After a cruisy two-hour drive from San Francisco—with a compulsory stop at In-n-Out of course—we arrive in Sonoma and check in at Fairmont Mission Inn. The sprawling property is made up of low-rise Spanish mission-style buildings which, shrouded by greenery, make for a classic California setting.
The lodge-like lobby is inviting, with large wooden beams stretched across the ceiling and a fireplace that anchors the room. The guest rooms here are luxurious and welcoming, ranging from recently restored Fairmont Heritage rooms to signature suites.
What better way to shake off a long drive than with a a little pampering? The spa at Fairmont Mission Inn is a short walk from the main building and offers five star treatments ranging from massages and facials to more spiritual offerings such as reiki, chakra reading and balancing, and body-energy alignment to name a few.
7:00pm—Dinner by the pool
Fairmont Mission Inn's Santé restaurant is the recipient of the AAA Four Diamond Award and Michelin designations, and for good reason. On a balmy night, sit poolside under the stars as you indulge in simple yet elegant cuisine that shows off the best of the region's produce, with an award-winning wine list to boot.
5:00am—Up and away
There is no better way to see wine country than from a bird's eye view. As the sun rises over the valley and the early morning veil of mist lifts to reveal the region's terroir, you're left with an endless vista of sprawling vineyards, rolling hills and historic estates. The team at Sonoma Ballooning Adventures have decades of experience under their belt, and know the region like the back of their hand.
As you come back down to earth, it's time to see some of the wineries up close and Vérité Wines is a good place to start. The family-run estate was founded by Vigneron Pierre Seillan, a Bordeaux native, who remains Vérité’s first and only winemaker. He is intimately involved in every step of the winegrowing process from bud break to bottling, and has passed this passion down to his daughter, Hélène.
Anchored in Pierre's droit du sol—or “right of the soil”—methodology, the winery's 40 micro-crus are hand farmed by the Seillan family for low yields of wines that display exceptional quality and character.