See More Of California Than The Coast -- Head For Wine Country

The idea of cruising the highways of California in an open-top car is certainly appealing. If you find yourself in San Francisco with a couple of days to spare, eschew the much-travelled coastal route and take a road trip inland. Head north, into Sonoma County, home to some of California's most impressive wines and equally impressive countryside. Here's FashionWeek's guide to getting the most out of your trip.

01 HIT THE ROAD IN STYLE

Make the most of the sunny climate and hire an open-top car. Driven Image Car Hire has a wide range of sports cars at its San Francisco office. Pick up a Chevrolet Corvette for around $250 a day or splash out on a Ferrari 360 Modena for $1,299 a day. The car will be delivered to your hotel and you can drop it off at the airport when you're done. Prices include 100 free miles and mileage is charged at $1-2 thereafter. www.drivenimage.com

02 EXPLORE THE REGION

Just 60 miles out of San Francisco, the town of Healdsburg is a great base from which to explore Sonoma. Situated just north of Santa Rosa and on the edge of the Russian River Valley, Healdsburg is flanked by mountains and miles of forestlands. To get there, follow Highway 101 north out of San Francisco, over the Golden Gate Bridge until you reach the signs for Central Healdsburg. www.sonomavalley.com

03 RELAX IN TRANQUIL SURROUNDINGS

The luxurious Hotel Healdsburg has just 55 rooms and suites set amongst country gardens and fruit trees. It is also home to a fantastic spa offering a wide range of relaxation and rejuvenation treatments, and the Dry Creek Kitchen restaurant, owned by one of New York's most highly regarded chefs, Charlie Palmer. It boasts a fantastic wine list featuring wines from all over Sonoma. www.hotelhealdsburg.com

04 ENJOY BREATHTAKING VIEWS

What better way to view the amazing California countryside than to look down on it from a hot air balloon at the crack of dawn. Aerostat Adventures will take you into the heart of the winelands and then take you straight up into the air for a tour of the region, followed by a Champagne brunch. www.aerostat-adventures.com

05 TASTE SOME WINE

Wine tasting should feature heavily on any trip to California. One of the newest - and best - wine tours is run by E&J Gallo. This is an opportunity to taste some of their most special wines, such as the Gallo of Sonoma range. As well as a tasting, it includes an in-depth tour of the renowned Barrelli Creek Vineyard, where you will learn about winemaking philosophy. Tours available daily, $50 per person. www.gallosonoma.com

By Katie O'Neill

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