And Most Importantly Have Fun
Once you have everything planned out, just relax and enjoy the educational experience that is Sonoma. On your Sonoma wine tasting weekend youll be in idyllic settings sipping world-class wines with the people you love most. This is life at its finest!
If youre feeling intimidated, take a deep breath. Wine tastings arent only for experienced connessoiurs. Many people who plan a Sonoma wine tasting weekend are still wondering how does a wine tasting work? And if thats you, we have an entire post on how to taste wine with your name on it!
Sonoma wineries are thrilled to welcome visitors who are just starting their wine discovery journey and are happy to teach you all about their wines and winemaking practices. Feel free to ask your host as many wine tasting questions as you want!
But before you decide on any wineries, its time to ask yourself some questions to narrow down the best wine tasting rooms for your Sonoma wine tasting weekend.
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Amazing Wineries In Sonoma For Wine Tasting
Sonoma County is one of the premier destinations for wine in the region. The county holds over 250 wineries, and the area is known for the vineyards and delicious tasting wine opportunities. While Sonoma doesnt sit on the PCH, it is a great destination to head into to explore California a little more and enjoy this special part of the state. Whether youre a wine lover or just starting in the wine world, the area has a little bit of something for everyone, so read on to find out everything about the best wineries in Sonoma.
Always remember to double-check dates, opening times, and weather conditions before traveling.
Garden Creek Vineyards In Geyserville
Youll feel like family when you visit Garden Creek Vineyards on your Sonoma wine tasting tour. This family-run winery offers appointment-only tastings limited to parties of six guests or fewer. And thats the only way anyone gets to taste their exclusive wines. A private tasting at Garden Creek Vineyards starts with a walk through the property. Youll learn all about the organic and sustainable vineyards where the owners grew up in the 1960s. And then youll get to sip the wine that come from the same land.Taste aged Tesserae, Scheurebe, and Chardonnay by candlelight in the barrel room and get to know the incredible couple behind these succulent wines.
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Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards
Founded in 1986 by the Ferrer family , Gloria Ferrer was the first sparkling wine house in Sonoma, established to fulfill the familys dream of producing traditional method sparkling wine in America. Today, this winery just south of downtown Sonoma is a popular destination for glasses or flights of sparkling wine and estate varietal wine, best enjoyed from the outdoor terrace. For a glimpse into Gloria Ferrers history and the sparkling wine process, join one of the daily tours , or choose from the list of elevated experiences, such as the 90-minute Bubbles & Bites or the 60-minute Glassware Exploration.
Not really into sparkling wine? No problem. The winerys Red Wines & Perfect Pairings experience focuses on red wine styles from California, Spain, and Australia, to help guests learn the different characteristics of each style and region. Pairings are also part of this one-hour exploration, to help show the versatility of each wine with food.
Sonoma Wine That Delights Your Senses
Since smell is a huge part of the wine tasting experience, you dont want any scents competing for your attention. So please skip the perfume or cologne. Lipstick or flavored lip balms can also interfere. You may also wish to avoid coffee, breath mints and smoking right before your tasting, as these can mask flavors as well.
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Tour Our Winery And Live The Dream In Sonoma
As we move through our Sebastopol hills wines, we invite you to taste the nuances in the aroma and flavor of our Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blanc, Gerwuztraminer, and Dry White Zinfandel. Well also explore the benefit of pairing food and wine to lift and enhance your experience – and transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
Flavor is an amazing thing. It can evoke emotions and memories – and well help to create new memories on this exclusive Sonoma wine tasting journey.
Sonoma Wine Tour By Bicycle
Up first on our visit?
A Sip N Cycle tour with Getaway Adventures up the long finger of Sonomas bucolic Dry Creek Valley where the sunbaked hills are reminiscent of Provence or Tuscany.
Do we prefer bike intensive or wine intensive?
We opt for wine intensive.
So on our ten-mile pedal on quiet country roads, we stop often.
In red-earth vineyards, our guide explains how the small bonsai-style tree vines which produce the rich jammy Zinfandel wines for which Dry Creek is famous are from 30 to 100 years old.
Theyll yield fewer grapes than young vines, but the wine will be finer and more focused.
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Cheese And Wine Tasting In Russian River Valley
To indulge in all things Sonoma, add a local-cheese board to a tasting of the winerys bubblies, rosés, chardonnays, pinot noirs and Rhone-style blends. Bread from Healdsburgs Costeaux French Bakery accompany the cheeses. $35 per plate, serves two.
The Estate Tour & Tasting and the Taste of France Experience at Jean-Charles Boissets Russian River Valley winery, pairs cheeses with estate-grown chardonnays and pinot noirs, and in some cases, their French counterparts. $50 for each experience.
