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Farmhouse Inn


2013 was an exceptional year for many reasons but for the Farmhouse Inn and Restaurant some of the press and accolades that came our way this last year were truly amazing.  Our guests made some of it happen for us but we were featured in quite a few distinctive press pieces too.  Here's a hint of just a few of them and more detail to the end (we have a special request).



You know how excited we are about romance and it was great to be recognized as a top mini-moon destination by Martha Stewart in July. Then right on the heels of that came the announcement that our guests had voted us #38 in the World on Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best Hotels list. This was our debut on the list so you can imagine how excited we were. We shared the celebration with our guests...the champagne was flowing the whole month of August.



In Spring our restaurant team
(and owners, Joe
and Catherine)
flew to New York
to prepare a big
dinner at the
James Beard House,
something that
all culinary professionals have
on their bucket

It was quite an honor to be invited.

Here's Joe, Chef Steve,
Catherine, Pattie, and Neil
hanging out in New York.



The excitement continued with a feature in Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, something we’ve been hoping for since we purchased the Inn in 2001. We are not quite sure when he visited but he gave us a score of 94 on his anonymous review (and the highest score from his visit to Northern California). It was a big surprise for us (a very nice one).

Those are just a few of the highlights from 2013; it was a phenomenal year for us and looks quite impressive when you see the whole list on our press page on the Farmhouse Inn website. Here's a bit more detail on the most exciting events in 2013 for Farmhouse Inn. 

To be voted to Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best list at all is quite an honor, but to debut at #38 in the World is truly stunning. We couldn’t have done it without our Farmhouse guest's support. The voting window for the list is every January through March and those fans that voted for us made our debut on the list splashier than we ever could have dreamed of.  Not only were we on the Best Hotel in the World list, but we were also voted as the #3 BEST Inn in the United States. For some perspective other hotels on the World’s Best list included Castello di Casole in Tuscany (we’ll circle back to them next week) and The Peninsula Beverly Hills. Nice company; we were truly honored to be included on this list of  world-class properties and we hope our fans do it for us again in 2014! If you haven’t voted yet we hope you do before the voting closes in two weeks because we hope to celebrate with our fans again this summer!


In April of 2013 our Restaurant Team (Chef Steve Litke, Sous Chef Neil Corsten, Pastry Chef Pattie Taan, and Master Sommelier Geoff Kruth) all flew to New York to prepare a meal at the renowned James Beard House. To be invited to the James Beard House is something that chefs dream about and we couldn’t have been more excited to have received the invitation. The menu was beautiful, the Sonoma County wines Geoff selected were a perfect compliment to each course, and the attendees were ideal dining companions. After several days of too much good food, sight seeing and soaking up New York we headed back to California and started planning how we could do that trip all over again. No plan for a New York repeat yet, but just to stimulate your foodie brain click here for last year’s Farmhouse Inn at the James Beard House menu. And on your next visit to the Farmhouse be sure to checkout the wineries that were featured at this dinner.


For those of you not familiar with Andrew Harper a good introduction to them is a look at the  Hideaway Report, a publication released every month focusing on 1 to 3 travel destinations around the world. The Hideaway Report is highly respected as a source for travelers, much like wine lovers refer to Wine Spectator. What we love about Andrew Harper is their amazing attention to detail, their honest reviews in the Hideaway Report and their truly excellent customer service. The Farmhouse Inn was included in the May 2013 Hideaway Report in a larger piece, “A Blissful Road Through California’s Wine Lands”. A quick peek at what they had to say: “Butter-yellow clapboard siding, shuttered windows and a front veranda make it look country simple at first glance, but it is also wonderfully sophisticated, seamlessly merging the rural and the contemporary.” Makes us want to spend the night! We feel so lucky to be a part of Andrew Harper and look forward to an amazing 2014 with them. Be sure to read next week’s blog that will share the Andrew Harper Grand Awards (could Farmhouse Inn be there?).


Enough about stellar 2013;  we have a lot of work to do to make sure that 2014 surpasses it. Next week we’ll talk about things to come in 2014 including a partnership with an amazing property in Italy (yes, you are invited), the Andrew Harper Grand Awards and the 2014 Travel and Leisure’s World’s Best list. One more plug and we’re done, we promise: Vote for Farmhouse on TL’s World’s Best Survey! Click here to go to the survey. (Hint: we are listed under Sonoma County)


budbreak in Sonoma County


We don't usually see the beginning of the grape harvest until August (our busiest time in the wine country), but spring in Sonoma Wine Country is pretty busy and just about our favorite time of year.  All around the Russian River Valley we see vineyard crews pruning vines getting ready for the growing season. The worst of winter is over and Spring is just getting ready to bust out all over.


I just heard about the first hints of budbreak from a couple of the wineries. Hold your breath now...the vineyards can't stand any hard freezes during this time. You wouldn't think something like this would get us all excited but just look...the beginnings of that amazing wine in your glass.



Gary Farrell Winery

At the Farmhouse Inn we are lucky to work with some truly great partners that make every visit to the wine country an amazing experience.  From our Winery Partners to our Spa Team, and our favorite bicycle guide and transportation company, the Farmhouse Inn has cultivated some of the best relationships in Wine Country.  If you haven’t stayed with us yet or you have an upcoming reservation we hope that you get to meet some of these people and that you have the chance to indulge in the wonderful experiences we have to offer in Sonoma County.  We decided that it would be a good idea to tell you a little bit about each of them. And if you’re looking to book any of these experiences don’t hesitate to contact a Farmhouse Inn Concierge; we’re happy to share some of secrets of the wine country with you!





best of Sonoma Wine country


We've been seeing Sonoma Wine Country featured in both the local and national press quite often lately.  Whether discussing wine destination regions, reviewing up and coming winemakers or focusing on sustainability practices, recent press mentioning Sonoma has inspired us to do a roundup just in case you missed something.



