My love of winery touring is well-documented—it’s one of my favorite travel activities when headed to any area known for wine (no, I’m not looking at you, north Georgia…). And California’s Sonoma Valley is one of the wine world’s meccas. So getting to head out there for my actual day job is a total bonus!
While I will probably never visit all 400+ Sonoma Valley wineries in my lifetime (!!!), I’m getting to more each time I visit, and thought I’d share my experiences from some of the ones I’ve enjoyed so far, and what you can expect on your own visit.
So while I’m only showcasing a handful of wineries in this post, there really is an embarrassment of riches in the Sonoma County area. I think that there are over 400 wineries in Sonoma County alone, and that’s not counting nearby Napa (you may have heard of it… :p ).
So I can promise that you’ll never run out of things to do. However, a lot of the focus tends to be on chardonnay, which isn’t my personal fave (chardo-NO), so I’ve sought out several wineries specifically known for something else.
Sonoma Valley wineries to visit
This is a living, breathing post…as I visit more later, I’ll add.
- If you want to see the map bigger, you can access the live map here.
- Orange are wineries/tasting rooms I actually visited, and the blue are ones I still want to visit (see the list at the bottom).
- If you click the link to the live map, you can remove the blue ones and easily see the ones I actually have been to, if that’s easier.
One thing to know is that there is very little (or NO) cell signal in this area (I mean, like…how is that a thing?!). I recommend making sure you screenshot directions, addresses, and maps. It’s super frustrating not being able to call ahead to make a reservation, or get your Google Maps to navigate for you when you’re unfamiliar with the area.
Full disclosure, I work for Brown-Forman, who owns Sonoma-Cutrer and also distributes Korbel, which is why I have traveled to this area a couple times. It gave me the opportunity to see more behind-the-scenes stuff at both of those wineries (which I haven’t included here, since it’s not available to the public), but there’s no relationship between the wineries and this blog, and they don’t endorse me or the blog in any way. All opinions are, as always, completely my own!
4401 Slusser Rd, Windsor, CA 95492
I’ve been out to Sonoma-Cutrer a couple times for work meetings or training, and am always thoroughly charmed by the winery and surrounding vineyards. It’s got lots of seating for just chilling, and no one trying to hurry you along. The tasting room is light and airy, and the staff super knowledgeable.
While chardonnays aren’t always my fave, there is one here in particular that I love—Les Pierres. To me, it drinks more like a sauvignon blanc…light and refreshing and mineral-y. You can try their main chardonnays and pinot noir in the regular tasting, or branch out into one of their limited-edition winery options. I got my hands on the Woodford Reserve barrel-finished pinot noir, so feeling *pret-ty* good about myself right now 🙂
And of course if you’re looking for something to do to pass the time, the croquet courts are super fun when you have a group to entertain. I’m in love with the massive cheese and charcuterie platter you can order (though make sure to order ahead), and could spend all afternoon out there with my cheese and wine. You can see all the options as well as tour and tasting times at their official website.
3575 Slusser Rd., Windsor, CA 95492
While La Crema also has a tasting room in downtown Healdsburg, I stopped by their Estate at Saralee’s Vineyard because it’s literally next door to Sonoma-Cutrer, so I was basically already there. You can check tour times and any other special events here.
I’ve mentioned that I’m not a chardonnay fan in general, and theirs is not one I gravitate toward. However, at the winery there were several other varietals that you wouldn’t typically find in the store that I really enjoyed.
J Vineyards & Winery
11447 Old Redwood Hwy, Healdsburg, CA 95448
I hadn’t heard of J, but this was a recommendation from the staff at Sonoma-Cutrer. We had some time to kill between our first Sonoma-Cutrer visit and our dinner reservation, so drove a few miles over to J Vineyards in Healdsburg.
You have a lot of different options when visiting J’s estate. They have everything from a simple tasting (which was all we had time for when we visited) to a tour and tasting, cheese pairings, or even up to a five-course pairing menu. It’s a lovely place, whether you have 20 minutes (like us) or a few hours. You can check opening times at their official website.
Seghesio Family Vineyards
700 Grove St, Healdsburg, CA 95448
This was another recommendation, and we didn’t have tons of time to spend there. Seghesio is exactly what it says—a family vineyard. Five generations of making wine, specializing in Zinfandel and Italian varietals.
