Trip Coach: March 20, 2007

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Avital Binshtock, author of the guidebook Napa & Sonoma Day by Day, answered your questions about California wine country.

Avital Binshtock: Hello, I'm Avital Binshtock, author of Frommer's Napa and Sonoma Day by Day, and I'm here to answer your questions about how best to visit California's spectacular wine region. Thanks so much for joining me. Let's begin!

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Los Angeles, CA: Which wineries would you recommend for someone who is not an expert on wine but wants to learn more?

Avital Binshtock: I'm glad you asked. Napa and Sonoma can feel daunting for those who don't consider themselves wine connoisseurs -- which, despite how it may seem, are the majority of visitors to wine country.
Among the wineries I recommend for those wanting to up their wine-knowledge quotient: Domaine Chandon for its comprehensive tour, Robert Mondavi for its top-notch guides, St. Supéry for its emphasis on education, and Frank Family Vineyards for its exceptionally attentive staffers who take the time to explain anything you'd want to know.


Let me add, too, that it's important to keep a light attitude while trying to learn more about wine; if you don't yet know everything and it appears that everyone around you does (to an almost silly degree), don't fall prey to the sometimes-snobby attitude of those that deem themselves worthier than thou simply because they're better versed in what's essentially only a beverage. Wine country is about relaxing, having fun, learning, and taking in the spectacular scenery -- not feeling intimidated.

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Emporia, KS: Picnics in the wine country are a wonderful and scenic 'budget' alternative to high-priced boutique restaurants! Years ago, I used to go to the "Cheese Barn" in Napa to buy reasonably priced Italian cold cuts, local cheeses, & local bakery breads. It is sadly no longer in business. Can you recommend a 'local' (non-chain) store for buying 'quality' picnic fixings such as meats, cheeses, and breads? I'd be ever so grateful! We're moving back to the area soon. Thank you.

Avital Binshtock: Congrats on your impending move! I completely agree that picnics are an amazing way to dine in wine country -- there's nothing like reclining amidst scenic splendor, sipping wine, and enjoying the region's culinary bounty al fresco. And you get to save money, too. Happily, I have several recommendations regarding where to buy quality picnic fixings. Oakville Grocery, which has several locations throughout wine country, is the first that jumps to mind; it's a small chain, yes, but it's truly a local place. You'll find gourmet foodstuffs, much of it affordable, locally made, and available for sampling. You can buy ready-made sandwiches and entrées, or mix and match to create your own personalized meal. O.G. also has a nice wine selection, as well as an espresso bar. Martha Stewart is a regular in here, so keep your eyes peeled.


In downtown Napa, try Napa General Store at the Historic Napa Mill -- you'll definitely find your meats, cheeses, and breads, plus wonderful pre-made sandwiches, salads and hand-tossed pizzas. When in Yountville, stock up on the excellent wares at Ranch Market Too.

In Sonoma, there's a great little nook in Glen Ellen called Olive and Vine Culinary Adventures. They'll provide you with a tasty box lunch, and you can be sure that the food will be made with fresh, local ingredients. Also in Glen Ellen is the Glen Ellen Village Market, a gourmet outpost without the gourmet attitude or prices. In downtown Sonoma, The Cheesemaker's Daughter has an unparalleled artisanal cheese selection, as well as olive oils, vinegars, teas and other fun foodie stuff. Across the plaza, don't miss Sonoma Cheese Factory, a massive store that sells more cheeses in one place than you've ever seen in your life (with the probable exception of you readers from Wisconsin), plus sandwiches and other quality deli goods.
Also, don't forget that wine country is alive and colorful with free farmer's markets every day from Tuesday to Saturday. To find out when and where they all are, see p. 21 of my book.

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Greensboro, NC: My wife and I are planning a trip to California wine country in October. Are there any festivals at that time of the year, and, if so, which would you recommend attending? Thank you.

Avital Binshtock: Great question -- and great timing! Autumn happens to be the best season for visiting wine country, since it's harvest time and the wineries are in full operational mode. Plus, the landscape is swept with rich autumnal colors.

As far as festivals go... October? Festival? Put them together and what do you get? Oktoberfest, of course. And, yes, wine country's got one. It happens Oct. 20 at the Sonoma-Marin Fairgrounds in Petaluma. There'll be live oompah music, plenty of German foods to try, and more than 20 kinds of beer. Get more info at http://www.budgettravelonline.com/.

