The Varieties of Wine Country

Life as a giant wine bottle certainly is interesting. I always love the stuff people say when they see me out and about. Some people wonder if I contain sulfites. Others ask about a plastic cork. Most people ask what kind of wine I am. Sometimes they even throw down the industry specific phrase: WHAT VARIETY ARE YOU?

This phrase always gets me thinking about Wine Country as a whole, and the different varieties of experiences here in Sonoma and Napa counties.

You can throw down big bucks on fancy food at places such as Single Thread (or, if you’re Gavin Newsom, The French Laundry), or you can get the best burrito of your life from a taco truck on the side of Highway 12 in the Sonoma Valley.

You can spend an afternoon sipping cult cabernet from a place like Memento Mori in downtown Napa, or you can lumber into the Lagunitas taproom in Petaluma and throw back a dozen beers.

You can relax by the pool at Montage Healdsburg, or you can float down the Russian River (with more beer!) in Guerneville. You can pedal a fancy-pants bicycle (so long as you’re not a wine bottle like I am) or you can rent a Segway, an e-bike, a limo, or one of those pedicab things where a human pedals you around.

So many options. So many different experiences. In a sense, it’s a lot like wine.

As an ambassador to the region, I’m always trying to give people the greatest number of options with what I put out into the world. Earlier this month, an old friend called me asking me for input about an upcoming trip. She’s coming out with six other women I knew from my years as just a human—a real-life enactment of “Wine Country” (hopefully none of them will sleep with the paella guy)—and they each want different things.

My advice, of course, was to embrace the eclectic. Do yoga in a vineyard. Hit a spa (or get a massage therapist to come to their rental). Take a hike. Get a private chef.

You can do all these things in Wine Country. This is Wine Country beyond the wine.

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