Healdsburg Area

Healdsburg At-A-Glance

In recent years, Healdsburg has emerged as one of the top wine touring destinations in California on the strength of three factors: geography, accessibility and charm.

Geographically, Healdsburg sits at the convergence of three great winegrowing regions: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley. Scores of wineries in these regions are located within minutes of the town center. The Napa Valley is only a half-hour away via a scenic drive along Highway 128 through Alexander Valley and Knights Valley into the picturesque town of Calistoga. Wineries of the new Chalk Hill appellation are just a turn off Highway 128 away along meandering Chalk Hill Road. An hour’s drive to the north takes you to even more premium wine regions in Lake and Mendocino counties. All told, well over a dozen major wine regions comprising literally hundreds of wineries are within easy striking distance of town.

Healdsburg is about 65 miles north of the Golden Gate Bridge. Except during peak commute hours, it is an easy 90-minutes-or-less drive along major highways from downtown San Francisco, the San Francisco International Airport, or Oakland International. It is only 10 minutes north of the Sonoma County Airport, which offers non-stop commercial air links with Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Easy access to transportation to and from major cities of the West makes Healdsburg a natural destination for urban wine enthusiasts seeking to escape into the Wine Country for a day, a weekend, or longer.

Perhaps because it so accessible, Healdsburg has gone to great lengths to preserve its small town charm and rural heritage. Strict growth limits have kept it compact enough that virtually every corner of town is within walking distance for its 10,000 inhabitants. And, with the town of Sonoma, it is one of only two towns in Sonoma County to preserve its original town square. Today the Healdsburg Plaza remains the focal point for community gatherings. Surrounded by interesting shops, good restaurants and high quality lodging, the Plaza is also the focus for visitors. A walk around the square immerses you in a mix of rural and urban amenities that is the very essence of Wine Country lifestyle.

Travel-Wise Tip: The Healdsburg area (including Alexander, Dry Creek, and Russian River valleys) and Sonoma Valley are the main wine regions of Sonoma County. From Healdsburg to the town of Sonoma is about 40 miles and, in usual driving conditions, driving time is about an hour. While it is certainly possible to tour Sonoma Valley through day trips from a base in Healdsburg, it is not advisable. It is far better to devote two or three days to each area and to reserve accommodations close to where you’ll be touring. Visiting the Wine Country is all about relaxing and enjoying the wine and lifestyle amenities of the different regions you visit. That becomes difficult if a significant portion of your day is spent driving.

Top Picks For Wine Tasting

As in other parts of the Wine Country, there are so many good wineries in and around Healdsburg that it is difficult to select just a handful to visit. Here are our suggestions for wineries in the regions immediately adjacent to Healdsburg, as well as for tasting rooms in Healdsburg proper.

