My husband and I(both early 30's) have decided to take a trip to CA for our fifth anniversary this late September/early October. We plan to fly into SFO, rent a car, spend a few days in the Monterey area, four or five days in the Sonoma Valley, and then a couple of days in San Francisco. We're interested in doing a mix of wine tastings and tours as well as seeing some of the Sonoma area coast and redwoods. A couple of questions as we start to book flights and accommodations:
1. From the reading I've done to date, we think we want to stay in either Sonoma (city) or Healdsburg. They both seem like great towns where we'll get an "authentic" experience. They both have B&Bs that are in our price range and get good feedback on TA. I'm sure this is a dumb question, but how do most people choose where to stay? Should I try to figure out (already??) which wineries we want to visit and choose from there? Flip a coin?
2. It seems as though most hotels and B&Bs in the area can give complimentary passes to some wineries' tastings and/or tours. I would assume these differ by area of the county? Is this something to ask about when making reservations for lodging?
3. Thanks to a kind response to an earlier posting, we're going to shift our travel dates slightly to try to make the Friday of the Harvest Fair. During the Harvest Fair, are most wineries open for tours/tastings, or is that a day that we should plan to spend hiking/exploring/etc instead?
I know I should relax - I'm sure we'll have a great time - but I'm a planner. Thanks in advance for any responses! I know I'll have more questions about wineries, restaurants, fun things to do, etc in the coming months.