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After our day at sea, we made it to San Fransisco. Since our previous stop was in Mexico, we had to have an immigration check before we could go ashore. We were assigned a number and were asked to bring our passports to the dining room when our number was called. For U.S. Citizens with a passport, it was no big deal. We were off the ship and heading to our wine country destination in no time at all.
When our port stop in Monterrey was canceled and they added back the overnight in San Fransisco I was excited. That was one of the reasons we booked this cruise and it gave us time to leave San Fransisco and get into wine country. We had a trip to Napa and Sonoma planned for 2020 but obviously, it was canceled so this trip allowed us a little taste of what we missed. With only one day to explore the area we decided to spend it in Sonoma because it is a little closer and from my research, Sonoma seems to be more focused on the wine, whereas Napa wineries are more for the experience.
When planning our day in Sonoma, I relied on a book that has served me well in the past, Wine Trails of the U.S. and Canada. We chose to visit Gundlach Bunschu and Laurel Glen Vineyards. Gundlach Bunschu is the oldest family-owned winery in Sonoma. With the German heritage, it reminded me a lot of the wineries in northern Michigan with outdoor seating around fire tables. It was a very laid-back experience and all the wines we tried were wonderful! Laurel Glen was a much more intimate experience. We had reserved the last tasting of the day and we had the downtown tasting room to ourselves. Laurel Glen has a much smaller repertoire, being known for their Cabernet Sauvignon. In general, I am not a fan of California Cabernets, but what we tried at Laurel Glen was spectacular. I also loved their rose which is made from old vines on the edge of their property that they don’t know (and don’t want to know) what they are. They combine them every harvest into a delicious rose that they sell out every year.
We chose to rent a car and do this winery tour on our own as opposed to using a ship tour or another organized tour because we wanted to be in control of where we went. As I mentioned above, we were looking for good wine, not the best views or winery experience. A lot of the organized tours of Sonoma stopped at Sutter Home, which has free tastings but is mass-market wine that you find on the bottom shelf at the supermarket. If you’re not that picky, one of those tours would be fine, but I am very happy that we chose to go our own way because we tried two fabulous new wineries that we will probably buy more from in the future.
We decided to come back to San Fransisco on the Pacific Coast Highway and we were rewarded with a phenomenal sunset over the Pacific (top). We couldn’t have timed our drive any better. We ended our day back in San Fransisco at an Argentinian Restaurant called Lolinda. Afterward, we headed back to the ship for the night to prepare for another day in San Fransisco in the morning. Be sure to stop by next week as I detail our day to explore San Fransisco and our tour of Chinatown.
Thanks for stopping by! To read more about this trip, check out the Cruising the Pacific Coast Trip Report. To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.
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