After the pain of the last few years, isn’t it time that you treat yourself to a girls' week in Northern California wine country? During this 6-day/5 night VIP weekend, we’ll focus on pampering ourselves at a world-class spa and meet interesting and important women in the wine trade to find out what inspires them. We’ll feast at the best market-driven culinary outposts, and we’ll steal some time for shopping and relaxing. All of our tastings are VIP with the owners or winemakers. We've secured these special tastings through a good friend of GG2W's who owns an award-winning vineyard and knows all the important women in the biz. We stay at two of the most sensational hotels in the area. Our last night is a tasting and dinner at a vineyard, a wine you cannot buy online or on the shelves. This is a very special trip that can't be replicated.
Here's a day-by-day itinerary of the trip
Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley
Plan to arrive on the early side at the San Francisco Airport. If you want to hop on the shuttle, you must arrive no later than 10:00 a.m. Why not arrive a day early and enjoy the City in the Bay? You’ll be whisked away from SFO, heading north to Healdsburg in Northern Sonoma County for our next two nights. We'll provide snacks for the journey, which is just over an hour.
Once in Healdsburg, a charming town in Sonoma County, we’ll meet with Kim Wallace, the president of Dry Creek Vineyards, a family-owned business for the past 50 years. Kim will lead us through their best offerings in a VIP wine tasting over a picnic lunch. After the tasting, we’ll check into the chic and charming H2 Hotel.
Take free time this afternoon to walk around the picture-perfect town of Healdsburg for shopping and inspiration at Gallery Lulo, Tamarind, Susan Graff, LimeStone, Cupcake, Oska, and more. 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 will dine at Chalkboard Restaurant, delighting your taste buds with locally grown and sourced ingredients.
Healdsburg, Sonoma Valley
Today, we have an optional sunrise hot air balloon trip - an amazing experience, not for the faint of heart! This glorious morning activity will cost extra.
Those not going on the balloon ride have the morning free to relax and have breakfast at the hotel.
We will enjoy a scrumptious lunch in town at Bravas Bar de Tapas.
Then, we will head to Ferrari-Cararno Vineyards and enjoy a tour and tasting. Here we will meet with one of the amazing Women in Wine. Ferrari-Cararno is run by a power trio of women who lead the way in winemaking in Sonoma County wine country. The grounds are amazing with beautiful gardens abound.
Tonight, you'll have dinner on your own. Wander through the town square or relax at the hotel.
Hot Air Balloon Ride
We start our day with breakfast at the hotel.
We'll head into Healdsburg to wander the town square and shop. Grab a snack at a local bakery, as our lunch will be late.
In the afternoon, we'll make our way to J Vineyards, started by the legendary Judy Jordan. Female vintner, Nicole Hitchcock, is now in charge of all the wines, including the lovely sparkling, one of the best in the valley. We'll enjoy a curated 5-course tasting menu and meet Chef Anna, the head chef. We think you’ll find this a splendid way to spend the day.
Tonight, we’ll enjoy an evening of art and wine in town at the Paul Mahder Gallery with Matt Smith, Winemaker and cofounder of GRAPESEED Wines. We'll taste, gaze at art, and feast on charcuterie boards loaded with local fruits, cheeses, and meats. For those who wish, we can make a pit stop at cocktail hotspot Duke’s for a digestif on our way home before heading to bed.
We'll check out of our hotel and drive over to Napa Valley. Upper Napa Valley is home to the alluring mineral pools of the Calistoga Hot Springs, a retreat for generations of visitors. The composition of the mineral water is created by rainwater filtration through the alluvial Napa Valley soils. The result is water with a blend of trace minerals and essential elements. Geothermal forces elevate the temperature of the mineral water to 180ºF at the source. We’re headed to Napa Valley to enjoy more wine, and soak up serious spa time.
Our first stop will be Grgich Estates, where we'll meet and greet Violet Grgich, the female President and co-proprietor of Grgich Estates, founded by her father in the 70s. Their Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel all have high ratings. We'll sit outside and enjoy our lunch at Oakville Grocery, an iconic Napa Valley destination known for its sandwiches, salads, and wines.
This afternoon, we’ll check into the luxury hotel Indian Springs Resort in Calistoga Springs. We’ll unpack and enjoy some special spa treatments. Indian Springs boasts an award-winning spa. Here, we’ll all enjoy a mud bath using local volcanic ash and water from the geyser, and, of course, you can add a massage, facial, or anything else on the spa's extensive list.