For other October events, it depends on what you and your wife are interested in. If you two are animal lovers and will already be in California on Oct. 1, check out Twiga at Twilight at Safari West. During this evening event, you'll get up close and personal with giraffes, cheetahs, lemurs and other exotic wildlife species. Wine tasting and dinner are included, and reservations are required. Proceeds benefit the Safari West Wildlife Foundation.

If the two of you are art aficionados, you'll want to check out the di Rosa Preserve's 6th Annual Benefit Art Auction. Unfortunately, it's on the same day as Petaluma's Oktoberfest, but it features original works of art donated by notable Bay Area artists, live and silent auctions, cocktails, dinner and an after-party with live music. Tickets go on sale in June and aren't cheap: $300 each.
On Oct. 27 is Christopher Creek winery's annual celebration of Zinfandel -- and it's free! During the all-day event, you'll taste "dueling zins" and enjoy hearty fall food.

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Minneapolis, MN: Hello, My cousin and I are looking for a lovely place to stay under $200 Nov. 2-5 in the wine country. Are there rooms available with two beds other than the typical hotel room? Thank you.

Avital Binshtock: Dr. Wilkinson's Hot Springs Resort has doubles in your price range, as does Roman Spa Hot Springs Resort. While the guestrooms at these two properties aren't the most unique in wine country, they're at spa resorts located in Calistoga, a lovely little walking town.
In Sonoma, The Glenelly Inn & Cottages, a cute inn dating back to 1916, has one room (called Vallejo) that can convert to accommodate two twin beds. Rate is $195.


At Napa's 3-diamond Embassy Suites, the bedroom closes off from the living room, and the living room's couch pulls out into a bed. The property itself is really nice; it's got a swan pond, a wooden mill and a large atrium where breakfast (the cost of which is included in your stay) is cooked to order. If you book online now for your dates, you can get in for $199.
If you're looking for more unique accommodations, such as a B&B or specialty inn, you might want to consider booking a single room -- it's less expensive than a double -- and ordering a trundle bed, which is often provided for free or for an additional charge of up to $20. Check with the property first before booking to make sure this is an option.

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Los Angeles, CA: What is the best way to get around safely while visiting wineries in Napa? Are there group shuttle/limo services you can recommend?

Avital Binshtock: Absolutely. I would never condone that wine-tasting visitors to Napa drive themselves around without a designated driver or chauffeur.
Limos are big business here; there are tens of companies chomping at the bit to chauffer your wine tasting in safety and style. Among the best: Pure Luxury, Beau Wine Tours and Limousine Service, and Celebrity Limousine. Rates for limos hover around $75 per hour.
Many local companies also specialize in all kinds of individual and group tours; among those to consider are Napa Insiders, J. Shaw & Co., Wine & Dine Tours, and California Wine Tours.

 Antique Tours Limousine Service drives clients around in restored 1947 Packard Convertibles, while Women & Wine caters only to, well, women.
There are also several local taxi companies, including Napa Valley Cab (707-257-6444), Yellow Cab (707-226-3731) and Wine Valley Taxi (707-251-9463). Taxis might not be the best option for winery-to-winery transport (your bill will grow astronomically while your cabbie waits around for you), but they're great if, say, you're just going to or from a restaurant.

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Fairbanks, AK: What would you recommend as an excellent Cabernia Savignon from Napa Valley for under $30 that is good to drink right now? Kathy

Avital Binshtock: There are some excellent cabernet sauvignons coming out of Napa nowadays at a lower price point. Keep in mind that the Stags Leap District is really Napa's area known for cabernet, so wineries like Clos du Val, and Baldacci (in particular, ITS 2003 IV Sons Cabernet Sauvignon) and have superb cabernet sauvignons for $30 or less per bottle.
From other Napa regions, I also recommend Robert Mondavi's 2004 Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon. It's a fruity, versatile blend that's, stunningly, only $11. To be fair, the grapes in this one were grown primarily on the Central Coast (i.e., not Napa), but Mondavi is indeed a Napa-based winery. You'll have to dole out a bit more cash -- $28 -- for Franciscan Oakville Estate's 2003 cab, but it's definitely a wine to savor.
You'd do well to consider Sonoma wines as well: Chateau St. Jean has a 2003 offering that's complex, deep and lingers satisfyingly -- and it's only $27. And Ravenswood's 2003 vintage is, if you like strength in wine, another excellent and affordable choice, at just $18.