Hanzell Vineyards Sonoma Winery
- Why we chose it: Hanzell Vineyards has one of the best vineyard tours in the region, and the passion of the staff is contagious.
- Who its for: Those looking to learn a little extra about winemaking while being greeted by some truly adorable animals.
Hanzell Vineyard was founded by James D. Zellerbach 1953 with the hopes of creating wines that could compete on the world stage. We would say hes done it the vineyard produces truly exceptional wines. But its not just the wine that makes Hanzell stand out. Its the people. Every staff member is passionate about winemaking, and super informative about the process. Your personalized and intimate tour will teach you all about the biodynamic farming, geography of the landscape, and history of the caves. At Hanzell, they practice Holistic Integrated Farming which makes use of natural nutrient cycles and helps reduce their carbon footprint. They hope to one day be 100% self-sustained, but in the meantime, any material brought in must be ethical and Certified Organic. And, while you tour the fascinating property, you may just meet sheep, chickens, deer, baby piglets, Edsel the cat, or Scout and Radley the Maremma Livestock Guardian Dogs. The animals are all SO sweet and friendly, and can only add joy to your visit.
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Virtual Wine Tasting Salons
Connect with us online!
Experience the best virtual wine tasting in Sonoma County – from the comfort of your home. A virtual wine tasting with Halleck Vineyard is educational, interactive, and incredibly entertaining.
Invite our vintner, Ross Halleck, for an online wine tasting at your convenience through Zoom. We also host exclusive virtual wine tasting with special guests like signer-songwriter Josh Groban.
Best Wineries With Tours
Generally, all the wineries have tours but lets look at the wineries with the best wine, winemaking, and vineyard tours.
Buena Vista Winery: Explore the delights of this historic winery. Your tour will begin with a stroll through the beautiful grounds, followed by a journey through the renovated Champagne Cellar. Then you will be taken back to 1857 and have a tour of their history from the beginning until the present day while you enjoy a flight of Buena Vista current release wines. Next, you will step into the caves of Buena Vista to sample wine taken directly from a barrel.
St. Francis Winery and Vineyards: Here you can have an alternative experience of the winery and vineyards. It is a one-of-a-kind vineyard tour & wine tasting excursion that takes you through the heart of the Wild Oak Estate Vineyard. Climb aboard the fully sustainable, pedal-powered tasting trolley and embark on this fun and informative roving wine tasting. You can learn about the history, viticulture, and production practices through this tour while you sip wines amongst the vines.
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Our Sebastopol Estate Winery Tasting Room
How do I get into the gate when I arrive at the estate winery?
Make sure you are at our black wrought iron gate. It has a wire deer fence with wood posts on both sides to keep deer out of our Pinot Noir vineyard. The keypad is on the 2nd wood post to the left of the gate. Call the phone number printed above the keypad. We will open the gate for you. The gate stays closed, so the deer don’t eat our grapes or vines.
How long does your wine tasting experience last?
It’s a 90-minute Sebastopol wine tasting experience. You will be served 8 different wines, each of which are paired with a bite size delectable food pairing. And each Sonoma County wine varietal is presented with an explanation of where the fruit was grown and how it was made.
Where do we park?
We are a small production Sonoma winery. We have parking for cars, SUVs and vans, but not for limos or buses. If you are arriving in a limo or bus, please have them drop you off at the gate on Burnside Road. Our driveway will not accommodate larger vehicles. Please park buses or limos by our gate on Burnside Rd. leaving enough room for cars to pass and walk down the driveway. If you have a smaller car and there’s no room in the driveway, park on the dirt road in front of our estate winery, beside the sign like this:
One of us doesnt drink. Can they still come?
How large a group can we bring?
Are your wine tastings gluten free?
Are your wine tastings lactose free?
Are children allowed?
Are dogs allowed?
Get The Most Out Of Your Sonoma County Wine Tour
Thats our short list of the best wineries in Napa Valley and Sonoma County. Pick the ones that caught your eye and plan your dream trip.Lucky for you, these wineries are all close to each other. So you can pick and choose your favorites to create an unforgettable road trip throughout wine country. What are you waiting for? From creekside getaways with a view and luxury locales to pet-friendly estates and award-winning, family-run operations, the best wineries in Sonoma County await!
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Stone Edge Farm Estate Winery
- Address: 21692 8th St E #110
For those who love a good Cabernet Sauvignon, head into Stone Edge Farm Estate, considered among the best wineries in Sonoma. Here you can grab a glass of their premium wine and simply chill.
They are open Wednesday through Saturday by appointment only, but once youre in, there will be an unforgettable experience. The winery is inspired by old-world hospitality and offers artisan food to pair perfectly with their wines.
