After the sad news out of Napa, there’s no better time to write about one of my favorite parts of the country and the hidden gem I discovered there this summer… Petaluma.
When I was in California for BlogHer, I had the chance to visit Petaluma on a blog tour. even though I used to live in Northern California, I had never visited this unique spot in Sonoma. Their geological spot, referred to as the Petaluma Gap, lends the wines a distinctive lightness. But this town is about much more than wine.
Petaluma embodies the laid back, casual lifestyle that draws so many people to California. But laid back is anything but lazy. Some of my favorite companies are based there, like Traditional Medicinals and Camelbak. You can pratically feel the creative vibe when you walk around. There is shopping and food to occupy your day,
Of course you HAVE to see some wineries while there, so maximize your time with a wine tour group. Terrific Tours has fabulous SUVs and passenger vans that will take you on a guided tour of Petaluma wineries. They take care of everything, including the tasting fees, and give great wine education along the way.
If you are looking for something more intimate, check out Sonoma Wine Guides. They offer completely customized tours that can incorporate food and wine and take place in one of their luxury SUVs or
Refresh and get ready for an evening out in your room at the Hotel Petaluma. This historic hotel is in the heart of downtown. I loved the unpretentious, comfortable rooms and I got to ride in the coolest historic elevator ever. They do have rooms with baths but I was more than happy to snag a shared bath room. Maybe everyone else was nursing a wine hangover, but I never saw another soul in them.
After you have rested up, head out for dinner at Seared. This local steak and seafood restaurant is part of the Go Local Cooperative. Their ingredients come from local Petaluma farms, vendors, and markets, as well as those spreading throughout both Sonoma and Marin Counties. And they pair their dishes with quality wines from the Petaluma Gap and surrounding vineyards, Petaluma craft beers, and premium cocktails using spirits from Petaluma distilleries. I will stack their food up against any of the many, many lauded NoCal restaurants.
Before you leave Petaluma, be sure to take some time to walk around their charming and bustling downtown. Don’t miss the Seed Bank for souvenirs that will truly be used. And definitely make time for my favorite winery of the trip, Sonoma Portworks. They have a tasting room that will leave you in love with port.