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Indianapolis, IN: Hello, I have a group of 5 girls (median age 30 years old) who are going to the Napa valley for the first time. We are flying into SFO on 3/29/07 and will be there for 3 nights. We are staying at the Vino Bello Resort in Napa. We have many questions. First...what is the best route of transportation to take us from the airport to our hotel... or should we just rent a car? Next, what wineries??!! Should we hire a driver? We will be there Thurs. afternoon, Friday, and Saturday. Anything else to do besides drink wine?? We like to go dancing and drink wine too. Thank you for any reccomendations.

Avital Binshtock: What fun! I'm right around that age category too, so you're asking the right gal. To address your first question, in my opinion, you should rent a car and drive into wine country from the airport. Since there's barely any useful public transportation in Napa, it's almost impossible to explore the region without wheels. So you might as well rent right at the airport -- if you book online via rental-car company websites before you travel, you're likely to get better rates. If you need to, though, for $29, you can ride to Napa Valley from SFO with Evans Transportation (707-255-1559).

 
To answer your questions about which wineries, I'm going to assume that this is your first visit to wine country and refer you to my answer to the Angeleno's question above ("Which wineries would you recommend for someone who is not a wine expert, but wants to learn more about wine?"). My book would be a great tool, though, to help the five of you pick out which winery sounds most collectively appealing; see Chapter 7.


As for whether your group should hire a driver, I'd go with yes, but only on the days that you're planning to go winery to winery. I doubt that any of you would be happy abstaining during this fun time for all of you, and wine-tasting and driving go together just about as well as oil and water -- not a good idea. See my recommendations (above) for the other Angeleno who asked for the best way to get around safely.

 
Anything else to do besides drink wine? Um, yeah, there are a few more things to do in wine country besides drink wine. Only about a million other things. Ever gone hot-air ballooning? Soaked in mineral hot springs or taken a therapeutic mud bath? Dined at what's often called America's best restaurant? (That's French Laundry, for those who didn't get the reference.) Canoed down the Russian River? Strolled amidst millennia-old redwoods? Driven windswept down fabled Highway 1 to a restaurant overlooking the sea? Come face to face with a wildebeest at a safari wildlife preserve? Gotten the spa treatment of your life? Watched Old Faithful Geyser erupt? Visited the Culinary Institute of America? Wandered a lively farmer's market? Checked out a museum about Snoopy? Toured an apple or rose ranch? Sampled cheese to your heart's content? Seen California's 21st and last mission? Paid tribute at author Jack London's onetime home? Biked past countless rows of vineyards fanning by? You get the point.

As far as nightlife goes, sadly, there's not much to speak of in wine country. Hurley's in Yountville stays open until midnight for cocktails, and River Rock Casino is open 24/7, but it's in Geyserville, which is a drive from Napa. Have you considered spending a night in San Francisco? The after-dark scene there is world-class.

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Napa: Can you please recommend good bed and breakfasts?

Avital Binshtock: Most certainly.
NAPA: 1801 First InnBeazley HouseCandlelight InnChurchill ManorLavender 
SONOMA: Beltane RanchThe Cottage Inn & Spa Mission B&BGaige House Inn (OK, maybe this one is more upscale inn than B&B, but it still has that homey feel and amazing breakfasts are included.) Grape Leaf InnHonor Mansion (It's pricey, but you'll get pure luxury.)

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San Francisco, CA: Whats the best way to find affordable accommodations in California Wine coutry?

Avital Binshtock: I'm a huge fan of SideStep. This travel search engine scans more than 200 sites to find the best travel bargains available online. Whenever I'm looking to stay cheap, I can rely on SideStep to find me something that's well within my budget. Just enter "Napa" or "Sonoma" into the search bar, scroll to "Sort by Price" and rejoice at the low numbers you'll see popping up. Just be sure you're not booking something too far away from where you want to be -- location counts.

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Venice, CA: What are the most affordable spas in Napa and Sonoma? Any spa treatments in particular you can recommend?

