Romance in Sonoma: A Perfect Proposition

So you’re thinking of getting engaged?

After years of first dates, torrid affairs, one-night stands, false romantic starts and broken hearts, you’ve finally found the guy who makes you want sing at the top of your lungs, drop down on one knee and beg the question, ‘Will you marry me?’. Great. But now the question becomes where to make the big proposal and how.  Few places in the contiguous United States, or, dare I say, the world, deliver romance on as grand a scale as Sonoma County, and even fewer do so with the velvet touch of a luxurious BeautifulPlaces villa in Wine Country.

What could set a more romantic scene for the proposal of a lifetime better than a cozy villa tucked into an 80-acre vineyard estate possessed of a private lake, a gravel beach and its own windmill? Or what about a poolside white pergola set among towering Redwoods in the shadows of a classic Neocolonial home plunked down in a sea of green lawns and more than 250 rosebushes? Better yet, how does a secluded tree house with unobstructed views of densely forested hills and its own private pool strike you as the ideal backdrop to declare your undying devotion to your beloved? All of these experiences and more are on tap at Sonoma’s BeautifulPlaces, an award-winning luxury villa resource based in Sonoma, CA.

Not only can BeautifulPlaces provide the perfect engagement setting, they can also sprinkle it with fairy dust. Through flourishes ranging from gestures as dramatic as arranging private chefs to prepare romantic candlelit dinners, organizing musicians for intimate serenades or scheduling private in-villa massages to more practical items as simple as stocking your rented villa with all the fixings you’ll need to prepare your guy’s favorite meal, having your favorite Champagne chilling upon arrival or making a reservation pour deux at one of Sonoma’s many charming and notable restaurants, BeautifulPlaces is more than well-versed in the art of turning the already extraordinary into the spectacular. That said, while BeautifulPlaces offers an array of almost turnkey options for making the perfect proposition, Sonoma County itself offers even more.

“There are almost as many romantic spots in Sonoma County as there are couples who visit,” explains Suzy Montes, sales and services manager at Sonoma County Tourism, who handles wedding requests. “Some areas, though, are undeniably perfect for a proposal.”

Among those “perfect” places, locals like concierge Ramon Meraz most highly recommend settings that highlight the natural splendor of Sonoma as the ideal backdrop for a dream proposal. “For about a decade I have found several special spots in Sonoma County that are beautiful…but none has had the response that Rivers End has had,” says Meraz of the popular local restaurant perched on a bluff overlooking the Russian River. “The spot there is like no other on earth when it comes to witnessing a glorious Northern California sunset (www.Ilovesunsets.com).”

Likewise, Charles Kimball, the founder/owner of GayCaliforniaWeddings.net, also suggests turning to nature for a hand in popping the question in Sonoma. “Take the windy three mile drive up to the top of Armstrong Woods State to Bull Frog Pond,” he recommends. “[At] 1,200 feet above the towering redwoods…the views to the great Pacific are amazing.” Alternatively Kimball also suggests making the big ask on the banks of the Russian River with a bottle of Champagne following a leisurely kayaking expedition or stealing away to Goat Rock Beach on the coast for a romantic stroll.

Nature aside, there is no denying the aphrodisiacal qualities of wine of which Sonoma is obviously not in short supply. But it’s not just the wine that can set the right tone for your proposal, its source can also go a long way toward creating a picture-perfect mood.

"The Kunde’s Mountain Top Tasting is one of the best vineyard tours in Sonoma,” offers Mark Vogler, co-founder/owner of Out in the Vineyard, a Sonoma-based experiential Wine Country event and travel company promoting positive LGBT lifestyles. “Visitors are taken out in the vineyard, up to the top of the estate, located at 1,400 feet, for winetasting and spectacular views of Sonoma Valley and beyond. On a clear day, the views extend all the way to the San Francisco Bay to the south and past Santa Rosa, to the Western Hills of Sonoma County to the north. The views are stunning by themselves, but put a glass of wine in hand: Sublime.”

Out in the Vineyard co-founder/owner, Gary Saperstein, concurs with his business partner about the romance of wineries but offers some additional ideas. “Two of my favorite wineries in which to share that most romantic moment are Hanzell Vineyards and Paradise Ridge,” says Saperstein.  “Hanzell Vineyards is located in the Mayacamas Mountain Range and has one of the most spectacular settings in Wine Country…[while]… Paradise Ridge Winery located on a 150-acre estate in the hills of Santa Rosa offers some spectacular views to enjoy while sipping some delectable wines.”

In short, no matter what your romantic fantasy, Sonoma delivers the perfect romantic storm. With its world-class wines, natural assets, memorable sunsets, stunning vistas, jaw-dropping accommodations, and cozy restaurants – what’s not to love? Say ‘yes’ to Sonoma and I’m pretty sure he’ll say ‘yes’ to you.

For a chance to win a  3-day/night stay in Sonoma in your very own luxury villa—complete with wine tastings, romantic meals, hot air balloon ride and more – enter the Instinct Magazine and Beautiful Places ‘Pop The Question” Contest. For more details, click here!