Here's an insider tip for visiting California’s Russian River Valley, where many of the state’s best Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays and old-vine Zinfandels are produced: Go in the late fall or 
early winter. The weather is crisp and beautiful, and tasting rooms are far less crowded than during the summer or harvest. 
Sonoma County is chockablock with wineries, but don’t overpack your schedule. Plan on four or five visits a day, both boutique producers and bigger names. After all, a day of wine tasting should be a relaxing ramble, not a grueling march. 
You’ll also want to reserve time to explore the chic town of Healdsburg (stay at the luxe Hotel Healdsburg or the eco-friendly H2 Hotel down the street) and boho Sebastopol, both of which have fantastic food scenes. And end your trip 
with a night at the landmark (and now extensively renovated) Timber Cove resort, which offers dramatic views of the 
rugged Sonoma coastline and the Pacific. Read on for a road map to the best wine weekend ever. --Ray Isle

Food & Wine

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