Picnic in Sonoma County | Roma to Sonoma

At a picnic table at Hawkes Winery.

At a picnic table at Hawkes Winery.

Forget the mayo-laden potato salad and the fried chicken drumsticks from your parent’s era, today’s picnickers are much more pick(nic?)y.  Especially in the land of Northern California where the adage “Life is too short to drink bad wine” is practically a mantra.  So how do you do a picnic right these days? We’ve got 7 tips to make it simple and yet extravagant for you.

  1. You will need a blanket/quilt in case you should pass a beautifully shady and secluded spot with a view.  You will be glad you came prepared.
  2. Many wineries do not serve food but encourage visitors to bring a picnic and stay awhile – and buy their wine, of course.  You should NOT bring food into a winery that serves food – that’s just a faux pas.
  3. It’s the finger food aspect of a picnic that makes it intimate, simple, and special. The classic finger food options are wine, bread, cheese, and maybe a bit of fruit or nuts for good measure.   Anything more complicated is just too fussy for the simple pleasure of a picnic on a beautiful day.
  4. Just make sure that every simple thing is simply the best little thing available.  That means no cheddar cheese, please.  Two great local cheese choices are Truffle Trimmer by Cypress Grove (goat cheese with truffle) and the Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam (triple crema).

    Your perfect picnic cheese choices at Atelier at JCB in Yountville.

    Your perfect picnic cheese choices at Atelier at JCB in Yountville.

  5. The bread should come from a proper bakery and to my mind, the baguette is best for breaking off pieces as you go.  The only utensil you’ll want to worry about bringing is a cheese knife.
  6. For fruit, the local black mission figs are amazing when they are in season.  If you don’t mind prepping a bit, slice and pack a local Gravenstein apple.
  7. Some favorite wineries for picnic-seekers are: Lambert Bridge with its private, umbrella-shaded tables, Hawkes Winery with its gorgeous vineyard view, and Rochioli, which is just small enough to make you feel like it’s all yours.