Indian Springs Calistoga is unique among Calistoga hot springs resorts. All the natural elements found in their pools and spa treatments come from their own land. Four on-site thermal geysers supply a constant stream of mineral water. A substantial deposit of pure volcanic ash runs through the property. Water and ash combine 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 very relaxing time in the spa, we’ll have a re-invigorating dinner at the charming and delectable Sam’s Social Club. It's conveniently situated at hotel. Many of the wines on the menu were sourced at the many wineries we’ve visited.
Mud Bath Treatment
On our adventures today, we’ll pass the Instagram-worthy mustard fields in full bloom. We're definitely stopping for selfies.
We’ll have brunch at the Acacia House in posh St. Helena. Don't worry, we’ll save time after our tasting for some shopping. St. Helena has everything you might want to buy, from jewelry to consignment shops, art galleries, bookstores, chic clothing, and artisanal chocolate. Spice Islands Marketplace at the Culinary Institute at Greystone is heaven for cooks and foodies.
Next, we’ll head to Hall Vineyard for a privately hosted tasting and cheese pairing. Its crush this time of year but we are hoping to meet with Kathryn Hall. Since first working in her family’s Mendocino vineyards, Kathryn Hall dreamed of a place where she could showcase fine wines alongside expressive art and masterful architecture. Kathryn and her husband have done just that. Their two Napa Valley vineyards produce some of the most distinctive wines in the valley. We'll taste several blends before heading.
This evening, you're in for an incredible experience with Karen Maley, General Manager for Robert Young Vineyards in Alexander Valley. In the late afternoon, we'll head to their vineyard for a tractor tour, a delightful tasting, a delicious catered meal, and a discussion with Karen Maley.
After breakfast and a leisurely morning, we'll depart our hotel for a different type of tasting before we head to the airport. We're going to Long Meadow Ranch for an olive oil tasting and final toast.
Then, we'll say goodbye to our friends and the beautiful Northern Californian wine country.
Olive Oil Tasting
Right smack dab in the center of Healdsburg, our favorite town in Sonoma county lies the Hip H2 hotel. Striped bamboo floors, funky Peace Industry rugs and local art give the rooms character without excessive fuss.
Indian Springs Calistoga is California’s oldest continuously operated pool and spa facility located in a stunning resort. It unfolds over 17 acres of hills and ponds, olive and palm trees, roses and lavender.
Your Wine Coach:
Laurie Forster is one of America’s leading wine experts and author of the award-winning book The Sipping Point: A Crash Course in Wine. Laurie is a Certified Sommelier, National Speaker and TV personality who is not afraid to tell you her first wine came from a box. Her edgy approach to demystifying wine caught the eye of major networks and led her to guest appearances on The Dr Oz Show, FOX Morning News, Martha Stewart Living Today and ABC News at Noon.
Includes one night at San Francisco Airport Waterfront Marriott. King Room with Bay View & Continental Breakfast
Join us on an amazing sunrise hot air balloon trip over the vineyards
"The vineyards are calling and I must go"
In California's premier wine region, the pleasures of eating and drinking are celebrated daily. It's easy to join in at famous wineries and rising newcomers off country roads, or at trendy in-town tasting rooms. Chefs transform local ingredients into feasts, and gourmet groceries sell perfect picnic fare.
Accomodations in a beautiful private Queen Size Room
All trips and 7 VIP tastings with the owners or winemakers
All entry fees as indicated
All meals and snacks indicated above
All transport within California including airport transfers
Robert Young Estates Evening of Wine, Tasting, and Food
A mud-bath treatment at Indian Springs Hotel
Your flight to/from California
Yoga and Hot Air Balloon ride
All personal souvenir purchases or wines you want to take or ship home
Additional spa treatments
Extra wine or beer beyond what is offered
Travel and Medical Insurance (required)
You should fly in early to the San Francisco Airport. If you want to hop onto the shuttle, you must arrive at the airport no later than 9:30 a.m. on September 19th.
The trip officially starts on the morning of September 19th, but you may want to consider arriving a day early so you have time to relax and get ready for the next day's activities. If you do decide to arrive early, please let us know and we will take care of booking your room for you and make sure that you are kept in the same room as you will be in when the trip starts.
We will have a zoom call about 6 weeks before the trip starts to discuss all that information and give you a packing list. Here is a great website that we love that will help you with packing and travel trips.
The average high-temperature, in September, in Sonoma, California, is 85°F, while the average low-temperature is 56°.
Stacia Whitney will be your trip leader. Stacia is a mom to three kids and she makes traveling a priority for her family. She loves to explore the food and culture of a new location. What makes a trip even better are the people she meets along the way.