What’s your favorite “girls only” weekend getaway? One of my favorite places to visit is Alexander Valley. A while ago I grabbed a few friends and took a trip filled with delicious food and wine. Alexander Valley was a lot of fun!

Weekend Getaway Details

Our hotel was located in Santa Rosa, CA, an easy 2-½ hour drive from the Bay Area if traffic is light. I really wanted to visit a few wineries and not need to worry about the tasting fee charged at each location, so I purchased a one-day wine pass from www.WineRoad.com for the four of us. By using the pass, we ended up saving $72 of additional wine fees. Since the ticket cost was $30, our net savings was $42 per person. Excluding the cost of the hotel, our 2 nights & 3 days wine adventure was approximately $250 per person. We visited the Alexander Valley, but if you prefer Napa or Sonoma, here is another savings link.

Alexander Valley Wine Country Weekend Getaway

After packing up the car and hitting the road, we arrived at the Fountain Grove Inn and checked-in mid-day. The first day of our weekend getaway included a four-course food and wine pairing followed by a late dinner. A quick Dinner Diva tip: If you are headed out to dinner anywhere in the Wine Country on a Friday or Saturday night (especially during the summer), make sure you have advance reservations or you won’t be dining until 8:30-9:00pm.

J Winery

J Winery's wine pairing and small plates were delicious!

J Winery’s wine pairing and small plates were delicious!

We started at J Winery‘s Bubble Room in Healdsburg, known for their sparkling wines, their food and wine pairing and small plates. Our experience started with an amuse-bouche (a tiny beignet) paired with a bit of 2008 J Winery’s sparkling wine. It ended with the best small bite of dessert: vanilla yogurt panna cotta with strawberries.

This is where we enjoyed the best pairing of the day: Chilled Asparagus Soup with 2011 J Winery Chardonnay, Russian River Valley. Most surprising was the addition of grapefruit segments! We also liked the sliced hazelnuts for that added crunch. Another surprising element on a second dish was the use of olive oil powder on the plate of grilled peaches. Want to make your own? You can find recipes here and here.

We enjoyed a total of four courses at J Winery; make sure you check out the menu online before you go as it changes quarterly. Advance reservations are also required for the Bubble Room, so plan ahead before visiting this one.

Rendez Vous Bistro

For dinner, we headed over to the Rendez Vous Bistro in downtown Santa Rosa. My friends and I enjoyed their outside dining, just like in Paris! Even though we were in the heart of California Wine Country, we opted to have French champagne with our French meal. The salads were large enough to share; we loved the beet salad with goat cheese. We also tried French crepes and cheese-filled ravioli with sage butter sauce.

For dessert we couldn’t pick just one, so we tried several: a parfait served with port-poached pear, classic tiramisu and house-made cantaloupe and strawberry sorbet. Total cost per person was $50.00 and included 2 bottles of champagne.

Stay tuned for more about this weekend getaway! In the meantime, have you had a chance to visit Alexander Valley? What’s your favorite stop in Wine Country?

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.