California hotel executive Dan Brown and other Sonoma County travel experts suggested the following stops during a weeklong stay in California wine country:
Paradise Ridge Vineyards & Winery (prwinery.com): The tasting room and outdoor deck overlook the Russian River Valley and the winery has a tasting room in nearby Kenwood.
Charles Schultz Museum (schulzmuseum.org): The re-created studio of the creator of the “Peanuts” comic strip sits here, as do several related exhibits and a Snoopy Labyrinth.
Russian River Brewing (russianriverbrewing.com): Offerings include Pliny the Elder double IPA, one of the popular brews in some of Buffalo’s new craft beer dispensaries.
Tex Wasabi’s (texwasabis.com): Will give you a taste of owner and “Diner, Drive-Ins and Dives” TV personality Guy Fieri, but Brown recommends Flavor Bistro across Courthouse Square for a better food, wine and beer selection.
St. Francis Winery & Vineyards (stfranciswinery.com): Open Table users voted this the best restaurant in America two years ago because of its wine and cheese charcuterie pairings.
Kunde Family Winery (kunde.com/welcome): Indoor, patio and mountaintop tastings at half the rates of some Napa Valley sites make this a pleasant, affordable experience.
Chateau St. Jean (chateaustjean.com): “It’s wonderful,” Brown said, “just like a French Estate.”
Benziger Family Winery (benziger.com). “If somebody wants to understand how wine is made, take a tour” of this biodynamic winery in Glen Ellen, Brown said. “The artwork is incredible, too.”
B.R. Cohn Winery (brcohn.com): The manager of the Doobie Brothers owns this Glen Ellen winery. “Great cabs,” Brown said.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery (francisfordcoppolawinery.com): This Geyserville winery includes the Rustic restaurant, one of the finest in Sonoma County.
Seghesio Family Vineyards (seghesio.com): This Healdsburg winery’s Zinfandels are considered among the best in the world.
Bodega Bay (bodegabay.com) “Dungeness crab is the specialty” in this oceanside community where The Tides restaurant and a chapel were among the spots used to film Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds.”
Safari West (safariwest.com): This 300-acre preserve north of Santa Rosa teems with African wildlife.