Nicholson Ranch#8 in Best Things To Do in Sonoma
Though Nicholson Ranch is smaller than other Sonoma-area wineries (comprising 40 acres), it's a hit with visitors thanks to its intimate setting. Wines produced here – the majority of which are made with estate-grown grapes – include chardonnay, pinot noir, merlot and syrah. Another interesting facet of the production process: The vineyard ages its wines in French oak barrels, which are uniquely stored underground in caves.
Recent travelers said this relatively small winery was big on charm. The intimate setting was complemented by friendly and informative guides and gorgeous views of surrounding Sonoma. Reviewers also appreciated that the bottles of wine were reasonably priced.
Located on the county line between Napa and Sonoma, Nicholson Ranch – which is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily – is located on Napa Road but within Sonoma County boundaries. Wine tastings start at $15 per person. Cave tours, which include wine tastings, start at $30 person. For reservations (which are required for groups of six or more and for the combined cave tour and tasting), travelers will have to call or email in advance. For more information, visit Nicholson Ranch's website.
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#1 Sonoma Plaza
Centered in the heart of town, the historic Sonoma Plaza is a must-do. Once a Mexican military station and a Spanish mission village, the 8-acre park is now lined with more than 100 shops, dozens of eateries, and more than 20 tasting rooms. What's more, it's a National Historic Monument. Recent visitors highly recommended spending some time here window shopping, wine tasting, dining and even letting the kids run around the on-site playground. Reviewers said the plaza's atmosphere is both charming and family-friendly, and they suggested visiting on a Tuesday morning to take advantage of the weekly farmers market.
Sonoma Plaza is located in central Sonoma. Restaurants and shops have varying opening and closing times. Street parking is available, but with three-hour limits from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday. For extended parking options, consider leaving your vehicle in one of the free all-day lots located nearby, such as the one at First Street East, located across from the mission. For more information, visit Sonoma Plaza's website.
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