8 Tips For Starting Your Business

Geyserville Road Trip

Geyserville Weekend Road Trip

Print your PDF Itinerary HERE
Geyserville Weekend Road Trip_PDF

Take in the views on horseback at the Ranch at Lake Sonoma.

Just about everyone could use a Road Trip about now.  Geyserville is the perfect destination for a quick one or two-day trip to wine country.

If you want to plan your trip an overnight stay, both the Geyserville Inn and the Hope-Merrill Bed & Breakfast Inn in Geyserville are great places to stay.  There are also several excellent places to dine
in town.

The newest business in town is Corner Project Ales and Eats.  In addition to craft brews, they offer locally sourced sandwiches and snacks–many start out spending some time on their smoker/grill.  Geyserville Coffee can mix up a variety of specialty coffee drinks to give you that java jolt for your big day.  They also offer sandwiches, pastries and sweets.  If you’re looking for something a little more substantial, try the Americana offerings of Geyserville Grille, the great Italian family recipes at Catelli’s, or the gourmet pizza and special dishes with a European flair, or a gourmet burger, all at Diavola Pizzeria and Salumeria.  All of these locations offer patio seating.

Back to the Road Trip.  You can start your Alexander Valley wine tour just across the bridge on Highway 128 at Zialena Winery.  They have a beautiful outdoor patio seating area with views of the hills and vineyards that pair beautifully with their amazing wines.  Travel just a bit south on Highway 128 and you can visit de Lorimier Winery.  This is one winery in the vast holdings of Wilson Artisan Wines.  They also have a wonderful outdoor seating area, and you can usually reserve a special food tasting to go with your wine tasting—call ahead to find out what is available.  Take a leisurely drive south through the valley to Geysers Road, then Red Winery Road, to visit Robert Young Estate Winery.  Their Scion House hospitality center has an outdoor patio area with spectacular views to the west of the entire Alexander Valley.
Just a few minutes south back onto Highway 128 will take you to Alexander Valley Vineyards.  This is another family owned winery with a long history in Sonoma County and amazing wines.  Go back towards town by driving across the Russian River on Alexander Valley Road.  Head north on Geyserville Avenue to visit Francis Ford Coppola’s winery on the west side of the freeway.  They offer a gorgeous pool for swimming, and you can taste their wines and dine at their restaurant, and perhaps view the famed director’s movie memorabilia. Indoor service may not have resumed, but patio and poolside dining and tastings are available.








Above:  Corner Project Ales & Eats sign, Meat Pie and Coffee from Geyserville
Coffee Company and fresh-picked veggies and fruit from Dry Creek Peach
& Produce

Proceed north again on Geyserville Avenue to visit Trentadue Winery and Trione Winery.  Trentadue has a beautiful arbor covered area for tastings, and Trione has outdoor seating and bocce courts.  Both regularly offer special pairings with their wine, so be sure to call to check availability.  As you head back into town via Geyserville Avenue, be sure to stop at the Sculpture Trail lot at the south end of town to get up-close and personal with this amazing                                                   collection of outdoor artwork that changes yearly. 

If you choose to stay in town for the day, you can actually walk or bike your way through Geyserville.  The entire town is only 2 miles from north to south along Geyserville Avenue.



Check out the great red, white, and rose wines offered in both valleys.
Pictured here are Ferrari-Carano, Zialena, and J. Rickards.

There are five tasting rooms in town:  Pech Merle, Mercury, Ramazzotti, Locals Tasting Room, and Meeker.  If you’d like
to venture just a bit farther, Virginia Dare, just renamed Coppola Too, and J. Rickards Winery are on Chianti Road ofCanyon Road just north of town on the west side of the freeway.  While you’re wandering around town, you’ll want to check out the Bosworth & Son store, with western wear and plenty of hats, gifts, jewelry, and kids stuff, plus a surprise–the Geyserville Museum is housed in the back end of the store.  If you didn’t stop in and taste at Locals Tasting Room, you may want to stop to check out their vintage fashion offerings.  Next door you’ll find Gin’Gilli’s Vintage home with an eclectic collection of different vendor booths with everything from decor  and antiques, to candles, signs, jewelry, and artwork.

