Petaluma, I Puffy Heart You
On my way up to Alaska, I had the awesome opportunity to stop in and spend a week in Petaluma, California with my friend Cecilia Enriquez. You should totally read about that here so you can experience even more of this pretty perfect little town. When I decided, at the last minute of course, to go to BlogHer in San Francisco in July, I wanted to make it an extended trip. I couldn’t possible fathom the idea of going all the way to San Francisco and not go to my favorite wine town. I called up some of my favorite bloggers and asked if they wanted to come in a day early and hang out with me in wine country. Not hard to twist their arms at all. Then I called up Cecilia and asked if she would like to co-host this day’s shenanigans with me and she was happen to join on the Wine Wagon. It comes as no surprise that I can say without a doubt: Petaluma, I Puffy Heart You. Here is a peek into a day spent in Petaluma, California with some of my absolute favorite women…
Terrific Tours and Sonoma Wine Guide
We started the day by jumping on our Tour Van sponsored by Terrific Tours and organized by Sonoma Wine Guides. Jason from Terrific Tours was funny, charming, and one helluva a sommelier who was happy to share his wine trivia and knowledge with us all day. He had us cracking up and completely entertained all day long! Seriously, if you want to spend time in California’s wine country call up Sonoma Wine Guides or Terrific Tours to help you plan your drinking day, I mean wine tour day!
Our first stop was to Saltonstall Estate where they have a certified organic olive grove. Yep, those little black beauties found their way into my belly time and time again. I even brought home a jar on the plane (of course TSA made me dump out the awesome olive oil – forgot about that!). I loved Saltonstall’s 2009 Sparkling Wine that they started the day out with. If you know me, you know I am a huge fan of the bubbly! Their 2008 Pinot Noir was quite tasty and the cherry and plum flavored flirted with my taste buds for a very long time. Check them out online and don’t be afraid of ordering a couple bottles – but don’t forget the olives. That good! Saltonstall Estate: SaltonstallEstate.com Facebook: Facebook.com/SaltonstallEstate
Oh, Azari Vineyards, I puffy heart you. I could stay at this vineyard for days and days and never get tired of seeing the rolling hills and the beautiful gardens with a glass of their wine in my hand. This is my happy place. They rolled out the red carpet for us and even broke out the wood-fired pizza oven. Out came these delicious pizzas that were simple really – homemade mozzarella and red sauce with delicious prosciutto on top. Heaven!! The winery was started by Kamal and Pari Azari and is now in the capable hands of their tech-loving son, Kaveh Azari. I love this family – they are warm and inviting and make you feel like you are a long lost friend. We strolled through the vineyards, saw the winemaking facility and, of course, sampled their amazing wines. If you are in the area, check out when they host their winemaker’s dinners and get a reservation. It’s ok if you want to send me a bottle of wine as a Thank You gift – I am totally ok with that. I haven’t had a bad wine from either of their labels – Corkscrew or Azari and am grateful that a couple bottles made it safely back with me to Alaska! Azari Vineyards: AzariVineyards.com Facebook.com/AzariVineyards Twitter.com/AzariVineyards Instagram.com/AzariVineyards Corkscrew Wines: DrinkCorkscrew.com Facebook.com/DrinkCSTwitter.com/Corkscrew_WinesInstagram.com/DrinkCorkscrew
Sonoma Valley Portworks
Caryn over at Sonoma Valley Portworks loves what she does and it radiates out of her smile and hospitality. She closed the tasting room so that we could have it exclusively. Each port that we tried was accompanied by a decadent cheese and chocolate tray. Before my previous visit I could easily say that I had never been a fan of port. That all changed one afternoon and I have been raving about her port ever since. My two favorites were the Deco and the Aris from Petite Syrah. The Deco is blended with decadent dark chocolate and I tried it while sampling a piece of dark chocolate that melted not only on my fingers but in my mouth. So good! I made it home with a bottle of the Petite Syrah that I am looking at opening as the snow falls in Anchorage. I am so excited to share this port with my new friends!! Sonoma Portworks: PortWorks.com 707.769.5203 13 2nd Street Petaluma CA 94952 Facebook.com/SVPortworks
I didn’t think the day could get any better, but we were headed over to Cecilia’s vineyard, so I knew it definitely would. At 27, Cecilia Enriquez might be just about the youngest winemaker I have ever met. She is definitely my favorite person in Petaluma and this #PetalumaMade Day couldn’t have happened without her. I was excited to sit back and watch all the bloggers tasted and sampled her wines and what they thought about them. The hands down winner again for me, which comes as no surprise, was the Tempranillo Rose. I also brought back a bottle of the Temranillo as this grape variety has been growing on me quite a bit lately. I’m joining her Wine Club so I can have her wine delivered to me throughout the year, no matter where I might be at in the US! If there is ever a place that I wouldn’t mind having a home, it is definitely here in Petaluma. Thank you Cecilia for helping me to fall in love with your town!! Who knew meeting at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay would lead to such a great friendship? The cheese that Achadinha Creamery brought for us to try was crazy good. I highly recommend jumping on the Petaluma Cheese Tour when you are in town. They are the first stop – bring a cooler, you are going to need to it to take home all the yummy cheese. My favorite part of the day though is when we went out onto the patio and relaxed and watched the clouds flout by above the vineyard and the hills. Enriquez Estate Wines: EnriquezWines.com 707.347.9719 3062 Old Adobe Road Petaluma, CA 94954 Facebook.com/EnriquezEstateWines Twitter.com/EnriquezWines Instagram.com/EnriquezWines Pinterest.com/WnriquezWines
