Everyone can probably agree that a trip to Sonoma Wine Country isn’t just a feast for the palate, it’s also a feast for the eyes. With stunning vistas everywhere you look (including those gorgeous glasses of pinot noir and chardonnay the region is so famous for), it’s hard to not pinch yourself at every turn. But the beauty isn’t limited to the vineyard-striped countryside.
While Sonoma County in general is a place to behold, there are certain wineries that take the stunning natural settings in which they are located, and create incredible wine havens at their properties. From the historic to farm-centric to modern, we have rounded up a list of the top ten most beautiful wineries in Sonoma County.
Founded in 1980, Benziger Family Winery has always been about three things: family, great wine, and healthy vineyards. Every wine in the Benziger portfolio carries a third-party certification of green farming practices. Whether the vineyard is certified sustainable, organic, or Biodynamic, it’s carefully tended to with the most eco-responsible methods available. In addition to producing top-notch sustainable wines, the winery is home to sweeping views of Sonoma Mountain and the surrounding area.Insider Tip:
Book the Biodynamic Tractor Tram tour for an interactive experience aboard a tram that takes you through the vineyards and around the estate. During the tour, keep an eye out for Benziger’s flock of sheep, who are not only adorable, but also play a vital role in the winery’s sustainable farming practices.
Medlock Ames Winery was formed in 1998 by college best friends, Ames Morison and Chris Medlock James, whose passion for wine led them across the country to produce award-winning wines from Sonoma’s Bell Mountain Ranch. Ames Morison is a vocal supporter of organic, light-touch agricultural practices and gentle winemaking techniques that reflect the purest representations of the terroir as demonstrated in the latest experience offered at the picturesque property.Insider Tip:
Be sure to check out the 90-minute Immersive Sound Experience. Designed by local artist Hugh Livingston and inspired by the winery’s collective desire to spend more time outside, this unique offering features a guided walking tour through the expansive property, narrated by the natural sounds of Bell Mountain, and concludes with a seated wine tasting.
Nestled in the undulating hills of Alexander Valley in Healdsburg, Jordan is a must-see winery not only for lovers of truly exceptional chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, but also of historic architecture and design. With French elegance and California style, no architectural or aesthetic detail is overlooked, from the Tasting Library to the Bacchus Courtyard to the on-site, recently renovated suites, which overlook barrels upon barrels of Jordan wine aging in the cellar. Known as an industry leader in sustainability, Jordan’s commitment to being eco-friendly is the real deal, with more than three quarters of the estate preserved as natural habitat, including the nation’s largest pollinator sanctuary.Insider Tip:
This year, Jordan Winery turns 50! In celebration of this milestone, along with the 10th anniversary of the John Jordan Foundation, which works to provide disadvantaged youth and young adults with the tools needed to succeed educationally and professionally, the winery has launched “Social Impact Summer.” The jam-packed program, taking place in several markets throughout the country, features a series of wine and food-filled al fresco events complete with celebrity sommeliers and philanthropy elements.
Founded in the early 1980s by Joe Benziger, Imagery Estate Winery was inspired by a curiosity to experiment with lesser-known varietals like Lagrein, tempranillo, and cabernet franc in single-varietal bottlings and blends. Imagery infuses art throughout every aspect of its experience, from unique artwork replicated on every label to the tasting room and dedicated on-site art gallery, featuring label artwork commissioned from some of the world’s most notable contemporary artists. The entire collection has over 600 artworks by over 400 artists, with around 60 pieces displayed in the gallery.Insider Tip:
Worth the splurge is the Collections Tasting, which features an in-depth exploration of rare Imagery wines and the unique stories behind each label, along with a guided art gallery tour.
