Wine_Country_Blog

Wine Country Blog: Innsights to the Wine Country

VALENTINE'S DAY + WINE COUNTRY + FARMHOUSE INN = ROMANCE

By Meghan Smith on January 27, 2016

Valentine's Day is upon us: That oh so magical time of year synonymous with red roses, chocolates in a box, and teddy bears holding hearts.  Forgot to make a plan? You are not alone and thankfully the romance experts at Farmhouse Inn are here to help. We have declared February as the Month of Romance (why limit to a single day?) and the Sonoma wine country is perfect for a romantic getaway.  Whether surprising your loved one with a last minute romantic interlude or adding on some delightful extras to an already-planned trip, we are here to make sure that your Valentine’s Day amounts to more than bad candy or even worse;  bad champagne. We have a 3 step plan that will make you look like a hero this Valentine’s Day Weekend. 


Step One: Book a room and dinner! These reservations are highly prized and extremely hard to get at the last minute, particularly at stops that already have a reputation for romance (we swear we’re not tooting our own horn….). Our restaurant fills up fast but lucky for you we hold back some tables for hotel guests – I know, we think of everything. Can’t make it the actual holiday weekend but still looking to do a getaway? No problem. Now through the end of March we’re offering our Winter Getaway / 3rd Night Free special. This gives you plenty of time to plan – because you didn’t forget…. you just wanted to be sure it was perfect…. and special….  We promise to back you up at check in.

 

Step Two: Do the unexpected! Surprise and delight your loved one with add-ons they know nothing about. Be it a Sommelier-led wine tour, a romantic tub turndown or a couple’s massage, these added touches go a long way. What is a Sommelier-led wine tour you ask? Imagine having a private driver pick you up at Farmhouse Inn where you’re met in the car by one of wine country’s hottest sommeliers to guide you through a day of private tastings at the most exclusive wineries. And you’ll enjoy a gourmet picnic lunch along the way, of course.

If you’re not one for visiting tasting rooms and still want to spark the romance, no problem – consider our candlelight tub turndown. While you’re at dinner we’ll set the mood – rose petals, artisan chocolate truffles, candlelight, bubbles in the tub and a bottle of champagne on ice. And to cap off a romantic weekend don’t forget a visit to the spa. Our cozy couple’s room is the perfect place to unwind and relax before returning to the real world.

 

Step Three: Go big or go home! Perhaps this all sounds fine and dandy but you're looking for something bigger, grander- the most romantic surprise ever.  Well lucky for you, Farmhouse Inn hosts beautiful, intimate elopements  for the couple seeking a moment they can call uniquely their own.  We do everything from finding an officiant and photographer to ordering the cake and the flowers.  All you have to do is show up (bring rings), enjoy a couple's massage and dinner for two at the Farmhouse restaurant, and when the time comes, say 'I do!'. (Or...not quite ready yet?  How about a romantic proposal?) 

If you’re more of an “I don’t want to think about it” type of person than we have one final suggestion. The whole month of February we’re offering half off of our romance package. The romance package includes champagne, artisan truffles, romantic floral arrangement, spa and a little souvenir of your stay. Book your three nights on the Winter Getaway special and add this on and you’re all set. You’ll go from being in the dog house to rock star status in one weekend. Amazing what a little 3 day weekend away can do for you.

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Topics: wine country, Romantic, Farmhouse Inn, restaurant, special, romance, Romantic getaway, Valentines Day, spa

2015 IN REVIEW: FARMHOUSE INN MOMENTS

By Meghan Smith on January 15, 2016

The New Year is a time to reflect and look back on all the standout moments of the previous year. It’s also a time to look forward. Here at Farmhouse Inn in California Wine Country we are grateful for so many memories and events that we had to narrow down the list to our top 5. Find out why these 5 moments stood out to us and what we’re looking forward to in 2016.

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Tripadvisor, Travel and Leisure, Farmhouse Inn, Napa, California, spa

A RAINY DAY IN SONOMA WINE COUNTRY

By Meghan Smith on December 13, 2014

This week we've decided to delve into what feels like an appropriate topic of conversation considering the storms we’ve had this week. What do you do in Sonoma wine country when it happens to rain?  You’ve traveled from the East coast to escape the snowy weather and land in San Francisco only to find that you should have packed your rain coat, boots and umbrella. Rain happens- even in sunny California. The question is, how do you enjoy a wine country vacation when you can’t go far and the places you wanted to visit are impacted by weather? The answer varies depending on your interests; but we think a rainy day has the potential to be more enjoyable than you might think….

