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Ideas for Valentine and Proposals in Wine Country

Sonoma Wine Country truly a romantic place.

Oh, the lucky among us who are happily married, or engaged, or simply in love. Valentine’s Day is coming up, and it’s a wonderful time to reflect on a relationship and nurture it with a night out.

The Dance & Dine With Your Valentine soiree on Feb. 15 at Rodney Strong Vineyards Artisan Cellar offers a wonderful opportunity to spark that romance, when, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m., lovers can learn how to tango – the Argentine dance of love. A one-hour lesson culminates with a three-course meal in the winery’s Artisan Cellar ($90pp Club / $110pp general. Reserve here: 707-433-0945 or website ).

And who knows – for those lovely souls who are engaged, or simply in love, Valentine’s Day might spark that extra step: marriage.

For many romantic couples, the proposal can be almost as important as the wedding. It sets the mood for the relationship, whether it’s classic on-bended-knee with the ring slipped into a glass of sparkling wine, or rustic, with the ring presented on a nature hike at sunset.

If stress becomes a factor, some would-be grooms might even call in an expert, such as Catherine Bartolomei, co-owner of The Farmhouse Inn of Forestville. She has set-up a Proposal Package at her intimate luxury retreat among the redwoods, and promises to smooth the way with everything except the engagement ring.

“We understand that this is a big deal, and it is critical that it go smoothly,” she said.  “We can help.  We’ve done this before, and we can tell you what is possible, and which Julia Roberts movies lied to your girlfriend.”

To start, proposals can take place at the Inn itself, with its charming farmhouse and upscale barn architecture, Michelin Star restaurant, and manicured gardens. The moment might take place in candlelit tub drawn by staff and dotted with rose petals, plus champagne and chocolate truffles at the ready, and in-suite breakfast arranged for the next morning.

Or, using their close connections with top wineries, and secret wineries, too, the Inn’s concierge can arrange a vineyard proposal, complete with stunning views and a wine toast. The same idea holds true for recommendations and arrangements at an intimate dinner at one of Sonoma County’s world-class restaurants.

Some favorite places to pop the question include private hilltops overlooking the Russian River Valley, over a private dinner in a winery cave like Thomas George Estates or Bella Vineyards in Healdsburg. Other ideas include proposing over lunch a-deux in a secluded winery garden such as at Chateau St. Jean in Sonoma, or in a glamorous sparkling wine cellar like at Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards in Sonoma.

Some couples have celebrated their happy moment in a private chauffeured limousine from Pure Luxury Transportation of Petaluma, stocked with champagne, chocolates and flowers while on daylong tour of Sonoma County wineries. Others have done it while relaxing after a luxurious wine country spa treatment, such as the Cabernet scrub at Kenwood Inn & Spa, where crushed grape-seeds, grape-seed oil, brown sugar and honey are orchestrated into a deep, soothing massage.

More adventurous engagements have occurred on horseback at a winery/equestrian estate like Chalk Hill Vineyards in Alexander Valley, after an 800-foot long zipline ride through the towering redwoods at Sonoma Canopy Tours in Occidental, or following a voyage down the Russian River via Burke’s Canoes in Forestville.

It’s also important to ask if a photographer can be arranged to discreetly capture the moment – many wineries and adventure companies have the ability to set this up.

Back at the Farmhouse, Bartolomei notes that a finale is always a wonderful thing to consider after the high excitement of asking the actual question. A hotel room set with sparkling wine and flowers, for example, is the perfect cap to a memorable day.

Her inn’s Proposal Package includes coordination of a private proposal at the sophisticated Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery in Healdsburg, a three course wine-paired dinner for two in Farmhouse restaurant, a candlelight tub turndown, and breakfast in bed one morning, for $495 (room is extra, depending on date and length of stay).

Find more info about restaurants, wineries & wine, hotels & lodging in Sonoma County. Find about complimentary wedding assistance for weddings in Sonoma County.

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