Avital Binshtock: Hmm, spa treatments generally aren't cheap, so this is a bit of a toughie. Calistoga might be your best bet, what with Dr. Wilkinson's and Indian Springs offering comparatively reasonable rates -- but keep in mind that these aren't luxury resorts and that if décor is important to you in a spa experience, you won't get that here. What you will get, though, is an experience that allows you to detoxify in a volcanic-ash mud bath, then to soak in a wildly bubbling mineral bath, then to get wrapped in a blanket, then to have a muscle-melting massage. At Dr. Wilkinson's, it's called "The Works," and it's not for everyone (refrain if you're sensitive to heat or think you might not like being surrounded in mud), but at $149 for the whole shebang, it's not a bad deal. If you just want a massage at either of these places, $60 will get you started with 30 minutes.


Guerneville is another town that's likely to have lower spa prices. At Touch of Greene Bath Shop & Wellness Spa on Main Street, prices range from $10 for a 10-minute chair massage to $135 for the 90-minute Bali Sea & Flower Scrub. Facials start at $80.

 
Cost aside, there are indeed specific spa treatments that I recommend. Villagio's River Stone Massage is amazing. At The Lodge at Sonoma's lovely Raindance Spa, try the Olive Oil Aromatherapy Massage. Or, if you're spiritually inclined, the Gemstone Journey. The little spa at Hotel Healdsburg  also has some nice offerings; I have enjoyed the Combination Massage.


If you happen to be making a stop in San Francisco, go to the small spa at Hotel Vitale and request that Angel be your therapist; you'll leave walking on air.

On a side note, I have to predict that the first spa that opens in wine country billing itself as an affordable alternative to all those other ritzy spas will do extraordinarily well. Self-care is just so important and there really are not enough reasonably priced options out there.

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Cincinnati, OH: What would be an unforgettable two day itinerary in the Napa/Sonoma wine country? Pat

Avital Binshtock: I'd spend the first day in Napa, the second in Sonoma like so:
DAY 1 (NAPA):
1) Start in Downtown Napa, stopping at Dwight Murray Plaza to see the clock tower and waterfront mural, Napa Town Center, to get a feel for everyday life here, Vintner's Collective, to kick off your wine-tasting day, the Opera House and perhaps the Firefighters Museum.

 Napa Valley Conference and Visitors Bureau, 1310 Napa Town Ctr., Napa [tel] 707/226-7459.Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 11am -5pm.


2) Stop at Napa General Store to pick up a boxed lunch to eat at your leisure.


3) Visit The Hess Collection. The beautiful drive up provides a good example of the pristine scenery that characterizes much of Northern California. The winery itself is welcoming and has lots to see, including art galleries, a garden that fully blooms in summer, a reflecting pond with water lilies and the impressive stone-walled tasting room in the original 1903 winery.

 
4) Visit Clos du Val. You can't say you've done Napa's best without having seen at least one winery along the Silverado Trail--and if it's in the small, exclusive Stags Leap District, so much the better. Clos du Val satisfies both requisites.

 
5) Head up the long, vineyard-flanked driveway to get to Domaine Chandon. Cross a small footbridge over a life-filled pond (keep an eye out for egrets) and past some interesting sculptures (including a faux mushroom field) to enter the educational visitor center. Domaine Chandon is owned by the venerable French company Moët et Chandon, and what you get is pretty similar. Sample the full range in the tasting salon as knowledgeable staff members explain the nuances of effervescent wine.

 
6) Go to mission-style Robert Mondavi Winery. The winery gives the valley's most comprehensive tours, from basic jaunts to extensive 4-hour overtures that include a 3-course meal. Given today's time constraint, however, opt for the former (still very educational) or simply visit the art gallery before or after tasting.

 
7) Rubicon Estate will be your last winery of the day. Still better known by its former name, Niebaum-Coppola (and even to some, the historic name before that, Inglenook Vineyards), Rubicon is director Francis Ford Coppola's spectacular, ivy-draped 1880s stone winery that exudes momentous grandeur. A caveat: this is one of the valley's more expensive wineries to visit. There's a $25 admission fee, but that includes tasting five wines and a tour.

 
8) Choose your dinner option: If you truly want the best, most memorable, Napa dining experience, then there's only one place to go: a famous little restaurant called The French Laundry. Plainly put, this is unlike any other dinner you've ever had. Chef Thomas Keller's intricate preparations, often finished tableside, are presented with uncommon artistry by highly professional servers. The prix-fixe dinners come in either five or nine utterly sublime courses (a vegetarian menu is an option), but when the check arrives, close your eyes as you slip your credit card into the folio while reassuring yourself that this was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience. Reservations are required and should be made at least 2 months in advance. If you've still got next month's rent to make, the more modest Grill at Silverado serves excellent Cal-Asian fare made with ingredients from local farms.

