Perfect Day — Marta Hayden

Marcy Gordon on Dec 4, 2019

Local Santa Rosa resident Marta Hayden shares her Perfect Day with Wine Road. Read all about her favorite spots along with some excellent insider tips to make the most of your day.

Bohemian Creamery cheese plate piled with assorted cheese and bread
Bohemian Creamery Cheese Plate

A perfect day in Sebastopol would be going to Bohemian Creamery Open Friday through Monday, check website for hours.  Tours on Saturday and Sunday at 1:00 pm fee applies ($20 for adults and children FREE, check website for current pricing).  A great introduction to cheesemaking, tasting of all their cheeses.  This artisan creamery has bufala, cow, goat and sheep’s milk cheeses.  Make a reservation on their website. You can drop into the Creamery and they will let you sample up to 3 cheese tastes.  Buy a cheese plate for $20 includes bread and is enough for two people and you can taste all their cheeses. Some of my favorite cheeses are the Cowabunga a cow’s milk filled with a delicious sweet cajeta (goat milk caramel) I serve this cheese as a dessert course.  Flower Power is another favorite a cow cheese pyramid with bee pollen each bite is milk and honey.  

Tip: Bring an ice pack so you can buy some cheeses and take them along for the day or take them home. 

Samples of various fungi at Mycopia Mushrooms
Mycopia Mushrooms

Mycopia Mushrooms is a pioneer in speciality mushrooms and they supply gourmet restaurants and gourmet grocers.  On Fridays at 1, they sometimes open up and sell some of their mushrooms.  These mushrooms are packaged for chefs in 3 lb. bags.  Once a year they have a tour of their plant and have local vendors making mushroom recipes and wineries pairing the mushroom dishes with the wines.

glasses of wine on table at Merry Edwards Tasting
Merry Edwards Tasting

Time to go wine tasting in Sebastopol there are many wineries to choose from and these are some of my favorites and in close proximity to each other and also to the cheese and cafes.  Merry Edwards Winery offers in-depth tastings by appointment at set times 9:30, 11, 1, 2:30 & 4.  Lasts 45 – 60 minutes which you will get to taste award-winning Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  Walk-in tastings are 15-25 minutes with a more limited offering of wines. Tip: if you are trying to maximize on your winery visits (and who isn’t trying to taste all those great Sonoma County wines) consider making an appointment for the 9:30 am tour and you can probably get in a second winery tasting at 11.  Merry Edwards also is known for her Sauvignon Blanc which is about 50% of the production of the winery and consistently is rated in the high 90’s on a 100-point scale. Sebastopol is located in the Russian River AVA which is known for Pinot Noir grapes.

A moody shot of a dark and brooding glass of pinot at Emeritus Vineyards
Tasting Hallberg Pinot Noir at Emeritus Vineyards

Emeritus Vineyards has both inside and outside seating overlooking the vineyards.  Tasting fees apply check the website to decide what tasting experience you would like to try.  Their award-winning Pinot Noir was rated # 26 of the top 100 wines by Wine Spectator and my favorite is the Hallberg Pinot Noir. Emeritus Vineyards is located in the Russian River AVA which is famous for their Pinot Noir grapes.

Now it’s time for “Bubbles.” Iron Horse Vineyards has a beautiful outdoor tasting room at the top of the hill overlooking rows of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.  Tastings are by appointment.  They have some speciality sparkling wines like Wedding Cuvée that make great gifts for couples getting married or to celebrate an anniversary.

When visiting wineries, please taste responsibly.  You might want to share a tasting. It is okay to skip some of the wines offered and you can also dump wine in the dump buckets.  Stay hydrated and drink water.

 Time to think about lunch after tasting some of those wines and before your afternoon tastings. You could return to Bohemian Creamery they have Paninis, sandwiches and drinks. Or, check out two cafés next to each other on Highway 116, Mom’s Apple Pie and Pascaline Patisserie & Café. 

large pie with a slice our revealing the apples in Mom's Apple Pie
Mom’s Apple Pie

Mom’s Apple Pie is a Bakery and Deli located on the edge of an apple orchard.  They have sandwiches and salads.  They have fruit, cream and meringue pies.  If you are in Sonoma County in August through November, they use the famous Gravenstein apples in their apple pies. These apples are creamy and both sweet and tart.  The rest of the year, November to July at Mom’s, they use Granny Smith apples.

Selection of pastries at Pascaline Patisserie & Café
Selection of pastries at Pascaline Patisserie & Café

Pascaline Patisserie & Café is a French Café located near a Gravenstein apple orchard and vineyards.  They have buttery brioche, croissants, frittatas, quiches, sandwiches, tartine, salads and soups.  I have a sweet tooth and some of my favorites are the chocolates, caramels and the canelés.

Wine Flies Free on Alaska Airlines
Wine Flies Free on Alaska Airlines

Important Tip for how you’re going to get those great wines home.  If you flew into Sonoma County on Alaska Airlines from Los Angeles, Orange County, Portland, San Diego and/or Seattle, on your return Alaska Airlines flight from Sonoma County Airport Wine Flies FREE.” A case of wine flies free as long as it is packed in a protective shipping container.

Posted by Marcy Gordon

Marcy Gordon is a freelance wine and travel writer. Her work has appeared in a variety of publications including Wine Enthusiast, San Francisco Chronicle, Sonoma Magazine, The California Travel Guide, and Forbes Travel Guide. In 2017 she was awarded a fellowship to the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers. She is the co-host of the award winning Wine Road Podcast.

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