Girlfriend Getaway Hot List: What to Do With Your Gal Pals in Wine Country

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By Courtney Cochran

There's nothing like an escape to wine country to reinvigorate friendships and make lasting memories with the gal pals most important to you.  From wine blending lessons to sustainability treks and salsa lessons (not to mention divine food and wine), there's no shortage of delightful diversions to keep you and your gang occupied. 
NAPA

Get Your Groove Back
Grab your gals and head out for a night on the town at Ceja Vineyards' downtown Napa tasting salon, where the lively family behind the Carneros-based winery offers free salsa lessons every Saturday night. Lessons kick off at 7:30pm, and a dance party follows until late. A favorite among locals and visitors alike, it's easily one of the liveliest - and most affordable - nights you'll find in the Napa Valley.

Best Bar Benefit
Before or after salsa, head over to Bounty Hunter - also located in downtown Napa - to tuck into upscale pub grub alongside gregarious locals and wine industry luminaries who travel from far and wide to sample the spot's stellar collection of allocated wines, including some 40 wines by the glass. Winner of the 2009 "Best Wine Bar in the Bay Area" honors, the space charms with its Old West ambiance - and may just be the most happening happy hour spot in the city.

Flora SpringsTasting Room.JPGThat's Temptasting
St. Helena's Flora Springs Winery and Vineyards made a bold statement when it opened its new tasting room - known simply as "The Room" - earlier this year. Built to resemble a hillside with three wine caves inside (there are no windows, natch), the sleekly modern spot is more reminiscent of a cool nightclub than your typical tasting room. Call ahead for specially prepared Temptastings - gourmet bites paired with the winery's small production wines - served (where else?) in the Temptation Cave.

Mountain High
For a real rush with your girlfriends, get high - mountain high, that is. To wit, head up Napa's Howell Mountain for spectacular valley views and world-class hospitality at Gold LEED-Certified CADE Winery , a brand-new stunner that pairs top flight wine with dramatic architecture and the highest environmental standards. Intimate tours and tastings at the innovative new winery are by appointment only, so be sure to call ahead for arrangements (707-965-2746).

Art of the Blend
Women are creative creatures by nature, and what better way to stoke the creative juices than by way of a wine blending lesson? If this sounds like your bag, head over to Napa's Andretti Winery (as in racecar legend Mario Andretti), where the hospitality team hosts by-appointment groups for hands-on blending lessons. As with CADE, call ahead to make arrangements (877-386-5070 ext 222).

SONOMA

Fashion Forward
A girlfriend getaway wouldn't be complete without a fashion fix, but where to find designer duds in wine country? Enter Healdsburg's decidedly design-forward Arboretum Apparel , a chic boutique with big-city style where you'll find a well-edited selection of pieces from the likes of Rag & Bone, Loomstate and Edun. If vintage duds are more your thang, head south to Aubergine Vintage Emporium & Café for stellar foraging in Sebastopol.

Hopped Up
When your ladies' palates tire of vino, drop into Healdsburg's Bear Republic Brewing Co., to sate your thirst on a different kind of drink. With more than a dozen beers on tap, lively atmosphere and every permutation of pub grub you can imagine, it's a refreshing respite from the wine tasting trail. Don't miss the Royal Sampler, a lineup of 3 oz pours of all of the spot's brews - perfect for sharing with pals. Oh, and juke box rocks.

kundejeep.jpgSustainable Slopes
Thanks to an innovative program from Kunde Family Estate's Green Team, you and your girlfriends can see for yourself just how green wine can be on one of the winery's popular sustainable winegrowing hikes. Available throughout the year by appointment, the breathtaking hikes feature wine tasting along the way (natch), with proceeds benefiting the Sonoma Ecology Center. Online registration required.

Outdoor Odyssey
If touring the great outdoors via covered Pinzgauer is more suiting to your gang's style, then schedule a two-hour vineyard excursion with Gundlach Bundschu Winery aboard the property's 12-person all-terrain vehicle. The tour takes you through "Gun Bun's" historic estate vineyards overlooking the picturesque Sonoma Valley and includes a sampling of five wines produced from vines you'll see along the way. Advance reservations requested (707-939-3019).

Sun Goddesses
When all's said and done, the perfect cherry on a girlfriend getaway weekend is a deliciously cool pool tricked out with chic pool-side bungalows for lounging and gabbing à la gals. Check into Sonoma's surprisingly affordable El Dorado Hotel for just such an experience; the spot's ideal location on the northwest corner of the town plaza - within easy reach of dozens of restaurants, bars, tasting rooms and boutiques - is just icing on the cake.

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8 Comments

I and my girlfriends visited Flora Springs during our very own girls getaway day and all I can say is "What a cool place!". This tasting room was so different from the others we visited that day. No stuffiness here! It was ultra hip and trendy, the staff was laid back and yet fun and eager to show us around. One of the things offered happened to be their "Girls Getaway" package, which of course, is what we took full advantage of. Their "Girls Getaway" was like a pampering session where we did nothing but sit outside in their sunny courtyard, laugh and talk, drink some very good Flora Springs wine paired with different cheese and dried fruits , all the while being catered to by the tasting room manager! To top off an already perfect day, we got one last treat; a "Girls Getaway" kit that included, among many things, a fun, bright pink, tank top that will always remind me of the the girls getaway we had at Flora Springs!

I say "great job!" to the Flora Springs tasting room staff who are obviously putting so much time and energy in treating a girl good!

My girlfriends went on our own Girlfriends getaway to the Napa Valley and Flora Springs was one of the wineries we had a scheduled tasting at. The staff there at Flora Springs were really warm and welcoming they made our experience so much fun. At the end of our tasting they gave us a goody bag filled with an assortment of nice things. I can't wait to plan our next Girlfriend getaway Flora Springs will be first on the stop.

like a lot of reports you have left out some of the best wine country hide a ways. Romo Vineyard has been doing private party's & events for friends & family with their vineyard, courtyards, fireplaces, cecks, hot tubs & jacuzzi. Oh we also make our own wine, check us out for first class treatment.all inclusive packages for food,lodging,touring & personal service.Call 707 431 2828 . r2df53

My friends and I enjoyed the Girlfriends wine tasting at Flora Springs and it was the highlight of the trip. They are still talking about the experience.

Think about staying in Sonoma County...Great wines, food, spas, and of course do not miss a stay at Windrose Romantic Cottages. Can also be a girl get away place.

See our web page @ http://www.windroseromanticcottages.com

Hi! 10% discount if you mention this when you call in ask for me... we have vacation cottages, homes, estates, for one day or for months! check out our website and phone in! you'll definitely find something for sure! be well and be merry, miko
707-433-8899

Always great to hear about new places and confirmation that mentioned spots are a hit. Thanks for the comments everyone!

Want to stay on the Russian River, on the Healdsburg Wine Road? We spent a Women's Weekend at Westside Lodge in Forestville, a perfect home base for a wine tasting weekend. House is on Westside Road, near many wineries including Gary Farrell, Moshin, Porter Creek, C. Donatiello, Hop Kiln, Thomas George Estates, Rochioli, etc. Kayaks, gorgeous views, comfortable beds and furnishings, and plenty of room to spread out.

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