Beyond Wine: Craft Breweries of Sonoma

When visiting Mayacama in the heart of California Wine Country, it’s natural to gravitate towards drinking wine. While vacationing amidst this luxury real estate in Sonoma, it’s also worth exploring some of the nation’s best breweries. A number of fantastic breweries and brewpubs are just a short meander from the lovely Sonoma fractional ownership resort at Mayacama and each is well worth a visit for novices and hopheads alike.

Russian River Brewing Company – While the space is unassuming, some consider this brewery to be the best in America. They are undoubtedly one of the most creative, with an emphasis on experimentation. You’ll find sour and wild ales, the famous Pliny The Elder Double IPA, and a number of artful takes on Belgian Ales. Go for the sampler – the ridiculous paddle board of mini-glasses will keep you busy for hours. (Note: the food here is standard pub fare – eat before arrival if you’re looking for upscale grub.)

Lagunitas Taproom – Lagunitas has developed a national reputation for both quality and fair pricing, especially with their pale ales. There is food here, but it is limited to sandwiches, salads, and snacks. We suggest the Dogtown pale, the IPA, and the cappuccino stout for newcomers. You can also find live music at the taproom. Note: closed Monday and Tuesday.

Hopmonk Tavern – This mini-chain of brewpubs can be found in Sonoma, Novato, and Sepastopol. They combine a small selection of house-made brews (including their hoppy Kellerbier) with a selection of West Coast favorites. There are open mic nights, they offer live music most evenings, and you’ll discover a pleasant vibe on the premises.

Bear Republic Brewing – Located in the wine mecca of Healdsburg, this neighborhood pub brews both the famous Racer 5 IPA and Hop Rod Rye, along with some excellent stouts. After a day of wine touring, a blast of hops is a nice change of pace for the palate! You’ll also find a selection of cheeses, charcuterie, and burgers to complement your brews.

Fogbelt Brewing – The new kids in town, Fogbelt Brewing, are quickly developing into the next big thing. The brewery’s offering use California hops exclusively. A small menu (utilizing some local sourcing) is available that includes panini and grilled sausages.

To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at

A Conversation with Our Wine Director

They’re down a dirt road, tucked up against the shores of a crystal-clear creek. They’re balanced on a steep ridge overlooking the valley. They’re draped along a hillside at dusk, allowing their vines of deep black fruit one last touch of a cooling breeze.

Vintner Members of Mayacama’s Vintner Program span the grape-growing countryside around the Sonoma Valley. They come to this special spot not only to make and share their wines, but also to share in the lifestyle of so many Members and guests whose tastes resonate in the same way.

Jeff McCarthy with Mike Gargus, Mayacama’s Assistant Wine Director.

Jeff McCarthy with Mike Gargus, Mayacama’s Assistant Wine Director.

As the rare and special vintages that pour here at Mayacama have helped make a name for our property among wine lovers, so has Jeff McCarthy, our wine director, contributed so many great moments to our experience of what’s in a glass.

With the best weeks of summer still stretching before us, McCarthy paused during a busy schedule to talk a bit of wine, and what’s upcoming for Vintner Program participants.

Mayacama: Who are some of the newest Vintner Members to join the program?

McCarthy: In the past year, we have added Alysian, Benovia, Walter Hansel, and Wren Hop to our Vintner Family. Each winery not only brings great wine to the program, but the Vintner Members themselves are a great addition to our club. They all actively participate in our programs and are available to our members.

MYA: What are some of the most notable upcoming points in the Vintner Program — dates we should add to our calendars for the second half of 2014?

McCarthy: We are looking to expand wine education, as well as add some creative food and wine events. We will continue with our First Friday tastings, Winemaker Dinners, and the Fall Release Party, but also schedule some mid-month complimentary tastings. This time, we’re focusing on specific varietals, their components and flavor components. Also, look for us to host a Cigar-B-Que, an Oktoberfest event, and our own personal tomato festival at the KJ Culinary Center. We have also invited food professionals from a chocolatier and salumi shop, to explore how they pair with wine. A field trip or two are also in the final planning stages.

MYA: With so many ways to experience wine at Mayacama, how do you balance the Vintner’s Program schedule so that it best represents a range of selections from the area? 

McCarthy: If I only brought in the wines that I like to drink, the list would be pretty one-dimensional. I try and bring in wines that represent as many different wine-making styles and flavor profiles as possible, as well as different terroir. [Terroir being the environmental conditions, especially soil and climate, in which grapes are grown and that give a wine its unique flavor and aroma.] A great quaffing wine might not be the best food wine — yet our guests drink wine before their meal, as well as with their meal. Finding the right wine for the meal is a wonderful challenge. I also believe that listening to our members is extremely important. I hear what they are saying, note their preferences, and ask for their feedback. When I know what a member likes, I can bring in other wines they will enjoy and that will expand their wine experience.

With the robust schedule McCarthy manages and exciting new partnerships in the pipeline, the Vintner Program is ever-evolving. There’s no better time to enjoy membership at Mayacama with invitations to McCarthy’s wine events, access to special wine orders and more!


To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at

On the Road to Mayacama | Blog

On the Road to Mayacama

Enjoying the freedom of the open road is a priceless luxury. And what better place to savor exquisite ocean views and fascinating pieces of history than cruising the California coast? While preparing for your visit to the Sonoma private residence club Mayacama, build an extra day or two into your itinerary to leisurely make the drive north from San Diego to your private luxury vacation home. Explore these four stops along the way, and you’ll come away with a whole new understanding of the phrase “stop and smell the roses.” Grab a map and put your sunglasses on — may we suggest renting a convertible to get the full effect?


