Bartholomew Park Winery

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Today we’re taking a commercial break from relationship tips  in order to bring you a day trip to Sonoma. The weather has been just too lovely not to get out of the house and explore nearby sweet spots. And right now, the mustards are in full bloom and turning wine country gold. It’s a beautiful time to wander the wine country minus the crowds drawn by much warmer weather.

And I’ve got to give some kudos to Jack’s willingness to go-with-the-flow with some of my whacky ideas. It’s so terrific to be able to say, “Hey, I want to try this new place out” and have him just go with it. I think it kinda goes against his control-freak grain, but he does … and I so appreciate it. Easy-going ranks high in my book.

Now, where can you combine a quick 3-mile hike, delish wine tasting and picnicking all on the same dog-friendly property?

We grabbed our picnic basket and the pooch and headed out to Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma Valley for an easy afternoon of fun. The winery is set in the middle of a 400-acre wooded (and hilly) park with 3-4 miles of trails that wind through the mountains surrounding the valley vineyards.

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It’s also a popular place to cycle to since the leading roads are fairly quiet of traffic and wind you through some beautiful country properties. You will see as many bikes parked as cars in the winery parking lot.

I’m guessing this cute young couple were visitors to the area since this dude was wearing a blazer. Jack and I looked at him, glanced at the sun and said to each other, “Whoa. That poor fella must be HOT!” Who wears a blazer while riding a bike through the country in warm weather? But they were obviously on a romantic adventure and super cute. Awww.

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There are people throughout the park, but it’s by no means crowded.

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Couples, families and friends were out soaking up the late winter sunshine. There are sweet picnic areas spread throughout the property with grottos, creek-side locations and open lawns perfect for playing frisbee or a game of ball with your dog. It was easy to find yourself a spot with plenty of space.

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We decided to take off for a hike first, a quick 3ish mile loop through hills surrounding the winery.

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Make no mistake, this is not a FLAT hike. You gain 400-500′ in elevation very quickly. But the views are amazing.

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Benicia Lake, which is near the top of the loop.

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Mildly sweaty and feeling good after the hike, we headed for the winery and a little libation.

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The tasting room is intimate, the staff plentiful and I thought the tasting fee to be reasonable at $10 for a 6-wine flight. If you buy wine they put your tasting fee towards the wine purchase.

They make a total of 3,000 cases amongst 6 varietals (most grapes grown either on or adjacent to the estate property) and they are only available at the winery, so this is a nice boutique winery.

My favorite: the 2006 Merlot.

Jack’s favorite: the 2006 Zinfandel.

We both liked: 2006 Estate Cabernet.

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Right next to the tasting room is a small museum that is beautifully put together and quite interesting. It talks about the history of Sonoma wine-making as well as the history of Bartholomew Park Winery, one of the oldest wineries in California.

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It’s a small, charming and historical winery. I quite liked it. And given that you can do so many things right on the property, it’s a nice place to spend an afternoon.

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After some enjoyable wine tasting we grabbed the pooch and our picnic basket then headed for a shady patch of grass to relax, read a book, drink some wine … and enjoy the sunshine.

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Bartholomew Park Winery. Definitely worth a visit!

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