Napa And Sonoma Wineries To Visit: 15 Of The Best
While Napa Valley, home to some of the most famous names in California, has long enjoyed a reputation for stellar wine experiences, Sonoma Valley is finally getting a share of the spotlight it deserves.
With both regions located less than two hours drive north of San Francisco , wine lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to picturesque vineyard views, five-star dining options and unforgettable wine activities.
Generally, Napa Valley is seen as offering more of a luxurious getaway, with some spectacular, well-established wineries as well as high-end hotels and restaurants , while Sonoma Valley is more laid back and rustic, with smaller, family-run estates and casual tastings led by younger winemakers.
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Planning Your Next Trip
See the following helpful services:
Our Travel Resources Guide | Get airline booking tips. Discover great travel and tour companies. And find crazy useful trip planning info!
Booking.com | Score a wow hotel or at least a decent one.
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Best Small Group Tour: Northern Sonoma Small Group Wine Tour
Professional wine educators are the tour guides for this full-day, small-group tour that visits four diverse wineries in Northern Sonoma, from major producers to boutique farms. Youll see vineyards, production rooms and have plenty of opportunity for tasting. With the tour size capped at ten, personal attention from your guide is ensured. The tour stops for lunch in quaint Healdsburg, where guests can have their pick of restaurants, bistros and picnic suppliers . Pickup and drop-off can be arranged from most Sonoma County hotels in advance.
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Halleck Vineyard Wine Tasting Salons
To provide the best experience possible for you, our Estate Wine Tasting in Sonoma County is offered by appointment only. Your VIP experience costs $65 per person, and is limited to groups of 2-6 people. If you have a larger group, please call us. We will try to accommodate you.
We offer our tastings on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 11am and 3pm. We request that you book at least 24 hours in advance, but for last minute or midweek bookings, you can contact Ross Halleck directly at 7O7-829-8l7O.
Our tastings are limited to 3 groups per time-slot to ensure an intimate and personalized experience for you.
How To Visit Sonoma On A Budget
A visit to the wine counties of California is often a place to visit and splurge a little bit. Wine tasting by nature is a higher-end affair. Its easy to get caught up in the moment and a few too many samples and blow your budget, but it doesnt have to. Visiting Sonoma on a budget is possible and still very enjoyable. Here is how we visited Sonoma on a budget.
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Silver Oak Alexander Valley
One of several new-ish wineries in Alexander Valley, Silver Oak Cellars recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art, green winery, tasting room and chefs kitchen on Highway 128 in the heart of the region. While the tour of the LEED-certified winery and American oak barrel cellar is impressive, the Silver Oak Food & Wine Pairing is not to be missed. The experience begins with a tour of the tasting room, estate vineyard and culinary gardens and then moves on to the best part: four bites, like fried oysters or Liberty Farms duck leg confit, are prepared by chef Dominick Orsini and paired with current releases of Silver Oak and Twomey wines. Due to COVID-19, only wine tastings are currently available , but Silver Oak expects food and wine pairings to be offered again soon.
Discover Sonomas Hipster Wineries
Sonoma has a plethora of wineries that can be described as hipster, ticking the boxes of mindful, organic farming tiny production, artistan wines and modern-rustic design.
For us, one of the best Sonoma wineries to visit is Medlock Ames, an eco-friendly winery in the Alexander Valley, started by two friends in 98. The stylish tasting room has beautiful edible gardens and they host fun events, such as live bluegrass music. Other hipster options include: Scribe Winery Kivelstadt and Red Car Winery.
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In Sonoma Pinot Noir Regins Supreme
Do you love Pinot Noir? Youre not alone. Pinot Noir is an incredibly popular and versatile red wine, and, although it is notoriously difficult to grow, some of the most exceptional Pinot Noirs are produced in Sonoma. The diverse climatic and geographic conditions in Sonoma County vineyards are responsible for producing over 60 varieties of grapes and a diverse range of varietals, including exceptional Pinot Noirs. There is nothing quite like Sonoma wine, and in Sonoma, Pinot Noir reigns supreme.
Best Downtown Sonoma Tour: Sonoma Plaza Food And Wine Walking Tour
This three-hour walking tour offers a fun way to get a quick taste of a huge variety of Sonomas finest wines and local foods. A tour guide will lead you and your small group through the Sonoma Plaza area, making stops at four of the finest local restaurants and an artisanal chocolatier, where youll taste gourmet locally-crafted delicacies and many, many wines, all while learning about the history of the area and the latest take on the culinary scene. Its a particularly nice way to get the lay of the land before you start heading out of the downtown area and visiting the wineries themselves, as your knowledgeable guide will be full of expert tips.
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