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My wife and I are going to Sonoma on Saturday & Sunday for a quick trip. We've been before and this time we want to do areas/places we haven't been to.

On day 1, we're looking to do Carneros/Southern Sonoma (ie, south of Santa Rosa). On day 2, we're looking to do the Dry Creek area but since I will most definitly be stopping off first at Martinelli, I'm open to Russian River Valley/Windsor stops.

What I'm looking for are suggestions of places to go. On my list already is Martinelli, Ridge, Preston. I'm also thinking about Gloria Ferrer, Gundlach Bundschu & Kaz.

Where else does everyone recommend within my given itinerary. And thanks for the advice!
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Make your wife a wine geek! Both Mayo and St. Francis have good wine-food tasting menus. St. Francis required a reservation (May 2005.) Get to Ledson early before it gets too crowded.

Gundlach was a disappointment. Their quaint tasting room--mentioned in several guidebooks has been replaced with a tour-bus friendly room, and they were'nt pouring anything interesting.

There are lots of small producers that you can discover in Healdsburg. I liked Thumbprint.
My wife is a wine geek so no problem there. We care less about the look of the place and more about the quality of the taste. I'll skip Gundlach - good advice - and I'll check out the other places.

The real key here is Southern Sonoma - I really don't know these producers so I need help here. I wanted to go to Hanzell but there's no way in hell I'm paying $100 for two people.

I'm putting Mayo, Ledson & St. Francis on the itinerary...

Thanks - any more advice out there?
ditto the Ledson reco; we had a private tasting w/food there that was really very good. Have been on their mailing list since last June and haven't been disappointed w/anything they've sent.

Also ditto the reco on Gundlach - the 'tour' was way too scripted, more of a real estate sales pitch (the place was for sale then).

The folks at Quivera were extremely nice and happy to pour just about everything they had, even some 5-6 yr. old Syrah's. Right across the road from Rafinelli, iirc. Mauritson is right down the road from Dry Creek Winery - not much on looks but very good Zins and SB. You can also stop at the Dry Creek Grocery (little country general store) for lunch.
Thanks for all the advice, everyone.

We went to the following:

Gloria Ferrer
Domaine Carneros
St. Francis
Preston of Dry Creek

The best places were Martinielli where we bought the 2004 Guiseppi & Luisa and their new Lolita (?) pinot; Preston, which I loved for a long time though their Barbera wasn't great this year so we got their Madame Preston White Rhone, Preston L and Old Vine Zin; Ledson where we bought 2003 Ti Amo & 2004 Zin (and we joined their wine club - if you can get their Merlot or Cab ($90), do it); and finally Ridge, where we bought a '98 Bordeaux style Cab (forgot the name) and their current Geyserville. Couldn't afford the Monte Bello.

All in all, a great trip - the only place I would skip would be Gloria Ferrer. Also, everyone should try Siduri - they make all of their wines out of a warehouse and give a great introduction to how the whole process comes together. EVerything is right there and they are fantastic. Free tastings, too, though we walked out with a $46 pinot, so guess it wasn't that free. Also, they gave us some Syrah grapes that had just been harvested that day so we could taste what the grape tastes like on the vine versus in the bottle. Really good...

All in all, it was harvest time so it was cool to be in Sonoma for that. And Ledson...very impressed with their stuff. Great, great great. I also signed up to be put on Martinelli's wine mailer and join their club but I don't thihnk I'll get off the wait list for another year and a half.

Thanks for everyone's advice!!!
Two places I really wanted to go but couldn't:

1) Olson Ogden - I'm hearing great stuff about this place and their wines. They don't have a tasting room but they were willing to bring me in after Harvest time (they were way too busy this month). They seem like super nice guys, and surfers from my understanding, and they will definitly be getting a visit on my next trip

2) Pride/Corte Rivas - I really wanted to go to Corte Rivas and called the owner - she's not allowed to give tastings because they're not insured or don't have the proper license or something like that - but if you go to Pride, there is some kind of overlap with the winemaker, so...
Me? I'd definitely hit Rochioli and Martinelli. Just for the mailing list alone (I am still waiting on Rochioli, years after the fact).

Gary Farrell is a nice spot, but I think he sold out to some corporate giant.

You have to call ahead, but the Rafanelli's provided a great time a few years back.

If you can get a call back, Fred Scherrer provides, hands down, the best tasting experience in Sonoma (check Parker's website for the 2002 Pinot rating).

Ledson? When I was there, it felt a little like Amway with their whole marketing thing.

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