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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Wine & Valentine’s in Sonoma County

How about making the whole weekend a Valentine’s Day weekend and celebrate in Sonoma Wine Country?

Here is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy some time with that someone special. I want to highlight just a few of the many special restaurants and lodging we have available to us in Sonoma to enjoy a Valentine’s dinner paired with some exceptional wines. Many of our great Russian River restaurants are attached to lodging allowing you to extend the evening and not worry about having a designated driver, spending the night at one of our romantic Bed and Breakfast’s. As of printing, many of these restaurants and lodging are filling up, so I do strongly recommend making a reservation as soon as you and that special person know what time you would prefer to dine.

The Applewood Inn
The restaurant just garnered a Michelin Star. The hotel is providing a Valentines’ Dinner menu – four courses for $85. While wine is not included, their cellar offerings are quite spectacular and well chosen.

Bistro des Copains, Occidental
In the quaint town of Occidental, the Bistro is one of my favorite French restaurants. They are serving a prix fixe Valentine’s Day Dinner for $60, including a sparkling wine and amuse to start, followed by three courses. Though not attached to lodging, the very romantic Inn at Occidental is just one block away.,

Boon Eat + Drink
Guerneville’s upscale café has a small but perfectly appointed menu. The wine list, also small, is picked from the best of Sonoma at all price points and they are offering a special Valentine’s Day Dinner. There is also the Boon Hotel, a great location in Guerneville where a special can be combined with Dinner – the hotel is only a mile drive from the restaurant.

Cape Fear Restaurant
Cape Fear, in the charming town of Duncans Mills is offering a prix fixe menu and is open all day until 8pm . Their small wine menu of thirteen wines is all available by the glass.

Chef Patrick’s
Chef Patrick is offering a special Valentine’s menu which will be posted online. While many restaurants prefer you to buy wine from their wine menu selections on holidays, Chef Patrick will honor Sophie’s Cellars free corkage.

The Farmhouse
Another of Sonoma’ Michelin Star rated restaurants with another of my favorite wine menus – a lovely selection of wines both local and international: the Farmhouse is offering a prix fixe four course Valentine’s Day Menu for $139 including wine, and a 25% discount is also available if you stay the night at their luxurious inn.

River’s End Restaurant, Jenner, California
Definitely one of the most romantic locations, where the Russian River meets the Pacific Ocean and very worthwhile arriving early to see the sunset, River’s End is offering its Winter Menu as well as a special five course Dungeness Crab Tasting Menu for $69 or $99 including wine. Bert Rangel (who often stops by my store), definitely knows how to pick wine to pair with his crab menu – this will most definitely be a treat. The rustic River’s End Lodging is also attached to the restaurant – no TV, no need to bring a book; romantic views of the Pacific Ocean.

The Village Inn, Monte Rio, California

For a cozy hotel who’s restaurant has a great wine list (Double Gold at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair for the wine menu in multiple years), and a lovely little bar and fireplace by the River, I love the Village Inn. They are offering a Valentine’s dinner special and you can spend the whole weekend for just $75 per night.

Planning a dinner at home for that special person in your life and you’re not certain which wine would pair best?

Feel free to bring your recipe by my store (Sophie’s Cellars) and I will gladly help you pair the perfect, memorable Valentine’s Day dinner!
Wishing you a happy Valentine’s, hopefully celebrated in style in our beautiful Sonoma Country!

John Haggard is owner of Sophie’s Cellars, The Sonoma Wine &  Cheese Market in Monte Rio, California. Sophie’s Cellars is open 11am – 7pm, closed only on Wednesdays.