Sip and Cycle - It's the Only Way to Travel; California's Napa Valley May Be a Wine Lover's Paradise, but the Neighbouring Sonoma Valley Is Also a Great Place to Appreciate a Fine Tipple, Writes Jon Perks

The Birmingham Post (England), February 7, 2013 | Go to article overview

Sip and Cycle - It's the Only Way to Travel; California's Napa Valley May Be a Wine Lover's Paradise, but the Neighbouring Sonoma Valley Is Also a Great Place to Appreciate a Fine Tipple, Writes Jon Perks


Byline: Jon Perks 1

There are Californian winemakers who still shake their fist at the mere mention of Paul Giamatti's name.

It was his character, Miles Raymond, in Alexander Payne's fabulous comedy drama Sideways, who uttered the famous line that angered so many Napa Valley growers: "No, if anyone orders merlot, I'm leaving. I am NOT drinking any f***ing merlot!" Sales of merlot noticeably dropped both sides of the Atlantic, and they still furrow their brow at the mere mention of the film.

Happily for the folk in the neighbouring Sonoma Valley, they do so much more than merlot.

In Sonoma, 'zin' is in. That's zinfandel to you. That, pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, cabernet sauvignon ('cab sav') and some cinsault.

Sonoma is Napa's lesser-known little brother; quieter, less brash but no less impressive.

There are just as many vineyards in Sonoma where you can sip, slurp and spit - 400 and counting - with some beautiful rugged coastline, stunning scenery and interesting towns - including Bodega Bay, where Hitchcock shot The Birds - in between all those tastings.

Our journey to Sonoma, north on Route 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge out of San Francisco, took around two hours, to the quaintly quiet 'town' of Occidental, some 40 minutes south of Healdsburg, probably the centre of the area's wine industry and home to its fair share of wineries. Occidental itself little more than a single road with a few decent restaurants, pub, general store and the wonderfully relaxed and welcoming Inn at Occidental. Owned and run by Tina and Jerry Wolsborn, it's a secluded haven with characterful rooms (ours included a four-poster made from silver birch tree trunks), where there's always a pot of coffee on the go and every day at 5pm is cheese and wine on the patio. Marilyn, one of their cheery staff (she and chef Victoria appear permanently sunny and smiling) tours the verandah constantly topping up your glass. If you've not had your fill of reds and whites in the day, that is.

But if you have, you're on the wrong holiday.

The weather was uncharacteristically overcast on the morning of our 'Sip and Cycle' tour, but it didn't bother us or our guide Tom from Getaway Adventures.

As the name suggests, this is a two-wheeled tour of Sonoma's vineyards, sampling as you go, punctuated by a wonderful picnic and mile after mile of fields of vines. You'll usually start in Healdsburg, but Tom kindly met us in Occidental and first took us up the Coleman Valley Road which heads down to the coast. After a bracing ride to the sea, we next visited the Armstrong Redwoods, an area of stunning woodland saved from the axe by the eponymous conservationist, a former Civil War colonel. One of the trees, a 300ft tall specimen which dates back 1,400 years, bears his name in tribute.

But enough of redwoods - it was oak barrels we had come to seek out. While Sonoma Coast and Russian River are predominantly pinot noir and chardonnay growing regions thanks to the coastal fog and damp conditions, Dry Creek - our destination - favours zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon et al.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Sip and Cycle - It's the Only Way to Travel; California's Napa Valley May Be a Wine Lover's Paradise, but the Neighbouring Sonoma Valley Is Also a Great Place to Appreciate a Fine Tipple, Writes Jon Perks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.