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Welcome to the second day, to the sunny Sunday of our weekend getaway in Sonoma Valley. After being very lazy and visiting only 2 wineries, for the second day we organized 3 visits. I was actually quite lucky with the reservation from A. Raffanelli winery because we were on the waiting list and they called us when one of the visitors cancelled their appointment. Let me start from the beginning.

Sbragia Family Vineyards

We started our day with the Zinfandel vines on the hills of Sbragia family vineyards. The winemakers of this winery are Ed Sbragia and Adam Sbragia. The winemaking history of the family comes from their Italian roots, starts with grandfather of Ed who immigrates to the valley from Tuscany, and continues until today with Sbragia family vineyards which was created in 2001.

As we climbed the hill and parked the car, I couldn’t stop myself to take a small walk between the pretty Zinfandel rows. Afterwards, we entered to the tasting area, which was very spacious. We had an unforgettable experience there thanks to Mehmet Yiğit Keskin (M.Sc. Enology and Viticulture) who made us taste wines from their selection and explained the details from the vineyard to the winery. Here is the list of the wines that we tasted:

  • Sauvignon Blanc Home Ranch, 2015, Dry Creek Valley.
  • Chardonnay Gamble Ranch, 2013, Napa Valley.
  • Rose of Zinfandel Gemma  2015, Dry Creek Valley.
  • Merlot Home Ranch 2012, Dry Creek Valley.
  • Zinfandel La Promessa, 2013, Dry Creek Valley.
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Godspeed, 2011, Mt Veeder, Napa Valley.

Finally we took the last glass of wine with us to enjoy in the terrace with a stunning view of the landscape. Of course I didn’t lose the chance of catching some cool photos to render this moment unforgettable.

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards and Winery

First of all, it has an amazing garden! To be able to reach to the winery, you have to pass through the garden, which is called Villa Fiore. Imagine a garden; full of flowers, full of different varieties of trees (there is even a cork oak), a pond full of gold fish, and bronze sculptures. It’s prettier than the words can describe. This garden is designed by Rhonda Carano, co-owner of the winery together with Don Carano. There is also a sculpture of her in the middle of the flowers to give a lasting presence to her, with her own words ‘Flowers make everyone feel at home.’

We made the tasting in the Villa Fiore Tasting Room, here it is possible to taste the wines of Lazy Creek Vineyards which is also owned by Don and Rhonda Carano, together with wines of Ferrari-Carano.

  • Lazy Creek Vineyards, Gewürtztraminer, 2015, Anderson Valley.
  • Lazy Creek Vineyards, Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2015, Anderson Valley.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Chardonnay, 2014, Sonoma County.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Tré Terre, Chardonnay, 2013, Russian River Valley.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Fumé Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, 2015, Sonoma County.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Siena, Red blend, 2013, Sonoma County.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Zinfandel, 2014, Dry Creek Valley.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2013, Alexander Valley.
  • Ferrari-Carano, Baci, Natural dark chocolate flavored red wine.

It had a very nice souvenir shop, where you have many wine-themed decorations, books, table clothes, kitchen utensils, many things… I couldn’t stop myself to buy something.

A. Raffanelli Winery

The entrance made me feel like entering to somebody’s home. It felt so familiar. It was for a reason, Rafanelli family has been making wine in Healdsburg area since 1900, and they moved to Dry Creek Valley in the early 1950’s, where the fourth generation of the family is currently making wine with the same passion.

As we arrived, we had a look at their garden which faces through the vineyards. It was small but it had many things inside; different flowers, sun flowers, vegetables, fruits and herbs.

Afterwars, we found our way to the tasting room which is actually the barrel room at the same time. It was already full inside, since it was very small. They welcomed us, offered us a glass of their Zinfandel (2014) and told us to take a small walk through the hill until the room is free. So, we did it. During that small walk with a glass of delicious Zinfandel in my hand, I was more convinced that it was a very good idea to spend the weekend in Sonoma.


After the walk, we turned back to the room to make the tasting. Here, we had the chance to taste their other wine, Cabernet Sauvignon (2013). It was a very pleasant atmosphere, tasting the wines in between the barrels. After the tasting we passed to the other part of the barrel room, where we finished our visit.


We had our late lunch, in Dry Creek General Store. We went there thanks to the recommendation of a local friend. As soon as we entered, we knew that it was a good recommendation because inside of the store was completely full with a long queue for the sandwiches. After waiting on that queue enough time to get very hungry, I was able to get my French dip sandwich, with roast beef, gruyere cheese and caramelized onions on sourdough bread, which comes with a soup besides. Delicious!

I am finishing here the unforgettable weekend in Sonoma and wishing to go back there soon to be able to discover more tastes!



All images © 2017 by Neslihan IVIT. All rights reserved.

1 reply »

  1. Really enjoyed this post! We live in Napa but really love our visits to neighboring Sonoma. Some of my favorite wineries were on your list but you gave me some new ones to try as well!


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