We went to their place in Healdsburg to see what’s up. Though the decor feels a little fussy and older, the staff were super warm and welcoming and the wines good. Similar to J, there are a few options besides a simple tasting, so if you want to do a pairing meal or similar you’ll want to call ahead and find out what’s available (and check their website).
Christopher Creek Winery
641 Limerick Ln, Healdsburg, CA 95448
On my last visit to Sonoma, I spent a day hiking and exploring some of the amazing craft breweries (and a cidery!) in the area. But I did carve out some time later in the day to sample lovely Sonoma Valley wineries, stopping by Christopher Creek (followed by a couple tasting rooms in downtown Healdsburg).
Located in the Russian River Valley, Christopher Creek is a small, family-owned winery focusing on cab sauv, zinfandel, pinot noir, chardonnay, viognier, and even port. The guy who welcomed me at the winery (who I think is marrying into the family) was chatty and great, telling me of the history and pouring me some nice wines.
I only had a short time there, but they have a lovely view and if you’re really wanting to go all-out, they have an “ultimate tasting” with fancy meats, cheeses, a barrel tasting, and more. You can see different tasting options and opening times at their website.
Stonestreet Estate Tasting Room
337 Healdsburg Ave, Healdsburg, CA 95448
From Christopher Creek, I headed into downtown Healdsburg, parked, and started wandering around. I had dinner reservations at Dry Creek Kitchen later (nom!), so just wanted to see a bit of the town and try a few wines from places I hadn’t heard of.
Stonestreet Estate’s vineyards are one of the largest and most extensive mountain vineyards in the world, and the variety in terroir (elevations, soil compositions, etc.) produces a lot of great wines to try. I was in their tasting room, rather than the winery itself, but look up both (website here) to see which suits you more. The older gentleman helping me was great, very knowledgeable and easy to talk to.
Siduri Tasting Room
I don’t remember where or how I heard of Siduri, but I was thoroughly charmed when I walked in. It definitely feels a bit more modern and fresh than many of the wineries and tasting rooms you find around Sonoma County.
Named for the Babylonian goddess of wine, Siduri comes from the founders’ shared love of pinot noir, and that’s what you’ll find on offer here. While they have an odd viognier, zinfandel, or syrah, the star here is the pinot. I had a lovely half hour here, and then felt the need for a cocktail and moved on…you can find their hours and more here.
Korbel Champagne Cellars
Now we’re moving on from your standard chardonnays and pinor noirs, to a sparkling icon. Korbel is located in Guerneville, a quirky little liberal town on the banks of the Russian River, full of canoers, cute coffee shops, artsy shops, and more.
Korbel’s champagne was founded in 1882, and has been a mainstay of the area since then. What’s insane to me is that the tour and tasting is complimentary, leaving you some extra change to pick up one of their hard-to-find styles (I’m a huge fan of the Rouge, but the Blanc de Noirs is amazing as well).
You’ll get a tour of the inside of the cellars and some really awesome historical artifacts, then a tasting. You can see times and tour options here.
So cheers to many more Sonoma work trips, where I can keep trying new wineries! I really enjoyed all of these, though wish I’d had time to see more. Below are a list of Sonoma Valley wineries that were on my list to try but I haven’t been able to yet.
Other Sonoma Valley wineries I want to try:
- Buena Vista – the oldest winery in Sonoma County
- Lasseter Family Winery – from what I’ve read, “one of the most unique and personal tastings around” (appointment only)
- Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves – main focus is Zinfandel and Rhone varietals
- Dutton-Goldfield Winery
- Iron Horse Vineyard – heavy focus on sustainability and micro-farming
- Quiviria Vineyards and Winery – focus on biodynamic farming
- Red Car Wine
- Sutro Wine – can do a tour and food and wine pairing
- Unti Vineyards – focuses on Mediterranean varietals, hard to find elsewhere since they sell pretty much everything on-site and through their wine program
- Aperture Cellars – art gallery and wine tasting room in downtown Healdsburg (a bit hard to find)
- Peay Vineyards
- Hanna Winery
- B.R. Cohn Winery – also produces olive oil, and often has live music
- Portworks – specializes in port and after-dinner wines
Have you spent time in the Sonoma Valley area?? Hit me up in the comments with your favorite wineries and tasting rooms!!
Other wine-loving adventures you’ll love:
- Exploring Mendoza’s Wine Country
- Wine & Conversation at Slovenia’s Rojac Winery
- A Weekend of Wine in Oregon’s Willamette Valley
- Rosé All Day: Sampling the Wines of Aix-en-Provence
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