Words by Irene Moore

The Farmhouse Inn combines the charm of a family-owned country inn with the hospitality of a Four-Diamond luxury boutique hotel. Owned by siblings Joe and Catherine Bartolomei, it’s situated on a scenic ten-acre property in the middle of Sonoma County’s world famous Russian River Valley. It’s consistently winnning awards—it is a Conde Nast Traveler 2108 Gold List recipient; in 2017, Conde Nast Traveler awarded it “#1 Best Hotel in Northern California.”


The Bartolomei family’s history in the Sonoma Valley dates back more than a hundred years through five generations. Joe and Catherine Bartolomei’s Italian immigrant great-grandparents, Domenic and Catherine Giovenetti, purchased a ranch in Sonoma in 1911 when their great-grandfather’s windfall in the hops market made his dream of owning a ranch a reality. Back then the family farmed hops, apples, pears and cattle. Today, the family still farms the same 220-acre ranch, but now pinot noir is their main crop.

In 2001, Catherine was the GM of a local Healdsburg winery, and her brother Joe, a structural engineer, had moved to the East Coast for employment. About three miles away from the Bartolomei ranch was a rundown bed and breakfast farmhouse inn built in 1837 that came up for sale. The location was ideal—right in the middle of Sonoma wine country. Catherine called her brother about the property, convinced him to to come back to the Sonoma Valley, and they bought the property in 2001.

They did a complete renovation of the Inn’s eight guest rooms, restaurant, grounds and spa area, leaving the clapboard exterior and big whitewashed porch intact. In 2015, they did a renovation that more than doubled the Inn’s size, building 17 new premium rooms and suites, a luxury spa with three treatment rooms, plus an outdoor couple’s retreat room, and redoing the pool and grounds.


Joe and Catherine have always been committed to keeping Sonoma life as authentic as possible. Their quest at the Farmhouse Inn is to provide a singular Sonoma experience, a respite from the frenzy of everyday life, providing a relaxing wine country vacation. Through their love for the property, the Inn has been transformed from an under-performing B&B to one of the most awarded and highest rated hotels in the world. In addition to Conde Nast Traveler, it’s been featured in national and international media such as Michelin, Travel and Leisure, Town and Country Travel, Bon Appetit, Departures, Zagat, Afar, The San Francisco Chronicle and many others. 

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