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Russian River, Pinot Noir, Romantic, Farmhouse Inn, Healdsburg, restaurant, vacation, California, spa

DUNGENESS CRAB SEASON IN SONOMA COUNTY

By Farmhouse Staff on November 15, 2014

Celebrating Crab Season from Farmhouse Inn  

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Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, bodega bay, inn, Santa Rosa, Farmhouse Inn, Dungeness Crab, Crab feeds

4 EXCELLENT REASONS TO VISIT WINE COUNTRY IN NOVEMBER

By Meghan Smith on November 08, 2014

In Sonoma and Napa September and October have traditionally been the busiest months to visit, both in the vineyards and in the tasting rooms, restaurants and hotels. However, a new trend is on the rise in wine country: November is becoming a very popular time to visit too. November is what we usually refer to as a “shoulder” month – the time of transition between what is the busiest time of year and our more relaxed winter season. While this has been true for a while, we have noticed a change. November’s sunny brisk weather has been drawing an increasing number of visitors to wine country this month, as are the smaller crowds and beautiful fall colors. Even though harvest is over, there is plenty to do in wine country. If you’ve been looking for an excuse to come visit us here at Farmhouse Inn, let us help you: here are 4 reasons to visit wine country in November.

 

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Holidays, Farmhouse Inn, Dungeness Crab, Napa, wine tasting, Romantic getaway

SONOMA'S FARMHOUSE INN AND A GETAWAY SPECIAL FOR HOLIDAYS

By Meilani Naranjo on November 01, 2014

 

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Holidays, Farmhouse Inn, thanksgiving, Christmas, Dungeness Crab, special

FARMHOUSE INN WITH HOLIDAY FOOD AND WINE FAVORITES

By Meghan Smith on October 25, 2014


We freely admit it; we’re spoiled here at Farmhouse Inn. Living in Sonoma County we have immediate access to some of the finest food and wine in the world; so imperative as we head into the holiday season. If you’re hosting family and friends this season than you know how important the food and beverage menus are. A little more bragging about how great the food in wine country is (we promise we’ll stop soon): Just this week the 2015 Michelin Guide was released – for those who don’t know, the Michelin Guide was established in France and is a 3 star system of rating Restaurants, and is considered by many to be the most reliable restaurant ranking system in existence. As of 2015, Michelin rates only 3 areas within the U.S.: NYC, Chicago and San Francisco / Wine Country. In addition to world-class food, Napa and Sonoma are the gateway to international award winning wines from the U.S. Okay, we’re done bragging now. You don’t have to live in wine country in order to enjoy the best of the food and wine world. Here is what we’re eating and drinking this holiday season:

 

                                                                                     

Thanksgiving

You have your classics of course: turkey, ham, potatoes, gravy, and many other accoutrements. Here at Farmhouse Inn we certainly serve up a classic meal (sorry, we’re already sold out for this year!), but if you’re anything like our Concierge team you sometimes enjoy something a little left of normal. This Thanksgiving, in addition to watching football, we’ll be serving up ahi tuna, kale salad, and spiced honey cake with caramelized figs to name a few. (Since we’re at the end of fig season you can use jarred figs or substitute with persimmons). Quite the menu – yes, we’re patting ourselves on the back!

 

With so many flavors and varying levels of sweet and spice, it’s important to pick wines that work well with a variety of dishes. There are several wine varieties that are easily paired with a holiday menu. One of our favorites is Grenache – light, fruity, just a hint of earth and spice. From the same neck of the woods (Rhone) is another classic – Mouvedre. Mouvedre is well known as the “meaty” grape. It tends to almost have a brined / salty profile. It is excellent with most holiday meals as it truly compliments almost anything. Some of our favorite domestic Rhone wines come from Dry Creek Valley. Check out the current offerings from Quivira and Frick wineries – place your orders soon because the holidays will be here before you know it!  

 

Christmas

If you’re more of a traditionalist when it comes to the holidays- fret not! Our classic wine country menu begins with citrus champagne cocktails (as all meals should), before we move onto roast beef with red wine gravy, butternut squash – apple soup, and sweet potato crème brulée. Keeping the holiday menu seasonal is an easy thing to do in wine country with so much to choose from year-round. Some of our favorite winter items are listed in our menu above - butternut squash, persimmons, sweet potatoes, and kale.

