Destination Sonoma, CA: What's Up in 2010?

Sonoma County, CA is taking 2010 to introduce a slew of enticing treats for travelers.

The Sonoma County Winegrape Commission kicked off the new year by introducing its Vineyard Adventure Program on January 1. The new program allows visitors to take self-guided tours at four wineries in the county, including Mantanzas Creek Winery, Paradise Ridge Winery, Balletto Winery and Mauritson Winery. The free walks are less than a mile long and there is no need for advance reservation. And what about sampling? After each walk visitors are invited to sample wines from the vineyards. Pricing for wine tasting is determined by each winery.

Wine and art lovers should check out the recently opened Mercury Geyserville, opened by Brad Beard, Jake Hawkes and Trevor Babb. The venue is dedicated to showcasing affordable, small-lot wines that rotate every couple of months. Also on display is a changing selection of artwork. The outdoor patio is perfect for summer parties, as well. Mercury Geyserville can be reached at (707) 857-9870.

What goes best with wine? Foodies will delight in the new culinary options unveiled by husband-and-wife restaurant owners, Matthew and Bryan Bousquet. Their Restaurant Mirepoix is now open from 5-9 p.m., Wednesday through Saturday. Its menu has been revamped to include a new prix-fixe menu, offering four courses for $45, five courses for $55, and six courses for $65. Pair these options with a corresponding wine flight. The couple also opened a new casual French restaurant, Bistro M. "Old Parisian," which offers lunch entrees for under $12 and dinner for under $20.

Watch culinary stars be born at the Santa Rosa Junior College Culinary Cafe and Bakery, open for lunch during the spring semester beginning January 20.The lunc hours are 11:30 a.m. through 2 p.m., Wednesday through Friday. Students prepare and cook a menu of salads, soups, sandwiches, pizzas, entrees and more.  The kitchen is also open from 7:30-10 a.m. for pastries and breads.

The Sonoma Coast Villa has added a new horseback riding and horse rental program. No appointments are necessary and all riding levels from beginners to experienced are welcome. Contact the Sonoma Coast Villa at (707) 876-9818.

Sore from the dusty trail? Sonoma has a host of new spas to introduce to travelers looking to unwind. The Farmhouse Inn, Restaurant and Spa will unveil a brand new farm-to-treatment spa this month. The full-service spa will use ingredients grown on site to concoct its signature treatments. (800) 935-0237.

For a full list of all of Sonoma County's offerings, visit www.sonomacounty.com

 

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