So armed with printed pages from Google Maps, my friend M and I took turns at the wheel as we made our way upstate from SF. We both agreed to do only one winery on this trip so we would have time for all the other things we wanted to see and do while there. The day couldn't have been more perfect. Yhe sun was shining and the leaves were swaying gently. As we cruised along the country road, I felt a flood of happiness in my veins. Roadtrip with good friend, perfect weather, gorgeous scenery, prospecting fine wine & food, this is the stuff dreams are made of.
Our first stop was the Viansa Winery. Few places in the world are more romantic than a gorgeous villa surrounded by vineyards. We caught glimpses of the Italian hilltop villa through the olive trees as we made our way up the driveway and into the parking lot. I stepped out of M's camry and into what could have been a vineyard in Tuscany.
The Sebastiani family's Tuscan heritage is visible everywhere, from the architecture : the fountain in the courtyard ,the red-tiled roofs, frescoes, sculptures, traditional artisan iron-work to the things they produced: the food, olive oil and of course the wine. The winery was founded in 1989 by the Sebastiani family and produces some of the finest Italian wines in the region.
We checked out the cool cave cellar with its interspersed arching alcoves topped with a high vaulted ceiling before heading to the Italian Marketplace at the back of the villa. Barbera Rose, Prosecco, Dolcetto, Muscat Canelli are just some of the wines made in these grounds. Upstairs is the marketplace/tasting room, I was surprised to find a very extensive array of food products. They had salsas, jams, dipping oils, spreads, cheeses, side by side with Tuscan-inspired tableware, cookbooks and souvenirs. I made my rounds from table to table sampling everything, sparing none. Everything was so good, I almost forgot about the wines!
At the rear of the villa is the beautiful picnic grounds, a popular venue for wedding receptions. Here, the guests are treated to an expansive view of the countryside, a perfect backdrop for the rustic atmosphere. I could have sat there for hours, maybe even all day and into the night if I had a good bottle of wine with me and some pairings. But we had a long day ahead of us and it was time to move on. Still so much to see!
Viansa Winery & Italian Marketplace
25200 Arnold Dr., Sonoma CA 95476