Another option is to spend the day in Dry Creek Valley.  If you missed Virginia Dare (Coppola Too) and J. Rickards Winery, you can start there.  Then proceed west on Canyon Road to Pedroncelli Winery.  They are a family owned and operated winery with great wine at great prices.  They are also one of the oldest bonded wineries in Sonoma County.  Head down Canyon Road and turn left on Dry Creek Road.  Go south to visit Truett-Hurst Winery, known for their sustainable growing methods and their creekside seating area.  Just a bit further south is Forchini Winery.  This is another of the area’s family-owned and operated wineries with unmatched hospitality and wonderful wines. Now you can head back north and take a left on Yoakim Bridge Road.  Take a break from wine tasting with a quick visit to Dry Creek Peach & Produce.  This is one of the few remaining independent farms in the Valley with delicious organically grown peaches and stone-fruits, as well as seasonal veggies, jams, and the best Peach Bellini mix!  If you continue west on Yoakim Bridge Road and turn right on West Dry Creek.  Cross the bridge and proceed down the long gravel driveway to Preston Farm & Vineyards.  They are another organic farm in the valley, but they were known first for their wines.  You may be able to arrange a farm tour, and if you’re lucky, you may be able to try owner Lou Preston’s famous sourdough.  You’ll get to say ‘hi” to some of their colony of feral cats, too.











Above:  Gin’Gilli’s Vintage Home has amazing displays; Bosworth’s has gifts,
plus hats and hat services, and a museum at the back; Locals Tasting Room
has wine tasting, and vintage fashion items.

As you head back toward Dry Creek Road, take a left to head north to Dutcher Crossing Winery and Ferrari-Carano Winery.  Both offer outdoor tastings of locally grown and produced wines.  Ferrari-Carano has several special tasting experiences to offer, as well as a wonderful botanical garden that you can visit on your way to their tasting room patio.

Head north again to visit the Lake Sonoma Visitors center with interpretive displays of the area’s history and wildlife, then head up the hill to the Ranch at Lake Sonoma for a horseback ride.  The ranch offers group trail rides–the perfect way to social distance and experience the outdoors–with spectacular views of the Lake.

In my experience, four to five winery stops is about the right number for one day, and may require an afternoon nap, so plan accordingly.  If you can’t work it all into your one or two-day visit, don’t worry.  We don’t mind if you need to plan another trip.  We’d love to have you back for another Road Trip visit!






8 Tips For Starting Your Business

1 - Get Assistance and Training

Small Business Development Center at SRJC offers one-on-one, no-cost professional consulting in business planning, loans and financing, marketing, taxes and bookkeeping. Call (707) 524-1770.

Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), counselors to America’s small business, is a nonprofit association dedicated to providing entrepreneurs with free, confidential face-to-face and email business consulting. Call (707) 571-8342.

3 - Financing Your Business

Find out which financing options are best for you – business loans, research and development grants, venture capital, or other options!  Here are a few guides:
Government grants
Seed and venture capital financing

5 - Legal Structure of Your Business

Decide whether you are going to form a sole proprietorship, partnership, LLC, corporation, non-profit or cooperative. SBA’s guide on determining business structure is a good resource.

If you will be starting a corporation or a limited liability company, you must contact the California Secretary of State’s Office and they will supply you with all the information and forms that are necessary.  It is optional for general partnerships to file with the Secretary of State and sole proprietorships are not required to file. Legal Zoom is also a great resource

7 - Get Your Federal And State Tax ID

All new businesses employing one or more persons must apply for a State Employer’s Identification Number. Contact the State’s Employment Development Department

You’ll also need a Federal Identification Number if you’re employing one or more persons. Contact the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Business Tax Line at (800) 829-1040

2 - Do Research and Develop a Business Plan

A well-written business plan is critical to starting and running a business. Business plans are generally required when applying for business loans and seeking investors, but are also essential in estimating costs and evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your proposal.
Here are just a few of the many business planning resources available –

SCORE business plan templates
SBA’s business plan guide

4 - Determine Your Business Location

Depending on your business, location is a very important thing to consider. Even a home businesses can benefit from a good location.

6 - Name Your Business

If you will be using a fictitious name for your business (a name other than your personal legal name), you will need to check with the County Clerk to be sure no one else is using that name before completing a Fictitious Business Name Statement.

The Sonoma County Clerk is located in Santa Rosa at 2300 County Center Drive, Suite B-177. You may also call the County Clerk’s office at (707) 565-3800.

8 - Find Out Your Responsibilities As An Employer

There are a number of legal steps you will need to follow before your business hires employees.  Here is a guide to this process.