheana Davis. She has a wonderful gourmet store, menu and cooking classes. If you’re looking for a unique spa experience, check out Osmosis Day Spa which features authentic Japanese gardens, zen meditation gardens, rejuvenating Cedar enzyme baths, outdoor garden massages, facials and more.