Throughout Sonoma County’s wine roads, there are wineries tucked down hidden lanes and secret, leafy courtyards. The Alexander Valley is no different. While there are dozens of highly sought after and well-known wineries along State Route 128, which serves as a connector between Sonoma and Napa counties, there are just as many, if not more, undiscovered wineries. Here’s a few we think are worth seeking out.
6734 Highway 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: (707) 433-4295
4.5 Stars, 37 reviews
This family winery has a small tasting room on Highway 128 (they also offer seated tastings by reservation at their tasting room in Sonoma). After decades of growing wine grapes for others, the Hawkes family started making their own limited production wines in 2002. They still grow all their own fruit and are as obsessive about their farming as their winemaking. Don’t miss their fantastic single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons.
Jimtown, the beloved country store, is located right next door and is a great place to grab some provisions. Get your lunch to go and then enjoy the wildflowers and the views of Alexander Valley from Hawkes’ shaded front patio.
Garden Creek Vineyards
2335 Geyser Road
Geyserville, CA 95441
A husband and wife team is making killer chardonnay and red blends in Alexander Valley, but you almost wouldn’t know it. It’s hard to find Garden Creek wines. Karin Warnelius-Miller and Justin Miller began as grape growers, selling top quality Bordeaux varieties and chardonnay to local winemakers. With the same intensive attention to detail that goes into growing grapes, Justin and Karin attacked making wine, selecting only their favorites from their acres planted to vineyard. At Garden Creek they only pick at night and by hand, they age their red blend for seven years before releasing it and they make fewer than 800 cases total each year. But if you can get your hands on their red blend, “Tesserae,” or their chardonnay blend of clones – all from estate-grown Alexander Valley grapes – you’ll not be disappointed.
Tastings take place inside the adapted barn that doubles as barrel room and winery, but all visits are by appointment only.
21112 River Road,
Tel: (707) 955-5992
0 reviews, yet
The Zialena winery and tasting room may be brand-new, but the family behind the brand has been making wines and growing grapes dating back to the early 1900s. Brother and sister Mark and Lisa Mazzoni have built a stunning state-of-the-art facility just outside of Geyserville, where they specialize in estate-grown Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Make a reservation for a tour and check out Alexander Valley’s first open top concrete tank fermentation room.
4951 West Soda Rock Lane
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: (707) 431-7745
4.5 stars, 16 reviews
Stuhlmuller is a bit off the beaten path, but when you arrive there’s a welcoming, country feel to this small winery and tasting room. The 150-acre property is located along the banks of the Russian River near the southern end of Alexander Valley. The winery focuses on Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel and if you call ahead you can enjoy an artisan cheese tasting paired with Stuhlmuller wines.
The estate is off the beaten path, the only winery located on West Soda Rock Lane. Everything they produce is grown right outside their tasting room doors.
Sutro Wine Co. at Warnecke Ranch
13427 Chalk Hill Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Tel: (707) 433-8485
This tiny winery is run by Alice and Eliot Sutro at Warnecke Ranch, a property that has been in Alice’s family since 1911. Sutro’s Cabernet Sauvignon comes from old vines that are dry farmed and completely hand-worked. The family has a long history with art and architecture and in addition to Sutro Wines, Warnecke Ranch is home to a shared residential community of homes designed by Alice’s grandfather, John Carl Warnecke, and an artist residency.
Alice, an artist and Eliot, an architect, consider their winery to be an artistic undertaking, lending an air of the aesthetic to raise winemaking from a mere byproduct of agriculture to something that is undeniably art.