It's hard to believe that it's really only been about a year and a half since we got married in Sonoma, CA. So much life has happened, and we both never expected to get the opportunity to go back so soon. When people ask us why we got married in wine country, the answer is always A. We wanted to get away somewhere beautiful that wasn't also our honeymoon destination & B. We really like wine. And cheese. And food. But mostly wine, and only red (although I did get Jordan to taste a Rosé at Benziger... Let's just say it's a little too pink for him, ha.) Needless to say, we were stoked to get a day in Sonoma, and we treated ourselves to a few tastings at our rehearsal dinner and wedding locations.
There was absolutely no planned agenda when we set out for our first stop at St. Francis Winery, which is where we got married. We wanted to get a few bottles there, and hadn't really planned on tasting anything. However, we quickly found ourselves in the middle of a fun tasting after they found out we were practically St. Francis newlyweds (Right?? I'll claim it if I feel like it!). If you're a red wine fan, you've probably heard of Cabernet Sauvignon (we gravitate towards this one mainly), but did you know that the grapes that make a typical Cab wine are from a lineage of grapes called Cabernet Franc? We ended up trying a Cabernet Franc wine, totally fell in love, and snagged some bottles that were the last few from a great year at St. Francis. Fun fact: These grapes were grown on the same grounds where we took our wedding pictures (technically in 2014... but still)! We decided our absolute favorite part about wine tasting + buying is knowing you'll have some great bottles on hand for those really special moments.
Our second stop was at Benziger Family Winery, which is where we had our rehearsal dinner. It's family-owned and operated, and also completely organic. The vineyard the facilities are located on is absolutely unreal. Our rehearsal dinner was in one of the wine caves they set aside for events (they keep the others for wine storage - it's the perfect humidity and temperature year-round!) I kept saying the entire night that I felt like a dragon was going to creep around the corner - it was just a surreal kind of beautiful. We also got a few bottles here, and breached out of our comfort zone (but still red wine - don't worry!) to get some wine that would pair well with things I like to cook (fajitas, poultry, BBQ, etc.) I may or may not have made as many notes at this pairing as I did at Google - no shame in my food + wine game. I highly, highly recommend visiting Benziger and taking one of their tours. One of the coolest parts about visiting wine country is getting to learn about and see the process of making wine, and Benziger's tour is really top-notch in education and scenery.
We ended the day with a short walk from our hotel downtown to dinner at an adorable little place called Harvest Moon Cafe. If you ever visit wine country, Jordan and I both agreed it was smart to stay in the heart of downtown (Sonoma for us - we've not done Napa yet) so you can easily walk to and from dinner. The weather was beautiful, and the restaurant let us re-cork and walk our unfinished bottle back to the hotel. Another word of advice: Ask for advice. We got endless recommendations for restaurants in the area, and were never disappointed. Everyone is so nice up here, and I enjoyed talking to a lot of the locals we ran into on this trip.
On the way back to the airport the next day, we grabbed a quick breakfast in San Francisco at this great little bakery/coffee shop called The Mill. I love seeing all the Victorian and Edwardian houses in San Francisco, and wondering what they look like inside (probably nothing like the Full House set, ha!) We literally had just enough time to grab some coffee and toast before we scurried to the airport for our flight. I kid you not, this toast was epic. And we may have bought some bags of coffee for our French Press at home...
All in all, it was great to sneak away for an extra day, and we made it home just in time to tuck our baby into bed.