POSTED ON September 15, 2008 | IN Russian River Wine Country - Sonoma Cty., Wine Information | BY Joe Becerra

We have been to all the great wine towns in California including Yountville, St. Helena, Calistoga, Napa, Sonoma, Paso Robles, Los Olivos, and others, but Healdsburg remains are favorite wine town by a wide margin. In the Russian River wine region, all roads lead to the town of Healdsburg.

The focal point of Healdsburg is the Plaza. It is the size of a square block area and the center of the town’s activity. Quaint shops, restaurants, and inns surround the Plaza. There are many choices for restaurants, from the Michelin famed Cyrus Restaurant to the hamburger joint at the south end of town. You can stay in luxury at the Les Mars Hotel, Hotel Healdsburg, the Madrona Inn or choose a small B&B.

healdsburg tasting rooms

This is the Healdsburg Plaza. Around and nearby the Plaza are several wine tasting rooms

Getting to Healdsburg is usually an easy 70 minutes from the Golden Gate Bridge. Traffic through Santa Rosa always seems to be troublesome, but that should be much better in a few months when the addition of a third lane on Highway 101 through Santa Rosa is completed. Traffic in the town is no problem because the Highway passes it by.

If you like shopping this phrase we saw sums it up. “Women who love to shop love Healdsburg.”

The best part of Healdsburg is the choice of wineries that are a short drive from Healdsburg. Beautiful backroads branch out in different directions from Healdsburg. There is Eastside Road, Westside Road, Guerneville Road, Dry Creek Road and the Alexander Valley Road. Off each of these roads are smaller roads leading to hidden wineries. The wineries are all different in this area. You will find many wineries with case production under 3000 and run only by a husband-wife team. There are a few big production wineries but they are far and few between.

If driving to wineries is not your thing, there are 22 wineries that have a tasting room in town.

The Zinfandel and Sauvignon Blanc from Dry Creek Valley cannot be beat. The Alexander Valley Cabernets can stand up against any other area, and the Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley is world-renowned.

At every winery, tasting room, or visitor spot you can pick up a free wine map, “Russian River Wine Road,”and it is by far and away the most useful wine road map we used. Someone has done a terrific job putting this informative and detailed map together. Along with the wineries, it lists lodging, restaurants, and blah

Finally in Healdsburg, there is a spirit and atmosphere we don’t find in the other wine town. It is hard to put your finger on what this, is but as you stroll the streets of Healdsburg there is a certain feeling that all is right in the world.