Today, Account Director Marcella Thompkins shares highlights from her recent trip through California Wine Country–from Sonoma to the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Image via Marcella Thompkins

Why be anywhere when you can be in wine country? That’s exactly what I asked myself a few weeks ago when work duties required that I leave my cozy Los Angeles apartment behind to spend some time “in the field”. Though I’ve always been more of the metropolitan type, with each breath of fresh (smog-free!) air, walk through a sloping vineyard and sip of a local wine, I become increasingly seduced by the countryside.

My last business trip was short and, subsequently, a bit of a beautiful blur. I decided to stretch this one out, spend time with as many writers, clients, and partners as possible, and really allow myself to fall into the rhythm of the destination. While I wish I could regale you with everything I experienced during my trip, I’ll share a few moments that stood out.

Dry Creek Valley, a stunning slice of northern Sonoma Wine Country, was my first stop. On your next visit to Sonoma, I recommend you make it yours too. I took the above photo during a meeting. Yes, you read that right–-that was my meeting view. Standing among those vines at bud break was a major “pinch me” moment and definitely set the tone for the rest of my trip.

Video via Marcella Thompkins

Wine country isn’t just for wine! Santa Rosa, the largest city and main hub for all that is happening in Sonoma County, is also a great destination for beer lovers, cyclists, gastronomes, and families. Though I’ve sent many journalists to the Charles Schulz Museum over the years, this was the first time I got to stroll through those hallowed halls. I was absolutely fascinated by the re-creation of Schulz’s art studio, which, strangely enough, resembles the home studio of my artist father. I left reassured that this museum and homage to one of Santa Rosa’s most beloved residents truly is an incredible experience for children and adults alike.

Left to right: Account Director Marcella Thompkins, PR Intern Sophia Flores-Istin
Image via Marcella Thompkins

My colleagues and I went on a behind-the-scenes tour of an expansion project currently underway at Vintners Inn, the only Four Diamond Resort in Santa Rosa. The project won’t be unveiled until September, but trust me when I say it will be worth the wait. P.S. Do you think green is my color?

Video via Marcella Thompkins

Though I was sad to leave beautiful Sonoma Wine Country, I couldn’t wait to explore the Santa Cruz Mountains for the first time. Several of the tasting rooms offer panoramic views of the surrounding Silicon Valley and majestic coastal Redwoods that took my breath away. And, please don’t tell anyone, but I may have geeked out a bit at Ridge’s Monte Bello tasting room. If you’re a wine enthusiast, you might recall that the 1971 Ridge Vineyards Monte Bello Cabernet Sauvignon was part of the legendary Judgment of Paris, the tasting that proved California wines could hold their own against French wines. If you’re not familiar, Ridge earned fifth place in the original 1976 tasting and 1st at the 30th-anniversary re-tasting.

Image via Marcella Thompkins

And with that, I’ll leave you with this dreamy photo I took inside of the Wrights Station tasting room. From the valleys of Sonoma County to the mountains of Santa Cruz, this trip furthered my enchantment with the world of wine and I cannot wait to continue this journey. Hope you stay along for the ride!

About the Author, Marcella Thompkins

Account Director, Marcella Thompkins, is a public relations specialist with a passion for all things taste and travel. She joined McCue in 2014 after launching her career at Pasadena magazine, coordinating PR efforts for clients such as Visit Santa Rosa, Madrona Manor, Vintners Inn, Ferrari-Carano Winery and Ponte Family Estate.

She spent the last several years as an Account Supervisor at Wagstaff Worldwide, where she oversaw accounts such as Ama Waterways, Riedel Glassware, and Patina Restaurant Group. She returns to McCue from her most recent position as Marketing Manager for the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, bringing her national media contacts, global brand experience and team-building expertise to her role of Account Director.

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