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What to Do in Healdsburg, California
News Source/Courtesy: www.travelpulse.com

Courtesy: Kristie Hang | News Source: travelpulse.com

When people think of wine country, they typically think of Napa Valley. Napa and Sonoma are collectively known as California wine country, but despite being close to each other—only separated by a mountain range—both wine capitals are very different from each other. Sonoma’s wineries are more laid-back, less crowded and commercialized than Napa.

Located at the north end of Sonoma County is the town of Healdsburg, where it’s possible for wine lovers to successfully enjoy an entire day of wine tasting without having to worry about driving. With a population of just over 11,000, Healdsburg is a small town that has gone through quite the makeover, filled with chic hotels, upscale restaurants and a very walkable downtown with 30+ wine tasting rooms. It's also become a popular foodie destination with plenty of farm-to-table restaurants, vineyards, wine tasting rooms and cafes.

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Here’s what not to miss when visiting Healdsburg!

Jordan Winery

Jordan Winery makes just two wines at their French-inspired chateau: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. The picturesque 1,200-acre estate, which was established in 1972, is a unique one-stop-shop with a tasting library, farm, professional kitchen, dining space and beautiful overnight lodging options all in one.

Jordan Winery hosts many exclusive and educational experiences throughout the year such as foodie tours, picnics, vineyard hikes and food pairings sourced directly from the estate’s gardens.

The Guided Spring Vineyard Hike, for example, offers a 3-hour tasting tour complete with food and wine pairings. The Chateau Block Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyard Tasting is a newer tour that takes place at their six-acre hilltop vineyard. The tour culminates with an outdoor tasting at the edge of the vineyard, featuring three vintages of Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon paired with charcuterie from local favorite Journeyman Meat Co., which includes two custom recipes created in collaboration with Jordan’s executive chef Todd Knoll.

The winery also has a rewards program where you earn points for your purchases that can be redeemed for experiences like private tastings, dinners and even an overnight stay.

Jordan Winery-Healdsburg, California

PHOTO: Jordan Winery in Healdsburg, California. (Photo by Kristie Hang)

Savor Healdsburg Walking Food Tour

Surrounded by vineyards, olive orchards and organic farms, Healdsburg has quite the happening restaurant scene with many of the eateries use farm-to-table ingredients from local farms. There are also a number of wine tasting rooms that are walkable in the downtown area. Savor Healdsburg Food Tours is a food tasting company that meets at Healdsburg Town Square and introduces guests to the food and drink of Healdsburg.

The Gourmet Healdsburg Food Tour takes guests to six destinations while learning about the cuisine, the sources of the ingredients, the chefs and the history of Healdsburg. Some popular eateries include Bravas, with its Spanish tapas and sangria; Noble Folk, with its artisan ice cream and pie; Cafe Lucia, with its Portuguese dishes; Campo Fina, with their Italian tapas; and Costeaux French Bakery and Cafe, with its artisan bread.

Savor Food Tour-Healdsburg, California

PHOTO: Savor Food Tour, Healdsburg, California. (Photo by Kristie Hang)

Valette

Valette Healdsburg is the brainchild of third-generation Healdsburg natives, brothers Chef Dustin Valette and Aaron Garzini. Their grandfather owned the very building the eatery is located in, back in the 1940s. Valette is a Michelin star modern American restaurant with a few French twists.

The brothers make it a point to showcase and promote Sonoma County's farmers and winemakers while using local and organic produce whenever possible. Chef Dustin grows his own ingredients and sources from local farms as well as cures his own meats, which you can see hanging in the kitchen.

Chef Dustin’s ‘trust me’ menu is perfect for diners who want to get a taste of everything. The scallops en croute is a must-order, covered in a squid ink puff pastry like soufflé and brushed lightly with truffle oil and squid ink. The dish arrives at the table where the server pours caviar-flecked champagne-beurre blanc on top.

Dish from Valette-Healdsburg, California

PHOTO: Dish from Valette in Healdsburg, California. (Photo by Kristie Hang)

Tour with Wine Country Bikes

One of the best ways to see the beauty of Healdsburg and Sonoma County is by e-bike. Wine Country Bikes has tour-guide assisted and self-guided tours on their Trek electric-assist bikes that make biking 19+ miles a walk in the park. There are a multitude of different tours, all guided by locals that know and love the area, with the option of just one day or multiple days.

The Dry Creek Valley is a beautiful and scenic biking route with tiny rolling hills and relaxing country roads. Bike tours can include a gourmet winery picnic, local cheese and crack snack, purchase pick-up at wineries and even van support as needed. There can even be stops at local favorite wineries where guests can taste and inspect the vines of the Dry Creek Valley.

Wine Country Bikes

PHOTO: Wine Country Bikes. (Photo by Kristie Hang)

Young & Yonder Spirits

When your group is ready to take a break from all the wine, Young & Yonder Spirits is a craft distillery, tasting room and bar in downtown Healdsburg that should not be missed. Led by husband and wife team Joshua Opatz and Sarah Fiske, they produce locally made vodka, gin, bourbon and absinthe.

This local distillery is a Pinterest Board come to life. Located in an industrial building, guests can do a flight tasting of what they distill or order some of Young & Yonder’s seasonal signature cocktails on rotation, which showcase their spirits. Young & Yonder uses non-GMO organic corn for their vodkas and gin. The limes from their cocktails, for example, are all hand-pressed. They even feature those cocktail recipes on their web site so you can go home and re-create them after purchasing from Young & Yonder.

Young & Yonder in Healdsburg, California

PHOTO: Young & Yonder in Healdsburg, California. (Photo by Kristie Hang)

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