We usually ask a lot of questions before recommending wineries to visit in and around Sonoma. There are over 425 wineries in Sonoma County alone and over 600 wineries in the Napa Valley. So, when someone asks us “Which wineries should we should go to?” We have to first ask a series of questions so that we can determine which wineries we should recommend!
Some of the questions we ask are:
What specific types of wine varietals to do you like?
What is your wine knowledge level?
What size winery are you interested in visiting-- small production, off-the-beaten path types, where you might meet the winemaker? Or large, well-known producers that offer a wide variety of tastings?
Do you want to experience vineyard views, caves, castles or beautiful tasting rooms? Or, is a winery that is located in a warehouse or on a roadside fine, as long as their wine is amazing?
Do you want your winery experience to be educational or are you just looking for a fun place to sip wine and visit with your friends?
Do you want a winery that offers tours in the vineyards, food pairing options or a picnic area where you can bring your own food?
As you can see, asking which winery to go to is not a simple question! If you want more specific recommendations, please give us a call or email and we will be happy to recommend wineries that fit the experience that you are looking for.
Below is a list of a few of wineries around Sonoma that are known for history, views, art, biodynamic farming and beautiful tasting rooms.
Buena Vista Winery – History
From the rustic wood beams overhead to the twinkling chandelier, this tasting room evokes elegance. The oldest commercial winery in California, this landmark property was renovated in 2012, but it still holds a historic charm. They have a museum of 19th-century wine tools (more interesting than it sounds), a stylish Champagne lounge, and tranquil picnic grounds. The winery’s location at the top of the San Pablo Bay means a diverse variety of micro climates, ideal for varietals ranging from Merlot and Syrah to Chardonnay.
Donum Estate – Art
The experience at Donum includes samples of their cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay while strolling around the 200-acre estate viewing 30+ largescale museum-worthy works of art. The property is adorned by vineyards, that extend as far as the eye can see, to a few farm buildings, farm animals, and phenomenal sculptures curated by the investors, including a circle of the Chinese Zodiac and a smaller replica of the famous Wall Street Bull.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery – Music & Oldest Family Owned Winery
The Rhinefarm’s 320-acre property, is idyllic, shaded by towering olive trees and bordered by a scenic pond. In the family for six generations, “Gun Bun” as locals call it, is known for music, from its annual Huichica fest, featuring indie and surf rock bands, to a packed calendar of weekend concerts. Tastings are conducted at the long bar in the inviting tasting room or in the grand underground wine cave. You must try their popular and refreshing Gewürztraminer.
Scribe Winery – Hip & Laid-Back
From their gorgeous, renovated house-turned-winery to the plateau above the vineyard that is littered with picnic tables, this winery gets a lot of rave reviews, especially from the younger crowd of wine drinkers. It is a stunning view from the top of the hillside to the road below where remnants of the property's past as a turkey farm are visible. When you arrive, you'll be given a Mexican blanket and encouraged to find a spot for yourself in the shade of a tree or at a nearby picnic table. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Riesling and, perhaps the most unique—Sylvaner. Reservations are required.
Benziger Family Winery - Biodynamic & Organic, Tram Tour, Kid Friendly
Benziger Winery is about three things: family, great wine and healthy vineyards. For many years they have been committed to certified biodynamic, organic and sustainable farming methods. The result is a portfolio of authentic and memorable wines. You can have several kinds of experiences at Benziger but we recommend taking a tram tour. The vineyard tour in an open-sided tram pulled by a tractor is great fun, even the kids. You'll go up into the vineyards, see the property from a hillside vista point and learn why there's a flower garden where grapevines could be growing.
Hamel Family Winery – Beautiful Tasting Room & Cave
This Winery was founded in 2014. The 5,700-square-foot sleek, modern tasting room features 18-foot windows with views of Sonoma Mountain and an outdoor deck overlooking 100-year-old olive trees and an infinity pool. Their 12,000-square-foot wine cave includes another tasting area and dining room. Estate tastings include cheese and charcuterie pairings. Their reserve experience provides a full four-course meal alongside tastings of Sauvignon Blanc, Rose, Zinfandel, and Isthmus, a Cabernet Sauvignon blend. Reservations are required.
Ram’s Gate Winery – Beautiful Tasting Room and Views
The tasting room is stunning, mingling materials both rustic and modern in its indoor-outdoor tasting room. The winery sits on a hill overlooking the wetlands. It feels fancy, so keep that in mind when you visit. You can opt for a tour and seated tasting or a more casual experience of a four-wine flight at the bar. Reservations are recommended.
You can visit any of the listed wineries after you take our Original Sonoma Food Tour from 11:00 am - 2:00 pm.