Ledson Winery, appropriately known as “The Castle,” is a sight to behold. Designed by Steve Ledson himself, this 16,000-square-foot French Normandy architectural marvel offers all the fixings of an actual castle – dramatic staircases, marble fireplaces, cathedral-style windows, and over five miles of wood inlays and mosaics hand-cut by Steve’s son, Mike. Ledson offers a range of tasting experiences – all worthy of royalty – conducted in one of the winery’s lavish private tasting suites or up at one of the ornate tasting bars.Insider Tip:
Be sure to level up your private tasting experience with a gourmet cheese and charcuterie plate to accompany your wines for only $15 per guest. Her Majesty would approve.
One step on to the property at Chateau St. Jean and you feel as though you have been transported to the most romantic parts of Italy or the South of France. Originally built in the 1920s as a summer home for Ernest and Maude Goff, the property was restored in 1973 and has since been listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The grounds are lush with water features, gardens, picnic areas, bocce courts, a redwood grove, and a members-only terrace, providing plenty of opportunities to sip Chateau St. Jean’s wide range of award-winning wines.Insider Tip:
Book the Bocce, Bordeaux & Burgundy experience, and enjoy wines by the bottle in your private bocce court, complete with lounge furniture and picnic tables, not to mention gorgeous Sonoma Valley views.
This picturesque, family-owned winery located in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley is home to delicious wines from sustainable vineyards, including the well-known Fumé Blanc, classics like chardonnay, pinot noir, and cabernet sauvignon, and both red and rosé wines made from sangiovese in a nod to the family’s Italian heritage. Whether on the outdoor terrace – “Il Terrazzo” – or indoors in the breathtaking underground cellar for the Enoteca Reserve tasting, every corner of this stunning property is worth exploring.Insider Tip:
Don’t miss the weekly Sunday Wine & Brunch series. This popular reservation includes a tasting of Ferrari-Carano’s reserve wines, along with a seasonal, Italian-inspired menu featuring ingredients from the estate gardens. Nibble on savory dishes like prosciutto benedict, brunch pizza, and croque madame, and sweet treats like dark chocolate panna cotta on the winery’s idyllic Sycamore Grove terraces looking out on gardens and vineyards.
This family-owned, limited-production winery in the heart of Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley produces some of the region’s most sought-after, sustainably-farmed pinot noir and chardonnay. Founded in 2002 with the purchase of the revered Cohn Estate Vineyard, Benovia is now the warm and welcoming homestead of co-founders Mary Dewane and Joe Anderson. Wine experiences take place at the winery’s Ranch House Tasting Room, which woos guests not only with sips of estate and vineyard-designate wines from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River Valley, but also with stunning views of the surrounding Martaella Estate Vineyard.Insider Tip:
Can’t make it to the winery? Benovia can also bring the gorgeous setting and world-class wines to you through their fully-customizable virtual wine tastings.
This family-owned and operated winery creates wines expressive of the distinctive characteristics of each of their vineyard sites, emphasizing biodynamic farming practices and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Quality and family are at the forefront of everything the Hamel Family does, whether in the vineyards, the winery, or the Estate House, where guests can enjoy a variety of personally curated experiences that promote education and exploration.Insider Tip:
For an extra indulgent treat, book the Reserve Experience, curated by the ultra-talented Executive Chef Clint Huntsman, which incorporates out-of-the-box seasonal food pairings to shine a light on the winery’s expressive, terroir-centric wines.
Located on 25 acres in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, Dutcher Crossing charms with classic 1900s farmhouse architecture. Named for the intersection of the Dry and Dutcher Creeks, Dutcher Crossing Winery boasts stunning vineyard views in an upscale, bucolic setting. The winery’s many single vineyard-designated wines demonstrate winemaker Nick Briggs’ attention to detail in the cellar and to vineyard management. Vintner owner, Debra Mathy, often personally welcomes guests who come to the tasting room for delicious wines and to enjoy the gorgeous Dry Creek Valley.Insider Tip:
While you’re there, pick up a bottle of the 2018 Winemakers’ Cellar Testa Reserve Carignane, an offbeat grape variety which hails from Spain but shines in the hands of Dutcher Crossing’s winemaking team.