When you’re in Napa, you’re bound to run into a few of the area wineries. If you’re looking for something different, there are plenty of wineries tucked away in the Sonoma Valley that are worth exploring. You don’t need to spend a ton of time there, either. With eight days to explore the valley, there is plenty to see and do. Here are the eight best wineries in the area.

California is known for its large number of wineries, and Sonoma County is home to 22 of them. Many of these wineries are open for visitors 365 days a year, though some have limited operating hours, either because they’re located in Lodi, Healdsburg, or another town in Sonoma County.

From picnics to hikes to farm walks, there have long been a variety of activities available to get you out in the fresh air, as well as tastings at Sonoma wineries and vineyards.

Discover some of the best ways to spend a day in the California sun.

Get Your Greens

The family business doesn’t just grow grapes on its organic estate. Located on the edge of the Dry Creek Valley in Healdsburg, the Prestons also operate a vegetable farm and a community supported agriculture (CSA) program. In the farm shop many products are sold, like peaches, bread and eggs.

Poolside Café Tour / Courtesy of Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Swimming

In summer, Coppola becomes the place where families can relax in the sun around the two large swimming pools. Sun loungers and covered private cabanas provide a gathering place, and the open-air cafe offers drinks and snacks.

Take a walk after a tasting at Sutro Wine Co. / Photo courtesy of Sutro Wine Co.

Walking with your heart

Although Sutro does not have its own tasting room, you can visit Medlock Ames Winery, where the wines are made, to taste their local varietals. Then owner and winemaker Alice Warneke Sutro will lead you across the road to Warneke Ranch and Vineyards for a walk through the vineyards. The terrain is dotted with volcanic soil with white ash.

Make sure you make reservations to enjoy Blue Rock Day / Photo courtesy of Blue Rock

Up in the air

To enjoy your day here, you must make a reservation. A visit to Blue Rock is considered a retreat and includes a two-hour tasting of a range of reserve wines, a tour of the winery and appetizers from local vendors, surrounded by 100 acres of vineyards and olive groves.

This experience is completely private to you and your group. The Winzerhäuschen, a stone guesthouse from the 1880s, can also be reserved in advance for overnight stays. A heated swimming pool, a petanque court and a fireplace promise good times.

Bricoleur Vineyards is home to many critters, including bees / photo courtesy of Bricoleur Vineyards

Silent Picnic

Located on the tributaries of the Russian River valley, Bricoleur is built around ponds and water gardens that provide the perfect place for a picnic. The gazebo overlooking the Chardonnay vineyards is a great place for your quilt, but there are also plenty of flowers and olive trees scattered around the property.

There are also bees, chickens and dogs, as well as rows of vegetable gardens to grow the produce offered by the winery, and donations to local food banks.

This family winery has a large oak tree on the property where visitors can hang wishes / Photo courtesy of Belden Barns

Make a wish

On Sonoma Mountain Road is the tranquil Belden Barns, a family-owned business where you can sample Grüner Veltliner, Syrah and more in a barn that dates back to 1870. A unique attraction is the Wishing Tree, a living oak tree on which visitors can hang a wish for positivity and hope.

Donum estate has a sculpture garden with works of world famous artists / Photo Donum estate

Discover another range

Donum is one of the best vineyards in Carneros and is already considered by many to be a producer not to be missed. But in addition to the excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, there is another attraction: a world-class outdoor sculpture garden with works by Ai Weiwei, Anselm Kiefer, Louise Bourgeois, Richard Hudson, Keith Haring and many others. A walk on your own will remain in your memory for a long time.

winemaker Jessica Boone / Photo courtesy of Passalqua Winery.

Walk around the ranch

Passalacqua has a standard tasting room in Dry Creek Valley, but also offers a more detailed and unconventional tour of its neighboring 120-acre vineyard, Cabernet Ranch.

Owner Jason Passalacqua or winemaker Jessica Boone will lead a tour and give you the opportunity to taste different varieties of Cabernet outside.

Published on 16. June 2021

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