Winter time in Healdsburg. There’s a lot of meat on that bone. While most of the visitors to our region come during the summer and fall months, here’s a PRO TIP: come during the winter. During the cold months when all the wines are barreled down for their winter hibernation, the winemaking community avails itself to a season of eating and drinking, a season of reflection and introspection, and a general sense of well being. Winter is a great time to visit local wineries and downtown Healdsburg tasting rooms. The party usually moves indoors, but there are now several high design tasting rooms in town that you’ll want to add to your Instagram feed.

Just 10 years ago, Healdsburg was a very seasonal town and many would shutter their businesses in the winter. Not so anymore. Now the visitors-in-the-know come and taste the best Sonoma, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the local tasting rooms, often poured by the vintners themselves. That’s something else that’s great about the winter time–the principles are often up in the mix!

Here’s a sample itinerary for a winter visit to Healdsburg: Check into one of the local hotels (which will be offering winter rates!). Hit a couple of the local Tasting Room‘s like Lioco or Bloodroot or Marine Layer–all specialize in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Then it’s a short drive out to the wine country. The Dry Creek Valley is where you’re headed. Stop for lunch at the Dry Creek General Store which has been there since the late 1800s and has a classic California old-timey feel to it. Then a tasting appointment at Reeve which is beautiful to the max. You might venture a little further out to UNTI winery for some killer Cal-Ital wines. Then it’s back to town for happy hour at Burdock–the new darling in town for amazing craft cocktails. For dinner, there are lots of great options these days. Our current favorites are Troubadour (classic French food + tasting menu), and Lo & Behold (casual bar menu).

If you’re still feeling spunky and have one more in you, you might cap the evening with a digestif at the rooftop above the Matheson, with full views of the plaza below. Make sure you hydrate before bed!