 
DAY 2 (SONOMA):
1) Start your day at Chateau St. Jean. Notable for its exceptionally beautiful buildings and expansive landscaped grounds, this winery is a pioneer in vineyard designation. In the large tasting room, sample the wide array of wines.

 
2) Benziger Family Winery presents a wonderful 45-minute tractor-tram tour ($10) which winds through the estate vineyards while providing a thorough explanation of why it's a certified biodynamic winery, stops so you can walk into aromatic aging caves, and ends with a tasting.

 
3) Lunch at Jack's Bistro & Wine Bar, a lovingly refurbished and French-inspired brasserie in Glen Ellen.

 
4) Hit Gundlach Bundschu. If it looks like the people working here are enjoying themselves, that's because they are. The small, often crowded tasting room plays rock music as carefree-but-attentive staffers happily pour chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot, cabernet and other vintages.

 
5) Check out Viansa Winery. This sprawling Tuscan-style villa perches atop a knoll overlooking lower Sonoma. The winery's focal point for visitors is its marketplace, a large room with a cornucopia of high-quality foodstuff (lots of samples), wine-related gifts and, of course, a tasting counter.

 
6) Wander Sonoma Plaza. The eight-acre site of the 1846 Bear Flag Revolt is the pulse point of the entire county, and it hums with history and local culture. Its park-like atmosphere promotes cheeriness, while historic monuments--like the beautiful Mission San Francisco de Solano, City Hall, General Vallejo's home and old army barracks--add wonder and mystique. You'll be hard-pressed not to leave the plaza lugging shopping bags, since the boutiques, bakeries, tasting rooms and galleries are nearly irresistible.


7) Have dinner at the girl and the fig, a local favorite right on the plaza. From its refusal to use upper-case letters to its inventive nouveau French cuisine, this warmly decorated eatery defies convention, which works greatly to its benefit. Sit outside if the weather's good, and save room for dessert.

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los angeles ca: im (27) looking to surprise my girlfriend (23) with a fun romantic weekend getaway sometime in April, where should i go thats not too expensive, too far, or too crowded? thanks. -j

Avital Binshtock: What a lovely idea! I'd have to say that of the two valleys, Sonoma is the more romantic. It's less developed, less hurried and there are more chances to catch quiet moments together. My advice is to rent a tandem bike, pick up food in the morning, then cycle from winery to winery, picnicking along the way. Which wineries to hit? Ravenswood, Sebastiani, Bartholomew Park and Gundlach Bundschu are a nice mix. For dinner, she'll be highly impressed if you take her to French Laundry. But if you're not looking to splurge to that degree (a meal for two is easily more than $400), restaurants like The General's Daughter, Della Santina's, Harmony and La Toque are extremely romantic. Book a cozy but upscale hotel like The Cottages of Napa Valley.

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Phoenix, Arizona: I will be visiting Healdsburg June 20-21 with 2 friends. We would like to tour several wineries while there. All three of us are particularly fond of Zins and Pinor Noirs. Any suggestions for wineries to visit in the area? I've also read about olive oil tastings. Are there any such things in the Healdsburg area?

Avital Binshtock: I'll address your last question first: Yes, there are olive oil tastings throughout wine country. In the town of Healdsburg, your best bet is a great shop called Plaza Farms; it's likely to have olive oils available for sampling. Elsewhere in wine country, you can sample olive oil at Dutch Henry winery in Calistoga, Olivier (a French-inspired purveyor of epicurean delights) on St. Helena's Main Street and at St. Helena Olive Oil Co. (another storefront in St. Helena).