 

Just like with our Thanksgiving menu, it is important to find wines that work well with a range of dishes. Considering that our entrée contains red wine gravy it is important to serve red wine with that dish. In this case we’re inclined to go with a well-balanced Bordeaux blend from our neck of the woods. Consider the exquisite wines from Calluna Vineyards. The limited production release of their Cuvee blend tops our list of holiday wines. If you’re more of a Pinot-file consider the 2012 Laguna West Pinot from Fog Crest Winery.  You probably have at least one family member who refuses to drink red wine – there is a solution for these picky drinkers. Try orange wines. Hear us out – orange wines are actually wines made from white wine grapes. The winemaking techniques used for these wines veer away from traditional white winemaking practices, and include skin fermentation. One of the most popular “orange wine” grapes in Sonoma County is Trousseau Gris – check out the offering from Two Shepherds. The orange wines work for the bolder dishes because of their larger body and complexity. The unexpected aromas of watermelon and red berries are often conversation starters at the dinner table.  

 

 

New Year’s Eve

Champagne. Really! Do you need anything else?

 

 

 

To stay current with the latest news in wine country and happenings at the Farmhouse Inn be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. To book your holiday visit to the Farmhouse Inn contact your concierge at innkeep@farmhouseinn.com or by calling 707-887-3300.

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Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, Holidays, Farmhouse Inn, restaurant, dining

RAINY DAY ACTIVITIES IN WINE COUNTRY

By Meghan Smith on October 18, 2014

Sunshine, beaches, warm weather – for many, the classic image of California. While the warm weather and sunshine certainly epitomize California for the majority of the year, come November we enter what Californians refers to as “winter” (we freely admit that we’re weather wimps – if you dropped us in Chicago in December we wouldn’t know what to do with ourselves). As we leave October and our warm Indian summer behind us, we see the leaves fall to the ground and the creeks and river rise. Lower temperatures and rains are welcome – comfy sweaters, warm fires, hot cocoa and our favorite soups accompany the shift and are some of our favorite things. If you’ve been considering a trip to wine country but have been hesitating because of possible rain... have no fear; winter might indeed be the best time for a visit. We’ll take you through our three favorite things to do in wine country when it rains – the list may surprise you.

 

At the top of our rainy day-list is staying indoors. Farmhouse Inn is the perfect place to be during a rain storm. A big comfy bed, your own private fireplace, soaker tub, and windows all around – truly the best way to enjoy a stormy day. If it rains while you’re at Farmhouse we recommend the following rainy day plan. Start the fire in your room – depending which room you’re in you’ll either have a gas or wood burning fire place. Turn down the covers on your bed. Use your in-room brewer to make a warm beverage of your choice – we like a nice cup of tea. Open all the blinds to watch the rain fall. Pick a movie and cozy up in bed to enjoy. You won’t need to leave your room all day. If you truly don’t want to leave your room all day, order a wine country picnic the night before – it will be delivered to your room. If you want to really do it up open one of the bottles of wine available for purchase in the room – we recommend the Lost and Found Pinot Noir.

 

Our next rainy day item may surprise some. For you adventure seekers, it may already on your bucket list: Zip lining through the redwoods. While this activity can certainly be done when the sun is shining, zip lining through the trees as the rain comes down is a spectacular experience. 800 feet of zip lines stretch through the redwoods of Occidental – you’ll zoom through the trees at up to 25 miles per hour. The rain clears the air and the sights and smells of the forest around you seem to open up. You’ll need to wear layers (we recommend rain coats and pants on the outside) and you’ll certainly want a warm beverage following your tour among the canopy. Whether you’re a first-timer or a pro, on your next rainy day visit to wine country we recommend a journey through the canopy – our preferred zip line operator is Sonoma Canopy Tours. Click here to learn more about the offered experiences.

 

The last item on our list likely comes as no surprise: wine tasting. While we certainly recommend using caution on Sonoma’s winding back roads in rainy weather (and all the time really), visiting wineries on rainy days is often the best time to do so. The rain keeps many people home, leaving tasting rooms relatively quiet. This means more one-on-one time with your wine educator and often impromptu tours of the winery. There are several wineries we particularly enjoy on a rainy day. If you’re looking for a room with a view try Fog Crest Winery on Occidental Road. They have a warm fireplace, lounge seating and gorgeous full-wall windows looking out on Laguna de Santa Rosa. Our other rainy day favorite is J Winery on Old Redwood Highway in Healdsburg. If you’re able to visit during the month of December then you are in for a truly spectacular experience- the J Bubble Room becomes a winter wonderland all December long. The Bubble Room menu features all of their sparkling wines and there is an optional caviar add-on. Feeling decadent anyone? Because the experience takes about 2 hours and is all inside, it is the ideal rainy day activity.

