Which Winery

Healdsburg Insider
Sean Coleman
General Manager
Red Wine Roads

“Sean Coleman has been the General Manager at Chalkboard in Healdsburg since its opening in early 2013. Sean possesses a thirteen year-plus background in wine and fine dining including A’Cote in Oakland, and Va de Vi in Walnut Creek. Both of these restaurants are lauded for specializing in eclectic small plates, and extensive international wine lists...” MORE

Healdsburg is the ultimate central location in the heart of Sonoma, with over 100 surrounding wineries. The true treasure of Healdsburg is the farming community, which provides excellent fresh produce and world class wineries. The central downtown plaza offers a little something for everyone, including world class shopping, fine dining, antiquing, bookstores, and art & sculpture.

FAMILY FUN

For parents also bringing children on their winery adventures, where are a few places they will be most welcomed in Healdsburg?

  • Francis Ford Copolla Winery

    Swimming pool, full service restaurant, bocce, movie gallery, performance pavilion... shall we go on?

  • Preston Vineyards

    Traditional in values, postmodern in practice, the Preston family, staff, farm and winery offer a timeless experience for the visitor and customer.

  • Russian River Adventures

    No buildings, no roads, no nothing. The best section on the Russian River for seeing birds and wildlife!

  • 32 Winds Winery

    32 Winds is a small family established winery, committed to making exceptional wines, located in Dry Creek Valley two miles from the Healdsburg Plaza.

REGIONAL FAVORITES

What are some other fun things to do in Healdsburg?

HIDDEN GEMS

What are a few of your favorite hidden gems in Healdsburg?

  • HIRSCH VINEYARDS

    Perched on a ridge overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Fort Ross, Hirsch Vineyards is the birth ground of great pinot noir on the extreme Sonoma Coast.

  • Bergamot Alley Wine Bar

    If you are looking to get a taste of local culture, look no further than Bergamot Alley. This local wine bar is the ultimate laid- back wine experience offering seasonal ping pong tournaments, board games, live music, and excellent wine and beer selections.

  • Christopher Creek

    WhichWinery Recommendation:  Visit our warm and rustic tasting room, relax and enjoy a glass of wine pool side, or bring a picnic lunch to enjoy on the patio overlooking our rolling vineyards, creek and surrounding vistas

where to stay

If you’re looking for a hotel, here are some great places to stay:

Hotel Les Mars

Nestled amongst the hills of the Russian River Valley, Hotel Les Mars, a member of Relais & Chateaux, brings the romance of French living to Northern California. Located one block from Healdsburg’s historic town square, the surrounding area includes Michelin Star dining, hiking and other outdoor activities.

The Irish Rose Inn

The Irish Rose Inn is a Sonoma Premium Wine Country Bed and Breakfast Inn in a wonderful 1912 Craftsman home amongst year-round flowering gardens. With vineyard views, the Inn is located in the Heart of Dry Creek Valley, in the town of Healdsburg, Sonoma County, California.

Farmhouse Inn

Experience the romance of wine country from Farmhouse Inn, a boutique hotel with all the warmth and hospitality of a family-owned bed and breakfast inn coupled with the services and amenities of a 5 Star luxury hotel.

Madrona Manor

Enjoy a romantic meal in our Michelin Starred restaurant, engage in quiet conversation with drinks on our veranda, or relax by a cozy fire in the winter or our pool in the summer. At the end of the day, a peaceful night’s stay awaits you in any of our elegant rooms.

INSIDER FAVORITES 

Sean Coleman
General Manager, Chalkboard Restaurant

What makes Chalkboard restaurant unique to the region?

Our Executive Chef Shane McAnelly and his unique, fresh cuisine. Shane changes the menu weekly, working his menu in a true-to-form “farm to table” environment. Chalkboard has a dedicated garden located at Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards tended by Brad Agerter, which supplies organic produce and herbs to Chalkboards menu. Due to this farm fresh menu, many items emphasize seasonal and technique-driven fare; this keeps the menu exciting and fresh.Be sure to put Chalkboard on your must visit list in Healdsburg, as this is an experience to not be missed!

Speed round questions with our insider on favorites in the area and life in wine country

What's your favorite winery?

Iron Horse Vineyards. Friendly people and great sparkling wine

Favorite place to dine?

Chalkboard

You live in one of the most beautiful wine country regions in the world. But if you could go, what other wine region would you love to visit? Why?

I am a huge fan of Cabernet Franc, and would love to visit the Loire Valley in France and partake in their incredible wine while taking in the view of the Loire River.

Favorite wine to wind down with?

Witch’s Hand, Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Favorite wine to have in hand while at an event or entertaining?

Iron Horse, Vintage Brut Classic, Sparkling Wine. This wine provides a great start to an evening.

Favorite meal with wine - what is the wine and what is the dish?

Chalkboard Squid Ink Gigli w/ Dunganesse Crab & Calabrian Chile; paired with Rochioli Estate Chardonnay, Russian River Valley.

The next winery on your "must-hit" list is?

Unti Vineyards

When I'm not drinking wine you can find me doing what...

Checking out local wineries and scenery and keeping up on what is new to the area.

If you could tell the world anything about wine country what would it be?

Wine Country tends to have a stigma of glamour, when in reality it is truly based on farming and people who work the land. Winemaking is tough work, done by humble “salt of the earth” people.