Stop 1: Santa Monica Pier

The ramp at the intersection of Ocean and Colorado in Santa Monica will lead you directly to the historic Santa Monica Pier, first built in 1909 and now open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round. Health-conscious early birds can join in on the free Saturday morning Run + Yoga classes the pier offers on Saturdays at 8 a.m. Be sure to peek at the Pier’s famous 1922 carousel — you can hop on for a ride when it opens at noon. Another fine option: Simply relax on the beach, gaze at the expansive views of the Pacific Ocean, and watch the dedicated fishermen try to reel in a prize mackerel.


Stop 2: Lunch at San Ysidro Ranch

Come midday, take advantage of the rustic fine-dining experience that the Stonehouse at San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara presents. Originally a 19th-century citrus-packing house, Stonehouse offers outdoor dining on an ocean-view deck; indoors, a wood-burning fireplace and soaring wood beams impart a cozy lodge-like atmosphere. As for the cuisine, locavores will appreciate the origin of the menu’s herbs and vegetables: All are grown in the restaurant’s organic gardens. For lunch, sample the three-course market menu, which includes selections like a local wild mushroom risotto with organic pea shoots and oven-roasted tomatoes. On weekends, a champagne brunch is served, with entrees like the grilled prime Wagyu hanger steak, ready and waiting to be washed down with a glass of bubbly.


Stop 3: Hearst Castle

Once you’re in San Simeon, turn right on San Simeon Road and step into a real-life fairytale with a guided tour of the Hearst Castle, the brainchild and estate of newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Completed in 1947, the castle boasts 165 opulent rooms (including a movie theater and a giant dining hall) built on 127 impeccably landscaped acres (think: vivid pink bougainvillea, a massive outdoor pool, and an airport), all intended to showcase Hearst’s vast collection of art. The eclectic works are still on view, ranging from a 3rd-century Roman mosaic to an exquisite 19th-century Tiffany lamp. Come for the tour, but stay for the view: “The Enchanted Hill” overlooks California’s rugged Central Coast and the Pacific Ocean.


Stop 4: San Jose Rose Garden

Farther north, the San Jose Municipal Rose Garden is a true vacation for the senses (especially the olfactory system), with 4,000 rose shrubs that showcase 189 rose varieties. Stroll through the grounds and past the reflection pool and two-tiered water fountain while taking in the color and scent of eye-popping blooms surrounded by California redwoods. Grab a brochure to track which roses are planted where — and appreciate the wacky variety names, like Voo Doo and Olé.


Destination: Mayacama

Pleasure awaits after a full day of exploring the California coast. Once you’ve reached Mayacama, the only decision you have to make is which relaxing activity you’ll indulge in first. Hit the links on Mayacama’s immaculate 6,761-acre golf course; choose a spa treatment to unwind from the drive, like the Mayacama Signature Massage, designed to soothe tired muscles; sip a glass of cabernet sauvignon, poured from a bottle retrieved from your private wine locker; or make a dinner reservation to feast on Chef Scott Pikey’s seasonal selections, like clam fettuccine or the bacon-wrapped veal loin. Enjoy.


To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at

Wildflowers in Sonoma

If you judge a season by its blooms, spring is an early visitor in Sonoma County this year. Scarce winter rains and warm temps settled in ahead of schedule, and so the parks of this lush wine country are already awash in color.

Bottom line, Owners and guests at Mayacama are in the midst of a glorious moment. From the front door of Mayacama’s luxury fractional homes they’re only moments from the heart of this region’s green spaces, and the options for wildflowers are everywhere.

For a guide to how to see spring, this year, let’s turn to the experts who are out on the trails.

Spring Surprises: 2014 in Sonoma County

A drier than usual winter in Northern California means unexpected pleasures along the paths that wind the fields, waterfronts, and woods of Sonoma.

The grasses and non-native vegetation that can crowd wildflowers — park experts think there will be fewer of them this year. That means a chance to see more flowers, and to see certain kinds of blooms that might otherwise have been hidden in years prior.

“Whatever happens, this will be an interesting year,” writes Phil Dean, master gardener, on the Sonoma County Wildflowers blog. “You’ll see things you’ve never before seen. I can’t predict exactly what that will be but you’ll notice different plants and I encourage you to get out and see them.”

And, this year, what you do find — from the indigo hues of grape-scented Blue Sky Lupines to the tender yellow of Sun Cups — these are plants that have proven their hardiness during a drought. There’s a home-gardening tip packed into that phenomenon.

“The nice ones you see surviving well are probably the ones you’ll want to shop for at your local native plant store,” Dean writes. “These are plants that don’t use irrigation [or] need a lot of extra water.”

Seeing Color: A Collection of Guided Walks

So, how do you get to all this beauty? Try a tour with the experts at Sonoma County Regional Parks. The schedule and topics for this spring’s series of free guided hikes is as follows — and there’s more information at their calendar page (once on the site, you can use the provided menu filter to select Wildflower Walks).

What better way to spend a sunny afternoon than to lose oneself in a world of natural wonders — all part of the riches for which this grape-graced landscape is known? And, as always, if you have any questions about transportation or coordinating a walk with the parks department, just talk to your Mayacama concierge.

To learn more about membership opportunities at Mayacama, please contact us at 866.393.1819 (toll free) or 707.569.2950 (direct) or via email at