Alexander Valley is best known for its Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon wines. Good places to sample these and other great wine varieties include:
  • Hanna Winery, 9280 Hwy 128, Healdsburg; 707-431-4310. The Mediterranean style tasting room sits on a hill overlooking Alexander Valley.
  • Robert Young Estate Winery, 4960 Red Winery Road, Geyserville: (707) 431-4811. Tucked away off the main roads in the valley, this world-renowned winery is located on the historic family estate.
Dry Creek Valley is almost synonymous with Zinfandel, a uniquely American wine. Several Italian and French varietals are also produced here. Here is where you can taste the intriguing diversity of this region:
  • Bella  Vineyards, 9711 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg; 707-473-9171. Not everyone bothers to drive West Dry Creek, and what a shame! Bella is just one of the gems off the main road. Tastings in the cave.
  • Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, 8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg; 707-433-6700. Spend some time here to see the gardens and explore the Italianate wine center, and to taste the extensive lineup of wines.
  • Fritz Underground Winery, 24691 Dutcher Creek Road, Cloverdale; 800-418-9463. Built into a hillside at the very top of the Valley, Fritz really is underground to facilitate cooling and gravity-flow winemaking.
Russian River Valley is world-famous for Pinot Noir. Other varietals in this region include Chardonnay, a cooler-climate take on Zinfandel, and even sparkling wines. Here’s a short list to get you started in this region populated by many small and a few big wineries:
  • Arista Winery, 7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg; 707-473-0606. Several faces of Pinot Noir here along with a few other excellent varietals. Enjoy your wine over a picnic in the Japanese water garden if you like.
  • Korbel Champagne Cellars, 13250 River Road, Guerneville; 707-824-7316. Don’t think you know this brand unless you’ve visted the winery. A true Old World experience awaits you there. Take the tour.
  • Moshin Vineyards, 10295 Westside Road, Healdsburg; 707-433-5499. This is a classic, small, family-operated winery specializing in Pinot Noir. Call ahead to reserve a tour of the gravity-flow winemaking facilities.
  • Rodney Strong Vineyards, 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg: 800.678.4763. This is a great place to sample wines from Alexander Valley and other nearby wine regions. Ask about the “Winery-Within-A-Winery” tour.
Healdsburg proper, not surprisingly, offers wines from all three of the surround regions—and then some. Here are just three of the more than 20 tasting venues you can visit in town:
  • Partake by K-J, 241 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; 707-433-6000. Welcome to Partake by K-J, Kendall-Jackson’s Tasting Lounge and Flight Club in the center of Healdsburg, California.
  • La Crema Winery, 235 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; 707-431-9400. The winery south of town is only open on special occasions, but the in-town tasting room is open every day. Well known for Pinot Noir.
  • Seghesio Family Vineyards, 14730 Grove Street, Healdsburg; 888-734-4374. You’ll have to walk a few blocks off the square, but if you do you’ll find a full-fledged winery. Well known for Zinfandel, Seghesio makes several interesting Italian style wines.

Where To Dine

Here are some of the restaurants we consider to be among the best in the Healdsburg area. Please see our Top Restaurants page for a more comprehensive listing of highly rated restaurants in and around Healdsburg.

Breakfast:
  • Downtown Bakery & Creamery, 308A Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-431-2719. This bakery with informal café is a great place for morning coffee and pastries, a sandwich or fococcia pizza at lunchtime, or dessert until late afternoon closing.
  • Flying Goat Coffee, 324 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-433-3599. Locals congregate here in the mornings. Some are on their way to work, others will linger through the morning. A classic Healdsburg coffee-and-pasty venue.
Lunch:
  • Bravas, 420 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-433-7700. Bravas brings the fun, flair and flavors of Spain to wine country. The menu features tapas, both traditional and modern, and seasonal dishes served a la plancha—all with chef Mark Stark’s signature twist.
  • Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar, 403 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; 707-433-9191. The small plates menu is designed for sharing and features items ranging from New England Style “Rolls” to Latin inspired skewers. Also good for dinner.
Dinner:
  • Barndiva, 231 Center Street, Healdsburg; 707-431-0100. This upscale-casual, indoor-outdoor restaurant bills itself as a celebration of all things local. A trendy locals favorite.
  • Chalkboard, 29 North Street, Healdsburg; 707-473-8030. Chalkboard is casual and contemporary, and a celebration of the best ingredients Sonoma has to offer. Executive Chef Shane McAnelly’s menu of small plates is inspired by produce from a dedicated three-acre garden, paired with local wine flights and inventive cocktails.
  • Dry Creek Kitchen, 317 Healdsburg Avenue, Healdsburg; 707-431-0330. Not as pricey as Cyrus, this Charlie Palmer restaurant  draws upon regional ingredients to create specialties by  Chef de Cuisine Dustin Valette.
  • Spoonbar, 219 Healdsburg Avenue (H2 Hotel), Healdsburg; 707-433-7222. This happening spot is all the rage with locals. Chef Rudy Mihal applies a modern Mediterranean flavor palate to ingredients grown and produced locally.

Beyond Wine Tasting

Some services that may make your visit to Healdsburg more enjoyable:

Spas

  • Massage Envy
    • 640 E. Cotati Avenue, Cotati; 707-795-7700
    • 247 N. McDowell, Petaluma; 707-763-6274
    • 5761 Mountain Hawk Hwy, Suite #103, Santa Rosa; 707-537-0555
  • Osmosis Day Spa, 209 Bohemian Hwy, Freestone; 707-823-8231

Limousine Tours & Transportation