The Times Travel section spends 36 hours in Sonoma this week, and what do they find among the “low-key charms” in this downscale valley that lacks the “touristy trappings” of neighboring Napa? The new Francis Ford Coppola Winery in Geyserville, which, we must point out, is like a larger and (albeit handsome) more tourist-friendly version of the former Niebaum-Coppola estate in Napa, complete with a museum to Coppola’s filmmaking career, Don Corleone’s desk, a full library of DVDs for sale, free tastings, and the new full-service restaurant Rustic. The Times also notes newcomers Scribe Winery, Sondra Bernstein’s two-year-old restaurant Estate, and the quieter pleasures of the cocktail bar at the El Dorado Hotel.
But we should all take note that when Francis arrives in the neighborhood — especially with the family-friendly, drunken country club atmosphere that will come with the swimming pool and bocce ball courts out front — it may mark a shark-jump moment for the less trafficked Sonoma side of things. Build it, and they will come.