Russian River Valley


If you haven’t checked your calendar since the New Year, than you may not have realized that Valentine’s Day is less than a month from now. Not to worry - if you haven’t started planning yet...because Farmhouse Inn is declaring the whole month of February as the Month of Romance.  Tell your significant other that you don't want to limit the celebration of your love to a single day- you want to celebrate all month long- then sneak in a little trip to the wine country.



Sonoma Wine country

This is the time of year when we reflect on the trials and tribulations of the past year.  What a list! Sonoma County has been getting much noticed as a desired destination but nothing has topped the "#1 Wine Destination in the U.S." by TripAdvisor's Travelers' Choice Awards - Napa Valley was #2 in the U.S. (and Sonoma was voted second in the World- right behind Tuscany at #1- I guess we can live with that).  



Farmhouse Inn Tesla Test Drives


It is hard to live in the California wine country and not embrace farm-to-table cuisine. If a restaurant does not celebrate the bounty of our Sonoma County farms and farmers it does not last long in this area.  The focus of our chef and the restaurant menu on organic, sustainable, and local purveyors is often more expensive but as the diners continually tell us - it is so worth it. That is only one facet of our approach to becoming more environmentally friendly (and healthier and it tastes better too) and embracing all things green.


Recently Tesla Motors brought up two of their S sedans to offer test drives and we had a charging station installed just to be able to do that. What an exciting day that was!



National Heirloom Exposition

The end of summer is the perfect time to explore Sonoma County. Living in California is definitely not hard to take-Sunny days, a little cooler evenings and all the flavors of summer harvest around us. It is harvest time in the wine country and the grapes are making their way on their magical journey from the vine to the bottle. This week the National Heirloom Exposition  (the World's Fair of Pure Food) is right here in Santa Rosa at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds. It is the third year for the Expo and it just keeps getting bigger and better each year.  If you are in the area this Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (and the words organic, sustainable, and biodynamic are in your vocabulary) I sincerely hope you can make it.



Grapes ripening in Sonoma

It's September and harvest time in the wine country.  The weather is beautiful and as we head into Labor Day weekend in Sonoma Wine Country, there is no better time to come and share what this paradise on earth offers.  Harvest has arrived in the Russian River Valley; here at Farmhouse Inn our guests are getting the complete experience at our partner wineries.  Nearby neighbors Thomas George Estates and Gary Farrell Winery  are already receiving the earliest ripening grape varietals; Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay,and even some Pinot Noirs are coming in from the warmer areas of Russian River Valley.

It's a very busy time of year here in the wine country. The vines are heavy with fruit and the late night/early morning lights and rumble of grape trucks are a constant reminder that harvest time is upon us.

This weekend we celebrate one of California's most favorite wine regions with Sonoma Wine Country Weekend; the largest and most fun charitable event of the area.  

Our wine and food community invite you to indulge in the Sonoma County lifestyle of world class wine and fresh, local cuisine, all while raising funds that make a better future for our kids and our county. Produced in partnership by the Sonoma Valley Vintners & Growers Alliance and the Sonoma County Vintners the 2013 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend event features Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch, Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean, Sonoma Starlight at Francis Ford Coppola winery and many intimate and exclusive winery lunch and dinner parties at multiple locations throughout Sonoma County. The event benefits more  than 30 Sonoma County charities that help students, children, farm workers and  people in need.

There will be 200-plus wineries and chefs showcasing their talents at Taste of Sonoma at MacMurray Ranch.  You will see Farmhouse Restaurant Chef Steve Litke there serving his famous Octopus Brochettes. (No picture just yet but that is a link to the recipe). See you there!


The entire month of September is a month long celebration of the diversity and quality of California wines. Regions throughout the state are highlighted during California Wine Month.  Wineries are celebrating with more than 100 fun educational activities--from hands-on workshops and wine pairings to VIP tours, events, and special offers to allow visitors to experience the excitement of harvest firsthand. Did you know California's wine industry produces 90 percent of U.S. wine, attracts 21 million visitors annually, and generates 820,000 jobs nationwide (330,000 of which are in California)?  That is cause to celebrate! 







The last days of summer and harvest time in the Russian River Valley is a great time to visit and enjoy all Sonoma county has to offer. If you've never seen harvest in action, you've probably never felt the excitement as tractors and trucks bounce down vineyard roads and shouts from the crews picking grapes fill the foggy morning air. 


Harvest is the culmination a year of hard work (and a little praying).  All this to get that little grape into the bottle and into your glass...Here's a little video...The Life of a Grapevine to fill you in on the whole process.

We have some grapes growing on the fence out by the pool here at Farmhouse are welcome to come by and harvest some yourself. They are just about ready.

We continue the celebration of harvest the first weekend in October with the Sonoma County Harvest Fair in Santa Rosa, complete with a Grape Stomp Competition.  (Maybe this video can help you with what to do with those grapes you stole off the fence.)



The Harvest Fair celebrates the local harvest featuring three full days of all-inclusive wine tasting with 150+ wineries, wine sales, food pairing, craft beer & cider tasting, marketplace, chef demonstrations and workshops, and of course, the World Championship Grape Stomp and much more.

Make plans to join us and taste the best of Sonoma County!


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