Weekend Getaway in San Francisco, Napa & Sonoma

As Texans, Jake and I have explored Texas Hill Country (aka Texas Wine Country) a few times. Yet we had never been to the wine country—Napa Valley Wine Country. So after a wedding in a winery and a mini-moon at Texas Wine Country, we decided what better way to ring year 29 than at another wine country.

We flew into San Francisco the day before my birthday, Wednesday February 16. We fell into bed exhausted from our red-eye flight.

Day 1: San Francisco Style

The next day we hit all the touristy spots: Alcatraz island, Pier 39, and People’s Palace. Our only regret was running out of time and missing out on the Palace of Fine Arts. Pro Tip: plan for two days in San Francisco or don’t let your husband/wife keep you on Alcatraz island for the better part of the day.

View of Alcatraz Island from our ferry.
A typical cell in the Alcatraz prison.
Lazy sea lions sun bathing at the pier.
The People’s Palace aka San Francisco’s City Hall is a popular destination for elopements and engagement photos thanks to the grand staircase and many other picturesque backdrops.

For my birthday dinner, Jake made reservations at a fancy all-vegan restaurant, Baia. The food and service was five stars—100% recommend to all my vegan and non-vegan friends, some of the best pasta and pizza we ever ate!

Day 2: A Lazy Trip to Napa Valley

The next morning we woke up early to catch the sun rising over the Golden Gate Bridge—worth the detour—before taking our second detour to the Armstrong Redwoods Nature Preserve for a hike through some of the largest trees we had ever seen. When we finally arrived at our hotel in Napa, we dropped off our luggage and quickly made our way to our first wine-tasting reservation: St. Clair Winery & Brewery.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge from the the Golden Gate viewpoint.
Relaxing morning hike through the Armstrong Redwoods Nature Preserve.
A romantic atmosphere at St. Clair Winery & Brewery.

Day 3: Tasting Our Way Through Sonoma

Now most wineries don’t open until 11 am but Jake and I were used to waking up early so we took advantage of the time we had to stroll through the now-empty downtown streets of Sonoma—cutest little town. ProTip: make reservations well in advance as spots fill up quickly! We strategically made reservations for Sonoma wineries on our first day so we wouldn’t have to drive far between reservations.

Our first stop was Kunde Winery, easily my favorite winery not just because of the landscape and delicious wines, but also thanks to the vegan bites available. We enjoyed vegan cheese and salami with crackers while sipping on a variety of wines from their tasting menu.

Kunde Winery offers tours of the caves underneath their vineyard—a unique offering.

Next stop was Schermeister Winery, another sustainable, vegan-friendly winery. While a smaller tasting room than Kunde, Schermeister did have a wonderful greet, Eli The wine dog.

After enjoying two tastings, we walked through the Jack London Square and somehow got seated for a spontaneous dinner without a reservation.

Day 4: Tasting Our Way Through Napa

It would be easy to blame the wine but it wasn’t just the wine that caused us to miss our first reservation the following morning. It was also the spontaneous fire drill at two in the morning. So sadly we did not make it to Domaine Carneros, one of the most Instagram-worthy wineries to visit in the wine region according to VegNew’s Vegan Guide to Napa and California’s Wine Country. So while we waited for our next reservation, we were able to take another delightful stroll through downtown Napa. We stopped in at the Napa Cigar Lounge for an Old Fashioned cocktail and cigar. Our last stop was Hagafen Cellars, an adorable kosher winery with scenic views of the vineyards from the tasting patio.

View from the outdoor patio at Hagafen Cellars.

On our way back to San Francisco we stopped in at the Cozy Plum, an all-vegan restaurant that helped star off a hangover.

The next morning we woke up early, (and thanks to the filling vegan bites from Cozy Plum we woke sans hangover) to make our flight. We scrolled through our photos while on the plane and were already contemplating coming back to wine country. Only this time we want to go back before harvest season so we can walk through the lush wineyards and snap some Instagram-worthy shots.

Until next time,

Leah Ost


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