Seared and Petaluma Gap
As part of the #PetalumaMade experience we worked with the Petaluma Gap Alliance and Seared restaurant to bring together a Wine Maker’s Dinner like no other. For one, Seared opened up their restaurant on a day they were normally closed and made us a one-of-a-kind dinner. Each course was paired with a different wine from Petaluma to boot. A few members from the Petaluma Gap were on hand to tell us a bit about the history of Petaluma (did you know it used to be the egg capital of the US – me neither!) and it helps to promote Petaluma wines. The night was kicked up a notch with the only non-Petaluma made drink of the day, but it was forgiven as it was from my new friend Clémence Lelarge whose family has been making champagne in France for hundreds of years. If you guessed this was delicious, you would be wrong. It was exquisite. This champagne was the most amazing bubbly I have ever had and that is saying a lot! I can not wait to go to France and visit Champagne Lelarge Pugeot and see Clémence again! The chefs outdid themselves and not only was the entire meal soy-free, but gluten-free too. They made vegetarian dishes and really went out of their way to make us feel like royalty. We had farm-raised quail from Devils Gulch Ranch, and the very sweet and humble owner Mark joined us for dinner. I was blown away by how each course seemed to be a little bit of perfection. For a moment, I stopped listening to those around me and was grateful to be there in that moment of time. It was an awe-inspiring moment for me. Seared: PetalumaSeared.com Facebook.com/SearedPetaluma Twitter.com/SearedPetaluma
Mario & John’s
Then a few of us went to Mario & John’s for an after dinner drink. This place seemed to have every alcohol known to man! Their selection was a littl e bit out of this world! Can’t wait to go back when I am not so incredibly tired to try a couple of their homemade cocktails!
At this point I went back to my room at the Hotel Petaluma and crashed. I love staying in this historic hotel! Our rooms were a little different than my last stay as they had a community bathroom, which I didn’t mind. The rooms are clean, the beds oh so comfy, and the charm just oozes out of this place. Not the mention the owner Jessica is about the sweetest person ever to work with. How she got us all figured out while there was a huge conference in town I will never know. I can’t say enough good things about Hotel Petaluma – if you like boutique not-run-of-the-mill hotels, you might just want to stay here while seeing the beautiful wine country of Petaluma.
Adobe Road Wines
Adobe Road Wines is where I got a little teary eyed in the morning. Coming from a racing family, being here amidst all the race cars made me miss my home just a little bit. Once I started sampling their wines though, my troubles seemed to melt away. I love everything about Adobe Road – from their heavy glass to their crazy awesome wines. Their Petite Syrah and Zinfandel are on my lists for wines that I must always have on hand. If I had more room, I would have put more than just one bottle that Syrah in my luggage! Adobe Wine Vineyard: AdobeRoadWines.com Facebook.com/AdobeRoadWines Twitter.com/AdobeRoadWines Instagram.com/AdobeRoadWines Pinterest.com/AdobeRoad
Our #PetalumaMade 2-day wine tour ended at Keller Estate. I had no idea that there was a winemaker this large in Petaluma! We walked down the wine cave that was filled with wine barrels and the cutest little frogs. The beauty of their grounds is purely amazing and their tasting room is one of the best I have ever seen. Make sure a stop to Keller Estate is on your list when you come to California for wine tasting. I am a huge Chardonnay fan and theirs was crazy amazing with a creamy finish and citrus undertones. Thank you Cecilia for co-hosting one of the best days of the year for this #GirlOnTheRun. Thank you Anna Epp for letting me use some of your photos. A HUGE thank you to each and everyone who participated in #PetalumaMade from the sponsors to the bloggers. You warmed my heart and made me realize that I am rich in experiences. I’m also grateful to JetBlue for not breaking the 9 bottles of wine I brought back with me to Alaska!!
All the awesome bloggers that made these two days even more special!
Have you ever wondered about hosting a travel blogger? Here is a snipet of the engagement on Twitter that we generated. Contact me if you are interested in hosting me as I keep on traveling. Disclosure: #PetalumaMade was only possible by the generous donations from all of our sponsors. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Links within this post may contain affiliate links that I earn commissions from. Example, if you click on the above link and purchase anything from that site I make a small commission, no matter what you purchase. This is how I pay for my travels and this blog. Thank you for supporting me!