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Sonoma County’s Hidden Gems

Four in-the-know locals share insights about their favorite wineries, restaurants, shops, and neighborhoods

With more than 425 wineries located within its borders, Sonoma County is truly a dream destination for wine lovers. But as Soterios Johnson discovers during this episode of California Now, this wine region offers more than just great Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. Johnson’s first guest, Wine Road Executive Director Beth Costa, shares suggestions in and around the Alexander Valley viticultural area—with multiple recommendations in the towns of Healdsburg and Geyserville. Costa also points listeners toward five area wineries, each with its own distinctive style and approach to winemaking.

After that, Kyle and Katina Connaughton of the three-star Michelin restaurant Single Thread talk about some of their favorite local haunts in the northern half of Sonoma County. The husband-and-wife team—he’s the chef, she’s the farmer—discuss their mutual love for hiking in Armstrong Redwoods Natural State Reserve, buying baked goods in Freestone, and enjoying IPAs at Russian River Brewing Company’s massive brewpub in Windsor.

The episode concludes with a discussion of Petaluma, an up-and-coming town in the southwestern corner of Sonoma County. Sara Sass, owner of Boulevard Barbers, is an unofficial tour guide for this irresistible town and shares some tips and tricks for making the most of your next visit there.



Wine Road Executive Director Beth Costa takes listeners on a guided tour of the Alexander Valley wine region, with shout-outs to some of her favorite restaurants and wineries.

When Kyle and Katina Connaughton aren’t serving guests at their celebrated restaurant, Single Thread, they’re probably out enjoying some of the many attractions in Sonoma County.

Sara Sass is the owner of Boulevard Barbers in Petaluma, a great place to get a haircut and an even better place to hear the latest buzz about this charming town.

About the Host

Soterios Johnson, formerly the local host of National Public Radio’s Morning Edition on radio station WNYC, moved from New York City to Davis, Calif., in 2016 and is just getting to know his surroundings. By combining his journalistic instincts with his personal curiosity, Johnson will use the California Now platform to develop a deeper understanding of his adopted home.

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