We LOVE Sonoma County Wineries! Not only because we live and grew up here, but for what its turned into, from apples to grape vines to perfect wines! A peaceful, beautiful valley full of breathtaking vineyards, majestic mountains, quiet rivers, towering redwoods all close to the pacific ocean. There are different areas in Sonoma Wine Country and over 700 wineries at last count, so choosing which ones to visit can be a little overwhelming to say the least. No worries, we will break down the best areas and list our favorite and highly recommended wineries for you.
There are basically four Wine Regions you should not miss!
RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY– This is the appellation best known for its Top- Pinot Noirs, Old Vine Zinfandels, Chardonnays, also known for Merlot, Cabernet, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah. The grapes, for the most part, grown and produced here in Russian River Valley. This valley set the standards for California Wine Country back in 1983. Because of the sunny yet cool protected coast line, Russian River area has some of the finest wines ever produced, in my humble opinion!
Here are some of our favorites & highly recommended Wineries:
Russian River Vineyards –
Love this place! Its a very unique destination winery! Hands down, the best wine! But don’t take my word for it. They were just voted best wine north of the Golden Gate. Their wines are all organic. The winery has great prices and a friendly staff. Stop by and meet the Winery owners, Gio & Chris, the most down to earth friendly guys who love to share their stories and wine with you!
They also have a amazing onsite Restaurant -Corks. The restaurant, which grows it’s own organic produce, was just voted best outdoor restaurant in Sonoma County. Seriously, this is a must when in Wine Country!
Occidental Road Cellars-
Ultra-premium wines from lands farmed by their family for four generations. The vineyard site is a rolling ridge near Occidental, with a southern aspect and spectacular views of the hills beyond, the moderate climate allows for fruit maturity with exceptional depth and balance with amazing wines, great prices.
Hook and Ladder-
On 375 acres, their vineyards produce cool climate grapes widely recognized as some of the finest in the world. They have a really quaint winery which you can go to and taste right in a old barn style room alongside the wine barrels, sometimes you get lucky and get to taste right out of the barrel!
Situated on a unique and picturesque site with rolling vineyards, their vines are over forty years old, 15 clones of Pinot Noir and 4 clones of Chardonnay . They also have breathtaking gardens which border the vineyards that attract beneficial insects and hummingbirds, providing a natural barrier from pests, they practice sustainable farming which lends itself to amazing wine.
DRY CREEK VALLEY– Known for its idyllic undisturbed beauty, Dry Creek Valley is home to over 9,000 acres of vineyards, with a grape growing history going back 140 years. Because of the valley a little more heated, they boast one of the best Old Vine Zinfandel in the world! Most the wineries, at least the ones we recommend, have a commitment to land stewardship with the valley’s farming practices, they follow sustainable, organic and biodynamic practices in the vineyards.
Here are some of our favorites we recommend:
One of our favorite and most highly recommended wineries in Dry Creek area! They are located on a quiet river, complete with farm animals and gardens, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy a tasting creek-side or grab a table and enjoy the gardens! They specialize in making Zinfandel and Petite Syrah, they also produce delicious Port, this is a must stop when in Dry Creek area, love this place!
Bella Vineyards & Wine Cave-
Located on West Dry Creek Road, enjoy estate grown, award-winning Zinfandels and Rhone varietals. Explore the wine caves and enjoy the incredible serenity and breathtaking views while tasting small-production wines in their underground tasting room. Their wine tasting can be done in their quaint county barn or in their wine cave, either one is really unique and fun
The end of Dry Creek road, this winery is located on a hillside, overlooking the entire valley with sweeping views, wine taste varieties which include Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Bring a picnic and enjoy wine tasting with the sunshine and vineyard views in the tasting room or request a tasting on their scenic wrap around deck!
A small, family-owned and operated winery. Specializing in estate-grown red wines only. Visit the tasting room with one of the finest panoramas of Dry Creek Valley, enjoy a tasting in their quaint tasting room or on the panoramic deck over looking the vineyards, very friendly, great wine, bring a picnic lunch and enjoy!
ALEXANDER VALLEY– Located at the north end of Sonoma County, is about 22 miles long, the valley is best known for the world-famous Cabernet Sauvignon grapes that thrive from the valley floor all the way up the rolling hillsides and mountain ridges.
Soda Rock Winery-
Taste a erray of delicious wines with a focus on Bordeaux varietals. Enjoy the historical buildings that have been beautifully restored using green building and recycling practices, a realistic feel of a historic old town. They inspire to regain its place in the community, by providing spectacular venues for social gatherings, and to promote local agricultural products, cuisine and artisanal specialties.
Founded in 1985 by Dr. Elias Hanna, a world-renowned cardiac surgeon, eager to find a place in the country to continue the farming heritage of his upbringing. His daughter Christine has run the operations of the winery for 20 years and has has lived in Sonoma all of her adult life. Hanna owns 600 acres of land in the Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley and the Mayacamas Mountains, the winery has evolved and blends the diversity of fruit cultivated in its four vineyard estates in unique appellations.
Alexander Valley Vineyards-
Located on Highway 128 owned since 1963 by the Wetzels family, they planted premium grape varieties, they bottled their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1968 which was given to friends and family. In 1975 the family built a small winery , which they produced thier first wine in 1975. They now produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and Merlot constitute over one-half of total production.
Clos Du Bois Winery-
After traveling France’s wine regions, founder Frank Woods returned to California inspired to marry the French style of winemaking! In 1974 their classic Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, 1980 Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc were added and early 1900’s Zinfandel release and the winery were born.
SONOMA VALLEY-Also known as The Valley of the Moon, is located in the southern portion of the county. The appellation is bordered by two mountain ranges: the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west. This area is known for its unique terroir, with Sonoma Mountain protection from the wet and cooling Pacific Ocean, and Sonoma Mountains to the west, that protect the valley from excessive rainfall. The cool air that does affect the region comes northward from the Los Carneros region and southward from the Santa Rosa Plain.
Deerfield Wine Cave-
Our favorite Wine Cave! They have the best organic fruity wine, perfectly balanced, soft tannins, low acid and cleanly made with low sulfites, they are located in the center of 23,000 square feet wine cave. You walk through the crush pad, around the fermenting tanks through beautiful Redwood portal doors into the cave. Stroll past hundreds of barrels full of wine to the center of the wine glass shaped cave and into the Grand Room.
ST. Framcis Winery-
Established in 1971 with four decades of wines that reflect the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. The founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and planted 22 acres of Chardonnay and 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton, thus known as St. Francis. certified as a sustainable family-owned winery!
In the heart of Sonoma, founded in 1974 in Windsor, CA and in 1989 relocated from Windsor, a town that was slowly being smothered by urban sprawl, to a spectacular piece of land at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in the Sonoma Valley. Practicing old tradition of handcrafted wines, producing rich, balanced wines perfect for pairing with a multitude of cuisines.
Known as the Castle Winery, this 16,000 square foot French Normandy winery originally designed as their family home, specialize in small varietal lots that reflect the genuine diversity of their select vineyards and appellations, taste Merlot, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Syrah, Petite
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