A SUNSHINE-FILLED SPIRIT: Sonoma County and wine tours are often written together in the very same sentence. (<-- Case in point.) And this is for a most excellent reason: There happen to be a number of notable vineyards that put devoted oenophiles up close with the grapes. But spirit showings continue to make a successful play for the learn-more-about-this-beverage market, and to that we say: There's a lot love to go around. And few spirits engender the love in particular, and limoncello is high up on the love list. Maybe that's due to the citrusy spirit's sunshiny palate. Maybe the distinctive bottles and whimsical labels have a way of eliciting happy reactions. But whatever the case, limoncello is a perennial favorite and special after-dinner sip (or before dinner, if you like, when it is still light out and you need that sunbeam-light flavor).
THERE'S A WAY... to learn more about the making of limoncello, and enjoy a hotel package, too. The Lodge at Sonoma has teamed up with Hello Cello on "a rare private tour of Sonoma's first and only post-Prohibition distillery." The package is called Sommelier Spirits Selections, and also includes a visit to the Lodge's own Bean & Bottle for "an in-depth tasting" of spirits produced around the region. Hophead Vodka is one such spirit, as is Sugar Daddy Rum and Hookers House Bourbon, and one of the restaurant's on-head experts'll lead you through the sips.
AS FOR REST? A cottage room at the lodge is on the plan. Everything starts at $309 for the night -- the stay-over, the Hello Cello tour, and the local spirits tasting -- and is available through Dec. 31, 2013. Oh, and one more tidbit? Fred Groth, the distiller at Hello Cello, will chat up all things limoncello -- and figcello, too -- during your tour. Wine buffs, you're not being displaced. Nope. But we're excited for the limoncello lovers out there. After all, it is a word rarely seen on in the beverage tour industry. Rare, tasty fun.