A #SundayFunday in Sonoma Valley

Last weekend my wife and I decided, spur of the moment, to head up Sonoma to go to the Fremont Diner and then do some wine tasting.


We got off to a later start than we hoped for.  When we arrived at the Fremont Diner we were told it would be a 90 minute wait for a table.  Given its popularity (deservedly so – the food is straight up delicious!) – not a surprise.

We opted to get our food to-go.  We ordered a couple of favorites: Shrimp & Grits, and an Oyster Po Boy.

We recalled that near-by Cline Cellar has a wonderful picnic area.  We called over to be sure it was OK to bring in outside food.  We were told “No problem”.

IMG_3914 IMG_3915We picked up a chilled bottle of their Farmhouse White Wine – a Sauvignon Blanc lead blend, and settled in for an impromptu picnic…


The wine was a perfect partner for our food!

After our picnic, we decided to hang out in Sonoma Valley rather than heading over Dry Creek Valley or Russian River Valley.  Beside, we haven’t done very much tasting in Sonoma Valley, so it was a chance to try some wineries we’d not visited before.

We didn’t have a plan beyond going to the Fremont Dinner to eat.  So we winged it (while we had a wonderful day , I recommend you do some planning via the very helpful Sonoma Valley website)

Our first stop was Tin Barn Vineyards.

Inside the tasting room at Tin Barn Vineyards

Tin Barn Vineyards produces single vineyard wines highlighting the true character of Sonoma County vineyard

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All the wines were wonderful!  We picked up a bottle of their 2012 Sonoma Coast Coryelle Fields Syrah, and 2012 Ricci Vineyard Pinot Noir.

Our next stop was Schug… which was on my mind.  It a winery I’ve wanted to visit for years, but never did.  A day before, I learned that founder Walter Schug has passed in an article by Linda Murphy entitled Walter Schug – Sonoma’s Subtle Superstar

The estate vineyards at Schug

The tasting room has an old school feel to it, and we tasted some a couple of Schug’s very good Pinot Noirs, a Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and this lovely sparkling Pinot Noir..


We decided to check off another winery that has been on my list for years – Gundlach Bunschu Winery and Vineyards (“GunBun”)

The family has been in Sonoma since 1858!


It’s the oldest family-owned winery in California.  They offer daily tours and tasting.  We decided to do a $20 reserve tasting that included 4 wines of our choice and the 2012 Vintage Reserve ( 94pts WA)

The caves were closed when we arrived, but we plan to come back and do the cave tour…


A cool mural on the Gundlach Bundschu property

My favorite wine was their 2012 Vintage Reserve –  a Bordeaux Blend


After GunBun, we headed over to the Sonoma Plaza to do some window shopping, visit another winery, and maybe grab a treat before heading home.

After some window shopping, we visited Hawkes Wine.


Hawkes is not new to us.  We’ve visited their other location in Alexander Valley a few times.  We really enjoy their wines, so we were glad to see their tasting room in the plaza.

I thought all the wines were memorable….

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But the treat of the day was when they poured their 2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from magnum!


After Hawkes, we decided to grab a coffee, and for my wife, a cookie at Basque Boulangerie Cafe.

I was in the mood for some ice cream, so stopped at Sweet Scoops Homemade Ice Cream.


After trying several samples, i settled on “A-Lotta-Choco-Lotta”.  It’s some of the best chocolate ice cream, I’ve ever had!


It was a sweet ending  to an awesome day in Sonoma Valley! On our drive home we asked ourselves why we don’t visit the area more often.  We will…and I recommend you do too!


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  1. Danielle Irwin says:

    Wow- you packed a lot in! What a great day :). I have yet to do Fremont Diner as I’m always daunted by the lines when I drive past, but just going to have to brave it one day soon. I’ve always loved Sonoma.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      Thanks Danielle! Fremont Diner definitely worth the wait. I had a friend who went yesterday and said the wait was only 15 minutes. Maybe Sunday less busy than Saturday? And the earlier the better. Cheers!

  2. anthonut says:

    Looks like a great trip. I made a quick overnight trip to Sonoma this weekend as well for the Bedrock pickup party. I also decided after to do some tasting in Sonoma Valley. For one reason or another my wife and I have never really explored the area staying instead toward Dry Creek and Alexander Valleys. It was a very busy weekend up there but very fun to visit both old favorites and some new finds.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      How about that Anthony! I’m on the Bedrock mailing list as well! Unfortunately wasn’t able to make it up on a Saturday. Typically when we go for a BWC pickup we stop at Fremont Diner. We were craving a visit so decided to head up on a Sunday…Which wineries in Sonoma Valley did you hit? Any recs for me?

      1. anthonut says:

        I had not heard of Fremont before, so that is now definitely on my list for future visits. After stopping in at Bedrock I decided to check out Ravenswood. Figured I would see what was happening at the other Peterson winery 😉 Nancy in the tasting room recommended Eric Ross in Glen Ellen and Ty Caton in Kenwood. I had not heard of either so figured it was time for an adventure.

        Eric Ross had decent wines very well made but nothing memorable. However, the tasting room is run by an older husband and wife couple that are hilarious. It was worth the visit just to meet Dennis and Diane. Their tasting room is right across from a small chocolate shop so double bonus!

        Ty Caton had some very good wines. They have a number of small block Cabernet’s though many of their other wines are slightly non-traditional blends. I also really like Petit Syrah, and they have a varietal bottling as well as use it liberally in some of their blends. I thought Ty’s Estate Red blend was a particularly good value.

        Looking forward to my next trip up to Sonoma, though not sure when that will be as we live in San Diego so it’s a bit of a trip :)

      2. Martin D. Redmond says:

        I’ll have to check out Ty Caton…not familiar with them. I was in San Diego last month. I my oldest daughter lives there. Great craft beer scene!

  3. What a great way to spend Sunday! I’ve always wanted to go to Fremont Diner but we never seem to make it.

    1. Martin D. Redmond says:

      It’s definitely worth a visit Christy! We usually go up to pick up our Bedrock Wine Allocation, then do some other stuff in the area. We love Sonoma…less hectic than Napa… Any luck finding a Valle d’Aosta red yet?

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