3-DAY ITINERARY

DAY 1

MORNING

BREAKFAST

The ParishTraditional decadent New Orleans cuisine such as shrimp & grits, and bananas foster pain perdu. Or opt for a lighter breakfast of beignets & café au lait.

WINERY VISIT

Lambert Bridge

MIDDAY

LUNCH

Campo Fina. An adorable downtown favorite. Start with a traditional order of castelvetrano olives followed by “The Old School in a Skillet” (pork & beef meatballs, tomato sauce, smoked mozzarella & house made ciabatta bread) Be sure to squeeze in a game of Bocce to make room for your next wine tasting adventure.

WINERY VISITS

EVENING

DINNER

Chalkboard. Do not let the small plates and casual, contemporary atmosphere fool you into thinking this is anything but a culinary experience to be shared and savored. Start with the Dungeness crab tator tots served with crème fraiche and chive. Lighten things up with a farm fresh cucumber & avocado salad with radish, cherry tomatoes and toasted seeds. Next, be sure to delight in an order of housemade pasta and buttermilk fried quail. Always save room to sharer dessert, as Chalkboard boasts one of the most unique and tantalizing dessert menus. The “Candy Bar” (brownie/caramel/toasted milk chocolate cremeaux/nougat ice cream/peanut crunch), and fresh house-made donuts never disappoint.

Stay

Hotel Les MarsNo need for an after-dinner taxi; you are within steps to arriving into sheer, French Chateau style at Hotel Les Mars. Dedicated to fine European service, you may relax in style while soaking in the tub, or enjoying the ambience of your cozy fireplace while you reflect on your wonderful first day adventure in wine country.

DAY 2

MORNING

BREAKFAST

Taste some CA history! Operating since 1881, Oakville Grocery is the oldest continually operating grocery store in CA. Indulge in a house-made lemon blueberry scone and espresso, or opt for a hot breakfast burrito and fresh juice. Don’t forget to grab a bag of locally grown white truffle almonds to snack on later during your next wine tasting adventure.

WINERY VISITS

Lancaster Estate Winery

MIDDAY

LUNCH

ChalkboardAfter you crawl happily away from your fantastic dinner & dessert experience, come back for lunch to experience any plates you were unable to tackle the night before. Start with a snack of warm pretzels served with cheddar cheese sauce, mustard, and tomato jam; followed by sautéed green beans, and warm roasted beets. Next, be sure to indulge in the seared dayboat scallops (risotto cake/grilled corn/uni sauce/heirloom tomato). Finish with a seasonal sorbet, or a selection of artisan cheese.

EVENING

DINNER

Scopa: Only open for dinner, so please call ahead for reservations. If in season, a must to start with is the “Peaches & Purslane (Grilled Dry Creek Peaches with arugula, frisee, shallots & white balsamic vinaigrette). Follow this with housemade ravioli stuffed with ricotta cheese.

STAY

The Irish Rose Inn: The ultimate quaint bed & breakfast experience. Rent the adorable “Chateau Margi” cottage located behind the Inn for a romantic and relaxing evening.

DAY 3

MORNING

BREAKFAST

Costeaux French Bakery This open air bakery is filled with magical aromas of fresh baked breads, cookies, and cakes. For heartier fare try the classic “Costeaux Omelet” filled with Applewood smoked bacon, spinach, sun dried tomato and French brie.

WINERY VISITS

Banshee Wines Tasting Room. Open daily from 11-7 in downtown Healdsburg. Make reservations to experience this great casual tasting environment where you can sample the latest of Banshees fantastic wines.

MIDDAY

LUNCH

Dry Creek General Store. Open until 6:00 PM, you will want to take advantage of the farm fresh produce, and sink your teeth into an artisanal hand crafted sandwich such as the “Turkey Cranberry Panini” (Turkey, house made cranberry relish, celery and cabbage slaw, fromage blanc, roasted garlic mayo on focaccia).

WINERY VISITS

Copain Wines:

EVENING

DINNER

Madrona Manor: Be sure to make reservations for this highly acclaimed dining experience of “New California Cuisine”. Caviar, Butter Poached Lobster, and white truffles are a few of the fantastic seasonal offerings.

STAY

Farmhouse Inn This Sonoma Inn and Spa is the perfect Farmhouse-style getaway; simple elegance and excellent service. If you are looking for ultimate luxury, opt for the “Luxury Barn Room”, boasting heated floors, jetted tub, steam shower, indoor-outdoor fireplace and private outdoor deck.

Sean Coleman
General Manager, Chalkboard Restaurant

Sean Coleman has been the General Manager at Chalkboard in Healdsburg since its opening in early 2013. Sean possesses a thirteen year-plus background in wine and fine dining including A’Cote in Oakland, and Va de Vi in Walnut Creek. Both of these restaurants are lauded for specializing in eclectic small plates, and extensive international wine lists.

Sean relocated to Healdsburg from the East Bay in 2013, and has been impressed with the availability of fresh, local produce; and the true “farm to table” use of this resource from neighboring restaurants. Sean enjoys collaborating with local wineries for monthly wine pairing dinners hosted at Chalkboard. This provides him an opportunity to meet with winemakers from such esteemed wineries as Chalk Hill and Littorai keeping him up to speed on the latest local winemaking and vineyard information. 

Sean enjoys exploring new food and wine throughout Healdsburg, and on a rare day off you might find him deep in a book, indulging in a glass or two at downtown go-to-spot, Bergamot Alley. 

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