While Sonoma County is home to many big names in wine, sometimes you just want to find something a little more unique or less mainstream. These Sonoma wineries offer limited release bottles that typically can only be found with a visit to their local tasting rooms, where you can sip, savor, and enjoy something truly out of the ordinary in Wine Country.
Even if you can’t make it in person, most of these small-production wineries offer their wines online — especially handy if you’ve gotten used to sipping at home during the pandemic or just want to try something new before your next trip to Sonoma County.
A sip of 1994 Paolo Bea Sagrantino di Montefalco at dinner at an Italian restaurant in New York City back in 1999 would set the wheels in motion for the creation of DaVero Farms & Winery, located in the heart of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. “I’m going to plant this grape, and make this wine,” said Founder Ridge Evers at the time. And so he did. In addition to Sagrantino, visitors can find a selection of Sonoma County wines produced from Italian grape varieties that also thrive in California’s Mediterranean climate. The “Discover the Farm” tasting is the winery’s signature experience, which includes a walking tour of the estate vineyards and gardens, as well as an introduction to DaVero’s regenerative and biodynamic farming practices, and a meet-and-greet with the winery’s resident farm animals. The tour concludes with a seated tasting of small-lot wines coupled with seasonal food pairings, estate olive oils, and 15-year aged balsamic vinegar.
766 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8000
Papapietro Perry Winery has definitely experienced growth from the experimental beginnings in Ben Papapietro’s San Francisco garage more than 35 years ago. Yet, despite now having a tasting room and a loyal following, Ben and founding partner and co-winemaker, Bruce Perry, continue to produce quality wines that pay homage to their humble beginnings by taking a minimalist approach to winemaking. Known for being “authentic, not pretentious,” a visit to Papapietro Perry Winery is an extension of the founders’ down-to-earth vibes and appreciation for wine and food, where you can sip acclaimed pinot noir and nibble on charcuterie while admiring the views of the Dry Creek Valley.
4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-0422
Three generations of the Pasterick family have poured their hearts into this hillside estate vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, certified by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in 2012. Specializing in the classic Rhône varieties of Syrah and Viognier, this small-production winery is also home to an oasis of other fruits, flowers, and vegetables, including Spanish and Tuscan olives, persimmons, figs, plums, antique roses, and a “Magic Forest” with bay, oak, fir, and redwood trees. At the core of Pasterick’s operation is the impressive wine cave, dug into the hillside of 125 million-year-old granite and completed in 2017. Tastings are by appointment only, booked directly with one of the family members.
3491 West Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-4655
Rob and Laura Schermeister are the husband-and-wife duo behind Schermeister Winery, a small-production winery focused on unfiltered pinot noir and Rhône wines. Located in the historic Jack London Village in Glen Ellen, a visit to their inviting tasting studio is a treat. Led by Rob, who is also the winemaker, tastings are held inside or out on the serene patio and include five wines paired with small bites.
14301 Arnold Drive, Studio 28, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (707) 934-8953
History is at the forefront of Three Sticks Wines, with their tasting room located in Vallejo-Casteñada Adobe, one of the area’s few remaining structures from California’s Mexican Period. But don’t expect old, boring wines, because this Sonoma winery is serving up chardonnay and pinot noir from their five estate vineyards located throughout the region’s famed AVAs. Stop in for a visit and enjoy a feast for your eyes (the Adobe is gorgeous) and your stomach with one of two food and wine pairing options.
143 W Spain Street, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 996-3328
A father and son operation, Hawkes Vineyards and Winery has inviting locations in both Healdsburg and in downtown Sonoma making it easy to stop in and try their wines. And for over 40 years, they’ve been growing grapes in the Alexander Valley and have specialized in small-production wines, particularly cabernet sauvignon. Many of their wines are limited production and reserved for club members, but they do have wines available online should you be interested in trying them at home.
6734 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-4295
Charmingly named after the family matriarch, BUMP Wine Cellars is family-owned and operated boutique wine producer in Sonoma offering small-lot, single-vineyard wines out of their chic, Sonoma Square tasting room. Since 2008, they’ve been crafting award-winning bottles with winemaker and owner Geordie Carr at the helm, and welcome their guests to explore “a true representation of varietal character and a sense of place” with every glass.
521 Broadway, Suite A, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 228-9214
Family is at the center of Donelan Family Wines’ syrah, pinot noir, chardonnay, and Rhône blends. The winery has more of an urban feel than most, and their Santa Rosa location hosts not only their relaxed tasting room but also the winery’s production and offices. A visit offers a first-hand look at their day-to-day activity and a connection to every glass of their fine wines you try. Check out more about the family and wines online.
3352 Coffey Lane D, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, (707) 591-0782