When we originally planned this vacation, our goal was to head directly up to Sonoma after the wedding, we LOVE Sonoma. Then the fires began and our plans changed. The couple we were traveling with were very nervous about the fires and the residual side effects of whatever toxic stuff had burned but my hubby and I would have stuck to our original plan if we were solo. So on Tuesday when our friends were flying out to head home, we booked a car, an Airbnb and were off to Sonoma! Our first stop was one of our favorites, Ravenswood Winery. Last time I was in Sonoma I was pregnant with our first son, so while I was the ultimate Designated Driver, it was torture smelling all the wines but not having any! It was payback time. I distinctly remember how delicious the Ravenswood wines smelled from my previous trip so I was really excited to head back. Since all of the vineyards were just getting back on their feet after a two week hiatus we were the only customers so our amazing wine connoisseur, Nancy, gave us the best tasting we’ve ever had there. It was a beautiful day and sitting on their terrace was pure bliss. Although we could clearly see the fire line in the hills. It was a distinct line in the hills and not very far away from where we were sitting. We leisurely drank our wine as Nancy came back and forth with our tastings. She sat and chatted with us. She told us how everyone in the area with a tractor had gone out and dug up earth in helping with the fire. It created a barrier for the fire to cross and helped stop it from spreading. Nancy told us how the community truly came together to help each other it was inspiring. After a couple of hours with Nancy she gave us a list of recommendations of other vineyards to visit and we were off on our way.
On Nancy’s recommendation we headed into Sonoma Plaza to another tasting room at Corner 103. It was our first time there and the location is prime on the corner in Sonoma’s “downtown” area with great views of Sonoma Plaza. Brent was our host there and from speaking to him I thought he was the owner but not in an arrogant way. He just cared about the venue and the wine as if it were his own and how the fires had affected the area. The interior is sleek and new but had a faint smoke smell despite of the fact that it had been professionally cleaned. I told Brent the story of when my house burned down when I was 16 and how the smell was reminding me of that and how certain items that made it through still carry that same smell. We chatted with another patron in the tasting room who happened to be an employee at Buena Vista winery which was next on our list but first I needed to sober up a bit. So we did a little shopping.
We went a couple of doors down and I tried on a dress but it wasn’t really my style and the sales woman recommended we try a boutique a couple of doors down named Bella Vita. So as we headed that way everywhere we looked there were signs made for the emergency personnel who had helped saved Sonoma. There wasn’t a store without a sign. It was inspiring. I could see what Nancy was talking about. We made it to Bella Vita and within a couple of minutes in the store my husband had picked out the perfect dress. It even had pockets! We moseyed over to Sonoma Cheese Factory for some charcuterie and then stopped in Global Heart Fair trade for a Christmas ornament. I like to collect Christmas Ornaments on vacation. It makes decorating the tree more fun and personal! We got back to the car and headed to Buena Vista winery.
I had been following Buena Vista on Facebook and knew it was their first day reopening. The fires had made it to the back of their buildings and being the oldest winery in Sonoma the fire department did everything they could to save it and they did.
Although the buildings were saved, they were still working on getting the smell and smoke out of the buildings. So all tastings were happening on the patio which was fine with us because it was a beautiful day! We sat outside making small talk with other patrons but since it was already past their closing time we didn’t spend much time there. We figured it was time to see where we were spending the night and find some dinner.
We found our Airbnb and quickly made ourselves at home. The apartment also reeked of smoke so we opened all the windows and turned on the fans and made ourselves a charcuterie plate to enjoy outside as the sun set. For dinner, we opted for a local Mexican place called El Molino Central it was delicious and super affordable – too of my favorite things. We called it a night early excited for the following full day of tastings and exploring. One more fully packed day to come!