Travel Tag: Sonoma, California
When planning this trip to San Francisco and Napa, some of the first people I reached out to for travel suggestions were my parents. They traveled to San Francisco and Napa a couple years ago, and had the most amazing time. One of the wineries my dad recommended immediately was Chateau St. Jean, which is located in Sonoma. He immediately told me about how beautiful the grounds of the estate and winery were and how it had been their favorite winery they visited.
Although it took us about 45 minutes to get there from Napa, the stretch of road to get there seemed like it was out of a movie. The sun was shining and there were grapevines as far as the eye could see. It was a beautiful California afternoon, so we definitely didn’t end up minding the drive there.
After arriving to the winery and walking through the archway of the entrance, I was immediately blown away by the beauty of the gardens on the grounds of Chateau St. Jean. There are beautiful walk ways, sparkling fountains, lime plants, and exquisite doorways. Since we arrived early for our “appointment” (an appointment to sample wine is totally an appointment I’m down with haha) we spent time walking around the grounds and admiring every last corner. I loved the lush green ivy that scales up the walls and the catenary lights that lined much of the gardens. Side note: A woman there thought we had just gotten married, offered to take our photo, and kept directing us into all of these different poses… One being us sitting behind the fountain (we both totally knew it would be out of focus and couldn’t stop laughing). Hey, it’s the thought that counts right?!
Chateau St. Jean is nestled in front of the mountains and is considered a quintessential Sonoma winery. After visiting it for myself, I can definitely vouch for this description. The winery was founded in 1973, however, the Chateau has been there since the 1920’s and was originally built as a summer home for a wealthy family from the Michigan area who made their fortune in the iron mining business. Decades later, the surrounding land was used for planting white wine grapes, however then Prohibition came and the property was then lined with prune and walnut plants.
When Chateau St. Jean was founded in 1973, the decision was made to preserve the Chateau, and it was completely restored and became open to the public. Today, the land is preserved in the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
The stunning doorway leading to the Chateau, where you can sample Chateau St. Jean’s reserve wines.
Tip #1: You need a reservation for almost all of the wineries in Sonoma and/or Napa. Some of them can be pricy ($75/person). Make sure to check to see what’s included for your price (full glass of wine, how many wines are you tasting, food, tour? etc.)
Tip #2: However, we did regret not stopping by some of the wineries that were “fully booked” just to see if we could sneak in a sampling. If there are only a couple of you in your party, it’s definitely worth at least calling to see if you can stop by/they can fit you in, or just stopping by (if it’s near where you’re staying).
Tip #3: We didn’t realize how far this winery would be from our hotel. If you go into Google Maps on your phone and type in “wineries near….. (then type in wherever you’re staying)” you can find specific wineries near your desired location, complete with reviews! You can then click the star and favorite/save the location for easy access later. We also did this frequently throughout our trip for finding restaurants.
I had never seen lime plants before, so I found this so cool!
Sleeveless Sweater: Uniqlo (similar here & here) | Denim Jacket: Gap (old) almost identical here | Jeans: Old Navy | Sunglasses: Karen Walker Super Strength via Ditto (get 1 MONTH FREE by typing in the code “BRUNCHONSUNDAY” at checkout) | Hat: Forever 21 (old) similar here & here | Handbag: J. Crew Factory |