The Best Food & Wine Pairings on the Sonoma Plaza

  • Food
  • by DEVIN PARR
  • on JUNE 13, 2024
  • 7415
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Food

The Best Food & Wine Pairings on the Sonoma Plaza

By Devin Parr June 13, 2024

Established in 1835 by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo, Military Commander and Director of the Northern Frontier for the Mexican government, the Sonoma Plaza is a national historic landmark that played an important role in California’s history. This eight-acre park with Sonoma City Hall at its center is where the Bear Flag – the inspiration for the California State Flag – was first raised, and where California’s independence from Mexico was declared. The Sonoma Plaza is now a bustling Wine Country destination lined with tasting rooms, restaurants, and shops, and attracts visitors from around the globe year-round.

Enjoying a glass or three of delicious Sonoma County wine in a historic setting is a delightful way to spend an afternoon. However, there’s something otherworldly about discovering the palate-wowing power of the perfect food and wine pairing. Thankfully, many of the tasting rooms on and around the Sonoma Plaza offer unique culinary experiences designed specifically to pair with their wines. Here are a few of our favorites.

On The Sonoma Plaza

WALT Wines
Photo courtesy of WALT Wines

WALT Wines

380 1st Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 933-4440

Sonoma County history and charm ooze from the cozy tasting room at WALT Wines, which offers award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vineyards across the Pacific Coast. Check out their flagship Root 101 experience, in which guests embark on an educational “1,000 Miles of Pinot” journey up and down the West Coast by way of the vineyard source for each wine. Each sip is paired with carefully-curated, seasonal, Pinot-centric bites by notable Sonoma Chef, Seth Johnson, in a truly farm-to-table culinary offering. Got a sweet tooth? Enjoy WALT Pinot paired perfectly with chocolate, in their wine and chocolate tasting experience.

Three Sticks Wines
Oysters & Chardonnay at Three Sticks, Photo courtesy of Three Sticks Wines

Three Sticks Wines

143 W Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-3328

Located in the Vallejo-Castenada Adobe, originally built in 1942 by General Mariano Vallejo’s brother, Salvador, Three Sticks offers tasting experiences focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in this lovingly restored Sonoma landmark, including the new “Oysters & Chardonnay” tasting, in partnership with El Dorado Kitchen. This unique experience invites guests to explore the terroir and “merroir” (marine + terroir) of the Sonoma Coast while being guided through a fun and educational flight of single vineyard Chardonnays, perfectly paired with three types of fresh oysters.

Bedrock Wine Co.
Photo courtesy of Bedrock Wine Co.

Bedrock Wine Co.

General Joseph Hooker House: 414 First Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 343-1478

While the Bedrock Wine Co. team never intended to open a tasting room, preferring to focus their energies on growing grapes and making exquisite, terroir-driven wines, most of which they sell directly to their consumers, we’re thankful they did. When the 1852 home of General Joseph Hooker was up for rent for the first time in its history in 2017, they jumped on it, partnering with the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation to turn it into a tasting room and exhibit of mid-19th century photos. This tiny piece of history is the perfect setting in which to enjoy the Under the Wire + Caviar Tasting on offer. Guests will sample three one-ounce tins of caviar sourced from local purveyors with a selection of chips and Bellwether Farms Crème Fraiche, all paired with Under the Wire’s single-vineyard, single-vintage sparkling wines in a fun, high-meets-low-brow pairing experience.

Texture | Ryan Lely Photography
Photo courtesy of Facebook: Texture | Ryan Lely Photography

Texture Wines

35 E Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 939-7406

Located just off the Sonoma Plaza, this hidden gem winery’s vision is simple: craft exceptional Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. This core principle is at the heart of Texture’s signature tasting experience, in which guests are treated to a guided, comparative tasting of the winery’s premium varietal and appellation-specific wines. Served alongside the wines are their executive chef’s expertly curated, small-bite pairings using seasonal, locally-sourced ingredients that span Sonoma County, from the Pacific Ocean to local farms and gardens. .

SIGH. Bar | Garrett Rowland
Photo courtesy of SIGH. Bar | Garrett Rowland

SIGH.

120 W Napa Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-2444

Named one of the top 25 wine bars in the country by Travel & Leisure, this Sonoma Plaza hot spot offers a welcoming environment for sparkling wine lovers to explore a dizzying selection of classic Champagnes and bubblies from around the world, along with an array of wine, beer, light bites, and even Champagne slushies. For a real treat, check out SIGH.’s Premier Flight, which highlights Tête de Cuvée Champagnes (the best of the best), including pours of Cristal, Dom Perignon, and a third wild card option. Be sure to splurge on the decadent caviar service for a totally indulgent food and wine pairing.

A Stone’s Throw

Though not technically right on the Sonoma Plaza, these nearby spots are an absolute must for excellent food and wine pairing experiences.

Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery
Photo courtesy of Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery

Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery

389 4th Street East, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 933-3200

Continue your sipping adventures at the only Sonoma winery to remain open through Prohibition. Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery managed to keep the doors open by supplying a few select brands of wine, for religious and medicinal purposes, but their roots stretch even farther back to the Italian wine region of Tuscany, where the winery’s namesake, Samuele Sebastiani, grew up. Combine both history and culinary delights during the Cherryblock Cabernet Vertical Tasting. A celebration of the winery’s 120th anniversary, you’ll sample five vintages grown from the original Cherryblock vineyards planted in 1961, complemented with a selection of cheese and charcuterie, all while learning more about the winery’s past.

Gundlach Bundschu
Photo courtesy of Gundlach Bundschu

Gundlach Bundschu Winery

2000 Denmark Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 938-5277

Located just a few miles from downtown Sonoma, this Wine Country favorite is California’s oldest continuously family-owned winery. Gundlach Bundschu, affectionately nicknamed Gun Bun, is also known for exceptional wine experiences with a culinary element. Try the classic Rhinefarm Experience and enjoy a flight of five wines with optional seasonal snack add-ons. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, hop aboard the winery’s Pinzgauer, a Swiss Army transport vehicle, for the Pinz Excursion – an off-roading experience across Rhinefarm. As you cruise through organic vineyards, your guide will take you on a journey through history, stopping at several spots in the vineyard to enjoy wine along with cheese and charcuterie.

Hamel Family Wines
Photo courtesy of Hamel Family Wines

Hamel Family Wines

15401 Sonoma Highway, Sonoma, CA 95476 , (707) 996-5800

Also worth the journey outside the Plaza is a visit to the nearby Hamel Family Wines for their Chef’s Table experience, featuring mini gourmet courses created by Executive Chef Thomas Mendel. This bespoke flavor journey is centered on Hamel’s expressive lineup of biodynamic and dry-farmed wines and includes a tour of the winery and caves. You’ll sample both current release and library wines that perfectly complement Chef Mendel’s curated bites. For an even more intimate affair, book Hamel’s Thursday evening supper club, Collector’s Dinner. This five-course journey through fine cuisine and even finer wines is worth the splurge.