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Ten years ago no one in Sonoma County would have thought Healdsburg would become a wine country darling favored by hip San Franciscans. Nearly two hundred years ago this valley and her flowing Russian River began luring failed gold prospectors and trappers to settle north of Santa Rosa. Little did they know this land was one of the most fertile in Sonoma County, housing three different AVA wine growing regions. As the grapes plumped up and started producing stellar big reds, the rest of the world began paying attention. Soon some of the finest California restaurants and food purveyors sprouted up around the central square, galleries flung ...

Ten years ago no one in Sonoma County would have thought Healdsburg would become a wine country darling favored by hip San Franciscans. Nearly two hundred years ago this valley and her flowing Russian River began luring failed gold prospectors and trappers to settle north of Santa Rosa. Little did they know this land was one of the most fertile in Sonoma County, housing three different AVA wine growing regions. As the grapes plumped up and started producing stellar big reds, the rest of the world began paying attention. Soon some of the finest California restaurants and food purveyors sprouted up around the central square, galleries flung open their doors, and uber mod hotels rubbed elbows with cozy B&Bs. Today, visitors stroll in and out of wineries toting their own glasses, then settle around the plaza's fountain to share a newly purchased bottle of Pinot Noir. Parents feel welcome to lug the kiddos into breweries and tasting rooms, and even on their bike tours of the Alexander or Russian River valleys. And at the end of the day, music fills the earth-scented air and it seems the whole town gathers around the square to celebrate the moon.

Michele Bigley
About the Expert

Michele Bigley is the author of Northern California: An Explorer's Guide and Great Destinations Kauai from Countryman Press.

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Michele Bigley for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Healdsburg is a city located in Sonoma County, California. One of NoCal's wine capitals: three of the most important wine-producing regions (the Russian River, Dry Creek, and Alexander Valley AVAs) meet in Healdsburg.
  • Research: Bay Area | Sonoma County | Wikitravel | Wikipedia
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight
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