At least once a year, we fly into Sonoma Wine Country for a weekend of wine tasting in one of California’s top wine producing regions. Healdsburg is a destination unto its own within Sonoma Country. You can easily spend an entire wine-tasting weekend right there in the center of town, relaxing with a glass of wine, eating at amazing restaurants and learning a few new facts about wine.
Healdsburg is a charming city located right in the center of the action in Sonoma.
You’ll quickly find that there are endless possibilities for wineries to visit and hundreds of place to eat in Sonoma county, but the Healdsburg wineries and restaurants stand out among the crowd. Not only is it easy to get around, with an abundance of possibilities within walking distance of each other, the town itself is a great example of small town America.
The Sonoma Wine Region spans a large area which stretches from the Pacific Coast to the Napa County line in the east. It contains 16 AVAs, and is home to almost 60,000 acres of vineyards and more than 400 wineries.
How to Get to Healdsburg
The best way to get there is to fly directly into the Santa Rosa airport. There are cheaper flight options if you fly into the Bay Area, but I can say from personal experience that flying directly to Santa Rosa is well worth the extra $50 in airfare. Besides the monetary savings, you’ll also save the 1.5+ hour drive from San Francisco or Oakland. And who wants to waste precious wine tasting time on driving?
Once you’ve landed at Santa Rosa airport, it’s a short 15-minute drive to downtown Healdsburg. The choices for accommodations are vast.
Where to Stay in Healdsburg
There are a lot of great places to stay in Healdsburg. Check out the many Healdsburg hotel deals on Booking.com to find accommodations that suit you.
If you want to stay in complete luxury, you have a choice of Hotel Healdsburg right in the heart of the city (location, location, location), the Calderwood Inn, featuring an evening wine tasting hour on the terrace each evening and just a 10-minute walk from Healdsburg Plaza, or the Hotel Les Mars, a romantic French inspired hotel.
Healdsburg Wineries You Must Try
No matter where you stay in Healdsburg city center, you can easily walk to a number of wine tasting rooms, which makes wine tasting very convenient because you don’t have to worry about a designated driver. You can just enjoy yourself, relax, and experience the wine.
Here are a few of our favorite wineries in Healdsburg’s downtown area.
The tasting room for Thumbprint Cellars is artsy and fun, but also warm and inviting. The “tasting lounge”, as they call it, doubles as an art gallery featuring works by local artists. Thumbprint also offers cheese and charcuterie plates to go along with the wines.
If you’re a fan of Chardonnay, you have to stop by Stonestreet Estate Vineyards & Winery tasting room for a tasting. They have some of the best Chardonnay I’ve ever drank, and plenty of it. Aged in French oak barrels, Stonestreet doesn’t shy away from the oaky, buttery Chardonnay that California is known for.
The addition of partial wild yeast and full malolactic fermentation give the wine a complexity and full body that I love in a Chardonnay.
Stephen & Walker Winery
A small, artisanal family owned winery, Stephen & Walker has a classy wine bar located right downtown. The friendly service along with the award winning wines makes Stephen & Walker one of our favorite wineries in Healdsburg.
If you’re a red wine fan, you have to stop in for a taste of their cult wines – the Zinfandel and the Cabernet Sauvignon are outstanding. And they have a port too!
Seghesio Family Vineyards
Located just a few blocks from the downtown area is the Seghesio Family Vineyards. This is one of the oldest wineries in the area, started in 1895. They specialize in Zinfandel and Italian varietals. It’s a must-visit when in Healdsburg, for the wine and also for the wonderful space and activities. It’s a beautiful large winery with lots of outdoor tables.
Where to Eat in Healdsburg
If you love food, you’re going to absolutely love Healdsburg. Some of the best restaurants in Sonoma County are located downtown and there are plenty of great experiences to be found for hungry wine tasters.
First we have to consider lunch. I prefer to keep it easy and casual for lunch, because we’re often just between tastings and don’t want to spend a lot of time dining. That’s easy to do in Healdsburg.
My favorite place to pick up lunch is the Oakville Grocery. Located right in the town square, the grocery has an incredible selection of handmade sandwiches, salads and picnic fixings. They have a wide array of local artisan products to help you put together a truly gourmet lunch. I’ve never had a sandwich from Oakville that I didn’t love. They have breakfast sandwiches too, if you’re looking for some quick brunch.
Healdsburg Bar & Grill
Another popular spot in town for a quick lunch is Healdsburg Bar & Grill. Sometimes, during busy season, you need to put your name on the list, but don’t fret, there are tasting rooms nearby that you can enjoy while you’re waiting.
The food is casual and good. And they have a nice outdoor patio that is perfect for enjoying the beautiful weather, during the more seasonable months. The best part is that you don’t have to drive anywhere to get there. It’s right in the heart of downtown.
We’ve eaten Spanish tapas in Spain, so we know good tapas when we see them. Bravas does an outstanding job of serving up incredibly authentic tapas. The restaurant is in a cute little house a street over from the main street in Healdsburg, with a dark and romantic vibe inside and a beautiful outdoor seating in the back.
We ordered about 10 dishes and loved every morsel that was put before us. The patatas bravas were crispy. The pulpo was tender and dressed perfectly in olive oil and paprika, just the way I love it. There’s nothing more to say. Bravas is a fantastic restaurant.
Now that you know where to eat and drink in Healdsburg, California, it’s time to book that trip to Sonoma you’ve been wanting to take. You are going to love the Healdsburg wineries!
Have you already been to Healdsburg? Tell us where your favorite places are to eat and drink when you’re there.
Like this post? Why not save it to Pinterest?