As I shared in the last couple of weeks, I took a road trip to Alexander Valley’s wine country for a “girls only” getaway and had a fantastic time with memorable wine tastings, delicious food and more. I’ve already shared highlights from the first and second days. Keep reading for the scoop on day three!

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is a must-see!

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is a must-see!

The Francis Ford Coppola Winery is a must-see if you’re in Alexander Valley! There is so much to take in; it could be an all-day destination by itself. In addition to wine tasting and an estate tour for the adults, the winery is home to:

  • A family pool and recreation center
  • A casual, family-friendly restaurant
  • A display of movie memorabilia from several of Francis Ford Coppola’s films

On this particular visit, we opted to try a 3-course tasting menu at the full-service restaurant, RUSTIC, featuring Coppola’s Diamond Collection; the cost was $49 per person. We had no idea that the lunch portions were the same size as the dinner portions and found them to be quite large, even though they were on a tasting menu. Thankfully, we were allowed to share the plates. Our server, Vanessa, did a great job of getting us in and out within an hour and 15 minutes. If it’s not too hot, I recommend eating outside on the terrace, as the main dining room can get quite loud.

And how was the food? The chicken was excellent! I could not have made it better myself. It was brined (using a mixture of salt water and sugar to keep it moist), then flattened and grilled. I was amazed that we were served half a chicken as the portion size. For dinner I would recommend trying the rack of lamb; it is marinated for 3 days in pomegranate juice (stay tuned for the recipe on Friday).

Sunce Winery & Vineyards

We enjoyed a barrel tasting at the Sunce Winery & Vineyards.

We enjoyed a barrel tasting at the Sunce Winery & Vineyards.

As the Sunce Winery & Vineyards is one of the participants of the Wine Road Ticket, I called ahead and pre-arranged a wine tasting, and thanks to Janea, Owner & General Manager, we also enjoyed a barrel tasting. I had no idea we would meet the owner and wine-maker himself. He graciously let us sample three whites (Chardonnay, Viogner & Bordeaux blend) and four different pinots directly from the barrels. This was the first experience of this type for my friends, so that made our last stop in wine country extra-special. I enjoyed the Bordeaux white blend so much that I purchased six “futures,” where you can purchase the wine at a discounted price before it is bottled. Generally, the wine would be discounted 50%. You pay now but can’t take delivery until after it’s bottled. Depending on the variety and age of the wine, you might have to wait up to 6 months until you can taste it again.

As you can tell, I had a fantastic time during my trip to Alexander Valley’s wine country! From J Winery to Sunce Winery & Vineyards, the getaway was a fabulous blend of delightful sights, sounds, smells and samples. Have you ever been to Alexander Valley’s wine country? What were your highlights? What must-try experiences should I wrap into my next trip?

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: for more info.