One of my favorite wineries to visit is in Healdsburg: Roshambo, a playful place with an ubercool tasting lounge (glass walls and Russian River Valley views). There's also a smooth wooden ceiling and a serious modern art collection. It's named after the Japanese rock-paper-scissors game, and they actually hold invitational tournaments. Also in Healdsburg is Ferrari-Carano, one of wine country's most beautiful wineries. Villa Fiore, its Tuscan-style hospitality center, has a tasting bar overlooking the estate's impressive fountains. On the tour, experience behind-the-scenes winemaking, an underground cellar and an eye-popping ramble through five acres of verdant gardens laced with streams and waterfalls. Hop Kiln Winery is also in Healdsburg. Its distinctive and old-fashioned hop kiln structure is a California Historical Landmark. For pinot noir, go to Arista Winery and for zin, try De La Montanya Winery (which surrounded by apple orchards, golden poppies and Felta Creek). There are also some excellent tasting rooms on Healdsburg's downtown square: La Crema (for pinot noir), Thumbprint Cellars, Toad Hollow and Cellar 360.

 
If you can, dine at Cyrus -- it's in Healdsburg and is likely the best restaurant in all of Sonoma.

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New Hartford, NY: My fiance and I are planning our honeymoon in California. Since he is a railroad fan, we will fly to Denver, CO to take Amtrak's California Zephyr to Sacramento (October 4-5, 2007). We have some ideas about visiting Napa Valley, San Francisco, Yosemite and possibly Lake Tahoe. With so much to do at these wonderful locations, we would appreciate any recommendations to focus us!

Erika K.

New Hartford, NY

Avital Binshtock: A railroad fan, huh? If you're not sick of trains by the time you get into Napa, you can do the Napa Valley Wine Train. It's basically a rolling restaurant, and one of the most leisurely ways to get an overview of Napa. The food isn't outstanding, but the 3-hour journey is aboard vintage-style railway cars. Sit on the west side for the best views.

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Denver, CO: I hear wine country is quite busy in the summer and early fall. What are some tips for dealing with/avoiding the crowds?

Avital Binshtock: Excellent question. First, choose Sonoma over Napa. Napa will aways be more crowded. Second, avoid Highway 29 like the plague. Silverado Trail is a good alternative, or break out the maps to chart a backroads path to where you want to get. Often, those byways are prettier anyway. Arrive at tasting rooms as soon as they open in the morning. Even during high season, most wineries have few visitors at opening time. Schedule spa treatments and the like for the afternoon, when everyone else will be clamoring for a pour into their flight glass. Make all restaurant reservations in advance in order to avoid long waits. And, finally, consider visiting in winter. Sure, it's not harvest season, but you'll have the place all to yourself.

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Covington, LA: We are arriving in Sonoma 4/18 for 2 nights, then going to Healdsburg for 3 nights. We are interested in hiking/biking, possibly around the coast for the mornings before wine tastings slow us down. Are there any excellent bike routes, i.e. throught the redwoods or along the coast for us to try. We are both moderately fit. Thanks so much.--Maria

Avital Binshtock: Yes! Wine country is the consummate biker's destination. With incomparable scenery and relatively flat terrain, a bike ride here is enjoyable even in gentle rain. In my book, I outline a great Yountville bike tour. Mostly on the Silverado Trail, you'll take in all the beauty Napa has to offer.
For hiking, Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve and adjacent Austin Creek State Recreation Area are arguably wine country's best hiking destinations. The 805-acre Armstrong reserve is the natural California you always see in photos: think majestic redwoods. The 5,683-acre Austin Creek area, by contrast, is more of an open forest and has all the accompanying wildlife diversity. Both are part of the California State Parks system, in the Russian River region just north of Guerneville. I recommend the loop hike (elevation climb of about 1,100 feet).
For coastal scenery, drive Highway 1 along Sonoma Coast State Beach and get out to hike wherever you feel like it. Along this spectacular 21-mile drive, you'll see some of California's most gorgeous coastal land -- and that's saying a heck of a lot. You'll pass rugged shale bluffs, coves, headlands and offshore reefs. More than 300 bird species populate this stretch of land and if it's spring, you'll also see capacious sprays of wildflowers like blue lupine and verbena. Beaches -- most of which have tide pools teeming with invertebrate life--are accessible from more than a dozen points. If you want, veer right when you reach Goat Rock Rd. to visit the peninsula's tip, Whale Point, so named because the annual Grey Whale migration passes through here from Dec-April.

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Avital Binshtock: Thanks so much for your wonderful questions, and apologies that I couldn't get to all of them. I hope my answers have helped you plan a special trip to California's gorgeous wine country. To make your journey even more memorable, bring along a copy of my book, Frommer's Napa and Sonoma Day by Day. I know that all of you will have wondrous travels.
Cheers!
Avital Binshtock

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