Situated at the gateway to Sonoma Valley, on the spot that was once home to the Jackpot Gas Station in the 1950s, is the new Sonoma Roadside. This quirky collection of local businesses includes a furniture store, a gift and antiques shop, a culinary garden, and of course, a wine-tasting room—all of which beckon locals and tourists alike to pull over and stay awhile.
Owner Craig Miller modeled Sonoma Roadside after the quintessential New England antiques shops that he visits annually to stock his Wine Country–chic furniture store, Harvest Home, which is chock-full of appealing and customizable sofas, coffee and side tables, bookcases, rugs, and more. A longtime staple on the Sonoma Plaza, Harvest Home relocated to Sonoma Roadside along with Miller’s second home decor business, Fat Pilgrim.
The two shops complement each other; Fat Pilgrim is more of a modern-day general store, offering thoughtful and eccentric gifts like bonnets for your cat and sarcastic greeting cards for your closest friends. The store also features its own line of soaps, lotions, preserves, and sauces, including a Zinfandel tri-tip marinade.
To complete the complex, Miller envisioned a wine-tasting room in the open space next door. After turning down proposals for everything from a dance school to a distillery, he finally found the right fit in The Rhône Room, another local venture from Sonoma culinary legend Sondra Bernstein of the Girl and the Fig.
This pairing was not a coincidence. Sonoma Roadside’s culinary garden supplies organic fruits and vegetables to Bernstein’s signature restaurant. The Farm, as she calls it, offers interactive activities, including tours, scavenger hunts, workshops, and chats with the chickens.
The Rhône Room is an extension of her 10-year wine venture, in which she partners with different winemakers to produce limited-production "Rhône-Alone" wines. By bucking the Sonoma standard of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, The Rhône Room seeks to educate and connect visitors with lesser-known varietals like Grenache, Viognier, or Cinsaut, which Bernstein learned to appreciate during time she spent in France as a young adult.
"I wanted to create an experience that’s a little different from the Wine Country experience you would typically have," says Bernstein.
"It was a long six years putting together the moving parts for the property," says Miller. "Finally adding The Rhône Room and the Girl and the Fig gardens rounded out what I feel is a multifaceted experience for both locals and tourists. We have a real farm-to-table, for-sale experience, with everything in between."
Harvest Home and Fat Pilgrim at Sonoma Roadside are open 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Mon.–Sat., and 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Sunday. The Rhône Room’s winter hours are Fri.–Sun., 12–5 p.m. sonomaroadside.com.