 

Come rain or shine, it is always a good time to visit wine country. We recently had some overnight showers, but we’re looking forward to full days of cloudy weather. For more information on the Farmhouse Inn visit our website at www.farmhouseinn.com. To stay current on our latest jaunts in and around Sonoma County follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you’d like to book an upcoming stay at the Farmhouse Inn or need to speak with the Concierge Team click here

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Topics: Sonoma, wine country, Farmhouse Inn, wine tasting, J Winery, Zip lining

PUMPKINS, WINE COUNTRY, AND MOVIES-- OH MY!

By Meghan Smith on October 11, 2014

There is much to love about wine country in the fall; the changing colors of harvest time, the seasonal foods, the Halloween parties, and of course, the wine.

In wine country we know how to celebrate our favorite time of year with style. All around Sonoma County the pumpkin patches and corn mazes have begun to open, the vineyards have caught on fire with bright hues of red, orange and yellow, and the old barns dotting the countryside seem to take on a special haunted appearance just for the season. If you're coming to Sonoma or Napa any time soon, there is plenty to do. Whether you’re looking for grape harvest activities, film festivals, or Halloween celebrations, you’ll find them in wine country.    

 

October is a turning point for us here in wine country. Harvest is almost finished, and just as we take the our favorite costumes out of the closet for Halloween parties, we will see the very last of the fruit come in. All the grapes that stubbornly waited to ripen finally seem to give up the ghost (pun intended) and are perfect for picking the last week of October. (Out of the vineyard and into the cellar – just in time too. Who wants to celebrate Halloween and get up at 4 am the next morning to pick grapes?) Come to wine country to celebrate the harvest in the next few weeks; you'll have a splendid buffet of options to pick from. Coming up next week Bacigalupi Vineyards will be celebrating their Fall Release and Harvest Celebration. BBQ, grape stomping, not to mention all the flowing wine! If you’re looking for an evening affair the Trione Winery family will be hosting Dinner Under the Stars the 19th of this month. Dinner in the vineyards (wines included of course) and Bocce Ball – we hope to see you there!

Many festival and event weekends happen this time of year; we think that there are two standouts. One of the largest events in North Bay is the Napa Valley Film Festival. Spanning 5 days, with 125 screenings, 300 directors, 50 chefs and 125 wineries, the event is on our bucket list. Screened films will range from documentaries and narratives to genre films like “The Fault in Our Stars”. If you’re not a film buff Pinot on the River may be more your speed. Sunday, October 26th the downtown Healdsburg square will become a Pinot Heaven – 100 small lot Pinot producers will take over the square pouring some of their most exclusive offerings. Around the square artisan food truck vendors will be setup to offer up delectable bites. The tasting is one day only and tickets sell out quickly. For more information on the event and to purchase tickets, visit www.pinotfestival.com.  And the first weekend of November brings the Wine and Food Affair a premier event from our friends at Wineroad.com with a focus on pairing wine with food. A great way to enjoy fall in the wine country.

 

Pumpkin patch or corn maze – Sonoma will delight you with plenty of Halloween activities during the month of October. The premier pumpkin patch experience can be found at McClelland’s Dairy Farm in Petaluma. If you get hungry while you’re picking out your organic heirloom pumpkin you can visit their food cart featuring grilled cheese sandwiches, milkshakes, popcorn and espresso drinks – all organic of course. Make a day of it and head out to the Sonoma Coast to visit the location where Alfred Hitchcock filmed “The Birds”.  For an adrenaline rush Halloween experience there are two great options – Blind Scream Haunted Mansions and the Hitchcock Film Noir Party. Blind Scream in Rohnert Park includes 3 haunted Mansions, “The Last Ride”, food trucks and a good old fashion Halloween scare – all for the bargain price of $20. A bit more tame but no less thrilling is the Hitchcock Film Noir Party at Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma. Celebrate the "Master of Suspense" with great wines, food, film clips, and mysteries to be solved – costumes are encouraged and proceeds from the event will benefit Sonoma Valley Media Arts Program.


So much to do and so little time... If you need to speak with a Concierge to plan an upcoming visit click here. To stay up to date with our latest jaunts and newest discoveries follow us on Facebook and Instagram. To receive our latest specials sign up for our Mailing List. Sonoma on your brain? Be sure to visit our 4th Night Free special - it'll turn you from thinking about a vacation to actually booking one. We hope to see you in Wine Country soon! 

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Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, Pumpkin Patch, Pumpkins, Farmhouse Inn, Healdsburg, Petaluma, Napa, wine tasting, Harvest, Halloween, Film Festival

5 MORE REASONS TO VISIT WINE COUNTRY (DO YOU NEED A REASON?)

By Meghan Smith on October 04, 2014

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Topics: wine country, Sonoma County, holiday, gifts, shopping, art trails, Farmhouse Inn, Healdsburg, restaurant, romance, spa, Harvest, season

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