HEALDSBURG, Calif.
Getting my Christmas shopping done early, I escaped from the big city’s holiday hustle and bustle and spent a day last weekend exploring the quaint downtown Healdsburg.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve visited this small town in Sonoma County, and it has definitely blossomed with several new chic boutiques, restaurants, and wine-tasting rooms. I booked a five-hour food and wine-tasting walking tour from winebookings.com, using a special TravelZoo voucher so I only paid $59 instead of the normal $149.

Together with my friends Jason, Tat and Craig, we joined another couple for our intimate tour that started at the town square’s holiday-trimmed gazebo and traipsed around town visiting three wine-tasting rooms and a few food purveyors giving us a taste of pastries, tea, olive oil and chocolates.

The three wineries showcased Healdsburg’s finest grapes (often pinot noir), and offered up three distinct personalities. The first stop, Portalupi, was modern with an old world connection (and has some of my favorites tastes) while Banshee was hipster-like (I felt like we were sitting in the middle of a fashion store) and Thumbprint Cellars was eclectic and funky.

With a break in between for lunch at Oakville Grocery, the five hours were paced nicely by our guide and I didn’t feel rushed or bored. And the weather couldn’t have been more perfect – brisk fall day with sunlight streaking through the colorful leaves. It was the perfect treat for me.

What better way to start than at a French Bakery filled with macarons, pastries, bread, and nutcrackers.

What better way to start than at a French Bakery filled with macarons, pastries, bread, and nutcrackers.

Costeaux was bustling with diners. They're supposedly famous for their scrambled eggs.

Costeaux was bustling with diners. They’re supposedly famous for their scrambled eggs.

Stop 2 was at Portolupi wine-tasting room, owned by a husband and wife who treated us to red wine tasting paired with these delicious local charcuterie and cheese.

Stop 2 was at Portalupi wine-tasting room, owned by a husband and wife who treated us to red wine tasting paired with these delicious local charcuterie and cheese.

Portalupi sells a wine in these rustic wine bottles, traditionally used for table wine. In Italy, villagers would come to the winery with their bottles to get refills. Love this.

Portalupi sells a wine in these rustic wine bottles, traditionally used for table wine. In Italy, villagers would come to the winery with their bottles to get refills. Love this.

Portalupi is known for its port wine. I generally don't drink port, but I enjoyed this sweet glass.

Portalupi is known for its port wine. I generally don’t drink port, but I enjoyed this sweet glass.

The tea selection at Dragonfly Tea Co.

The tea selection at Dragonfly Tea Co.

Stop 4 was at the new Banshee tasting room, which had a hipster feel

Stop 4 was at the new Banshee tasting room, which had a hipster feel

Swirling a tasting of white wine at Banshee

Swirling a tasting of white wine at Banshee

Lunch break at Oakville Grocery Store

Lunch break at Oakville Grocery Store

It was tough to make a decision for lunch with the menu at Oakville Grocery

It was tough to make a decision for lunch with the menu at Oakville Grocery

The weather was perfect for a walking tour

The weather was perfect for a walking tour

Stop. 5 was olive oil tasting at Healdsburg Olive Oil Co.

Stop. 5 was olive oil tasting at Healdsburg Olive Oil Co.

Olive oil for sale

Olive oil for sale

Last winery stop was at Thumbprint Cellars, where we had a selection of red wine

Last winery stop was at Thumbprint Cellars, where we had a selection of red wine

Chocolate and toffee tasting from the Healdsburg General Store.

Chocolate and toffee tasting from the Healdsburg General Store.

The walking tour was extra special as the town was dressed up for Christmas.

The walking tour was extra special as the town was dressed up for Christmas.

Banshee Tasting Room, 325 Center St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.395.0915

Costeaux French Bakery, 417 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.433.1913

Dragonfly Tea Co., 126 North St., Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg, Calif. 707.473.8256

Healdsburg General Store, 322 Center St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.431.2784

Healdsburg Olive Oil Co., 116 Matheson St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.433.8499

Oakville Grocery, 124 Matheson St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.433.3200

Portalupi, 107 North St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.395.0960

Thumbprint Cellars, 102 Matheson St., Healdsburg, Calif. PH: 707.433.2393

One Response to Wine- and Food-Tasting Walking Tour of Downtown Healdsburg

  1. Carolyn Jung says:

    What a fun time! And I love those whimsical wine bottles. I want one, myself! ;)

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