Day 1 – October 29th, Friday
Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley
You’ll want to arrive on the early side at the San Francisco Airport. You’ll be whisked away from SFO heading north to Healdsburg in upper Sonoma Valley for our next two nights. Snacks will be provided for the journey which is just over 1 hour.
Once in Healdsburg, a charming town in Sonoma County, we’ll meet up with Kim Stare Wallace, the co-owner of Dry Creek Vineyard, a family owned business for the past 50 years. Kim will lead us through a VIP wine-tasting of some of their best offerings alongside some pairings of renowned local cheeses. After our tasting, we’ll check into the chic and charming Harmon Guest House hotel.
Free time this afternoon to walk around the picture-perfect town of Healdsburg for shopping and inspiration at spots like Gallery Lulo, Tamarind, Susan Graff, LimeStone, Cupcake, Oska and more. Or, you may prefer to stay and rest back at the hotel. If you need a pick-me-up, try some of the locals’ favorite coffee at Flying Goat coffee.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy an evening of art, wine and nibbles in town at the Paul Mahder Gallery with Matt Smith, Winemaker and cofounder of GrapeSeed Wines. Our tasting will feature a wine or two by one of their vintners, Jessica Boone. On our way home to the hotel, for those who wish, we can make a pitstop at cocktail hotspot Duke’s for a digestif before heading off to bed.
Day 2 – October 30th, Saturday
*Optional sunrise hot air balloon trip – an amazing experience, not for the faint of heart! This glorious morning activity is extra, so plan on a $250.00 fee if you want to go for it!
Breakfast with morning yoga available.
Around 11am today we’ll head to J Vineyards, started by the legendary Judy Jordan and now with female winemaker Nicole in charge of all the wines including their lovely sparkling, one of the best in the valley. We think you’ll find it an absolutely wonderful way to start the day.
After, we’ll head over to Merry Edward’s place stopping on route for a gourmet picnic (weather dependent). Ms. Edwards was one of California’s first women winemakers going from famed consultant to starting her own winery back in 2008. We’ll be tasting her highly acclaimed Sauvignon Blanc and her Pinot Noir.
This afternoon around 4pm we’ll try our luck at a wild mushroom hunt with an expert mycophagist, followed by a cooking demonstration at Relish, the much-loved female-owned culinary school in town. Here we’ll have a lively discussion about food and wine followed by a scrumptious meal focusing on our discoveries.
Day 3 – October 31, Sunday
Breakfast with morning yoga available.
After checking out, as we drive over to Napa Valley, we’ll make a quick stop to stretch our legs at the Petrified Forest, a historic geological site, followed by a viewing of the Old Faithful Geyser, and a chance to learn a little something about the geothermal springs in this area.
Upper Napa Valley is home to the alluring mineral pools of the Calistoga Hot Springs which have been a retreat for visitors for generations. The composition of the mineral water is created by the filtration of rainwater through the alluvial Napa Valley soils resulting in a blend of trace mineral and essential elements. Geothermal forces elevate the temperature of the mineral water up to 180ºF at the source. We’ll be headed to Napa Valley not only to enjoy more wine, but to soak up some serious spa time.
We’ll lunch on creative California cuisine at a local café, and just after, we’ll have a meet and greet with Violet Grgich, the President & Co-Proprietor of Grgich Estates, founded in the 70’s by her father. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Zinfandel are all superbly rated.
This afternoon, we’ll check into the Indian Springs luxury hotel in Calistoga Springs. We’ll unpack and then enjoy some special spa treatments at Indian Springs’ award-winning spa. We’ll all each get to enjoy a mud bath using local volcanic ash and water from the geyser, and of course you can add on a massage, facial or anything else on their extensive list.
Indian Springs Calistoga is unique among Calistoga hot springs resorts. All the natural elements found in their pools and spa treatments come entirely from their own land. Four on-site thermal geysers supply a constant stream of mineral water, plus a substantial deposit of pure volcanic ash runs through the property. Water and ash are combined to create the mud in their famous mud baths, and the water itself is fed directly into the mineral pool, steam rooms and Buddha Pond.
After a completely relaxing time in the spa, we’ll have a re-invigorating dinner at the charming and delectable Sam’s Social conveniently situated right at our hotel, drinking wines we sourced at the many wineries we’ve visited.
Day 4 – November 01, Monday
Breakfast and morning yoga available.
On our drive towards our adventures today, we’ll pass the Instagram worthy mustard fields in full bloom where we’ll stop for selfies.
Today, we’ll have brunch at the Acacia House in posh St. Helena. We’ll be sure to save time afterwards for a bit of shopping. St. Helena has everything you’d want to buy from jewelry to consignment shops, art galleries, bookstores, chic clothing, artisanal chocolate as well as the Spice Islands Marketplace at the Culinary Institute at Greystone – heaven for cooks and foodies. We’ll meet up with a friend there is she’s in town, who is a good friend of Oprah’s.
Next, we’ll head to Goosecross Cellars for a private hosted tasting with Christi Coors Ficeilli, the proprietor. Christi will be stopping by to talk about the business and answer any questions we may have! Their red blends are impressive; we’ll try five or so before heading back out.
Next, we’ll make a pilgrimage to Corison Wine. Cathy Corison is a pioneer in women’s winemaking in the valley. She was told while getting her master’s degree that she’d never be able to get a job in Napa because she was a woman. Defying all odds, by 1987, she had opened her own winery. Here we’ll taste her award-winning Cabernets.
After this last tasting for the day, we’ll head back to the Indian Springs Resort for some well-deserved R & R: Time to regroup, relax, and enjoy the hotel’s pools & lush 17 acres!
After all the wine we’ve enjoyed, tonight is reserved for a little Beer & BBQ in a relaxed setting, where we can toast to a long weekend of discovery, amazing women and new friendships made.
Day 5 – November 02, Tuesday
We’ll make an early morning departure for SF Airport (depending on your flight time). For those with a later flight, we’ll stop at a well-known sparkling wine place … shhh we’re keeping it a secret.
Types of wines we’ll be sampling:
- Dry Creek Vineyard – Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Meritage – Kim Wallace, co-owner
- Grapeseed Collective – Lots of different wines including, rose, whites, tempranilo – Jessica Boone, winemaker
- J. Vineyards – sparkling wine – Nicole Hitchcock, winemaker
- Grgich Hills – Chardonnay & Cabernet Sauvignon – Violet Grgich President
- Goosecross Cellars – Red Blends – Christi Coors, owner
- Corison Wine – Cabernets – Cathy Corison, owner and winemaker
- Ironhorse – Sparkling wine – Joy Sterling, owner
GG2P reserves the right to alter the itinerary based on weather or availability as well as exciting opportunities that might crop up!
* Not to worry – Vegetarians will be well fed in all restaurants as well as those allergic to seafood or gluten. Options are plentiful.