Things To Do

The Best Outdoor Wine Tasting Experiences in Sonoma Valley

By WineCountry Collective October 12, 2016

Take your Sonoma County wine tasting up a notch with unique outdoor experiences to surprise and delight the senses. With open-air tasting rooms, incredible picnic areas, bocce ball courts, and more, these picturesque vineyards and renowned estates are among Wine Country’s best for tasting all your favorites the way nature intended.

VML Winery
Photo courtesy of VML Winery

VML Winery

5610 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-4404

Sip and picnic among the fragrant fruit trees, colorful flowers, and whimsical butterflies at VML Winery in Healdsburg. Pack your own basket or purchase provisions when you get to the winery—this gem in the heart of the Sonoma Valley is a top spot for shady, secluded, peaceful picnicking along the lazy Dry Creek. VML’s Creekside Lounge also offers seven seating areas complete with comfy Adirondack chairs for a laid-back tasting experience. Happen to have kids with you? Take them and your glass of Pinot Noir for a garden stroll or say hello to VML’s friendly farm animals, heralded as the winery’s horticultural heroes.

Insider Tip: VML’s sister winery Truett Hurst happens to be right next door—be sure to stroll on over for a tasting to knock out two of Sonoma’s best with one stone.

Imagery Estate Winery
Photo courtesy of Imagery Estate Winery

Imagery Estate Winery

14335 Sonoma Highway, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (877) 550-4278

With its impeccably maintained grounds, entertaining lawn games, and award-winning wines, it’s easy to spend an entire afternoon sipping and socializing under the umbrella-shaded picnic tables at Imagery Estate Winery. Bring your entire crew for a tasting followed by an outdoor game of corn hole or al fresco fun at Imagery’s full-sized bocce ball court and horse shoe pits. Imagery also offers a seasonal Wine Country Picnic Package for Two, which includes an outdoor experience with premium seating and charcuterie.

Insider Tip: Book a private Bocce & Bottle Service experience for your group’s next Sonoma Wine Country outing—hosted by an Imagery wine specialist, you’ll get personalized insights and generous pours for memories that will last a lifetime.

Iron Horse Vineyards
Photo courtesy of Iron Horse Vineyards

Iron Horse Vineyards

9786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, (707) 887-1507

Make yourself at home at Iron Horse Vineyards—a laid-back, family-owned, working winery comprising clustered redwood barn–style buildings and a gorgeous al fresco tasting room. From the hilltop, you can see across the entire Sonoma County to Mount St. Helena and sample some of Wine Country’s most celebrated sparkling wines, estate Chardonnays, as well as up-and-coming Pinot Noirs.

Insider Tip: Three generations of Iron Horse family members live and work at this Sonoma vineyard. Join their extended family as a part of the Iron Horse Wine Club—named Best Sparkling Wine Subscription by Forbes Vetted.

Landmark Vineyards
Photo courtesy of Landmark Vineyards

Landmark Vineyards

101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 833-0053

Take your next Sonoma County wine tasting in a colorful, fragrant English rose garden with year-round bocce ball court at the base of the mountains. Landmark Vineyards’ well-manicured lawn, picturesque pond, and stone water fountain epitomize Wine Country elegance. Sip on stellar Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on outdoor picnic tables overlooking the Sonoma vineyards, or opt for the Sensory Tasting—a unique experience that explores how the five basic taste qualities impact the taste of wine.

Insider Tip: Live your own Wine Country fairytale as you climb aboard a horse-drawn carriage for a historical and vinicultural tour of the stately vineyard grounds from a third-generation winemaker.

Medlock Ames
Photo courtesy of Medlock Ames

Medlock Ames

3487 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8845

Immerse yourself in the sights and sounds of Sonoma Wine Country at Medlock Ames’ Bell Mountain Ranch in Healdsburg. Tasting guests are invited to tour the property, glass in hand, through a self-guided audio experience developed by local sound artist, Hugh Livingstong. When you’re done with your tasting experience, be sure to check out the gorgeous Sonoma orchard, 650 olive trees, and market garden for seasonal vegetables and flowers.

Insider Tip: Happen to have a sober person in your party? During your tasting, ask for a glass of the verjus or the zero-proof straight from the steel tank to make sure that no one’s glass is empty.

Photo courtesy of Seghesio

Seghesio Family Vineyards

700 Grove Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-3579

Make your way to Seghesio Family Vineyards’ outdoor Grove in downtown Healdsburg for a laid back wine tasting experience in the heart of Sonoma County—no reservations required. There you can grab a bottle or a glass of their signature Zinfandel and post up at one of the picnic tables for sensational tasting and prime Sonoma Valley people watching. Sip and savor, or reserve a Bocce & Bottles recreational wine experience at Seghesio’s outdoor courts.

Insider Tip: Explore one of Sonoma’s best cellar explorations with Seghesio’s Behind-the-Scenes Tour and Tasting. Here you can tour the winery crush pad, fermentation hall, and barrel cellar before finishing with a seated wine tasting.

Cornerstone Gardens
Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Gardens

Cornerstone Gardens

23570 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 933-3010

Knock out a couple great shops in one convenient stop at Cornerstone Gardens Sonoma—an exciting marketplace with locally sourced food, boutique shopping, sprawling gardens, and, of course, wine tasting. Cornerstone is home to Sonoma wineries, Obsidian Wine Co. and Meadowcroft Wines, each offering their own unique experiences, including great outdoor garden tours.

Insider Tip: Relax with your favorite drink in hand as you listen to live outdoor music from some of Sonoma’s best local bands, every Saturday and Sunday, from May through October.

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate
Photo courtesy of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate

Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate & Gardens

5007 Fulton Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95403, (800) 769-3649

With four sprawling acres of gorgeous culinary gardens in stunning Sonoma County, it’s easy to spend the entire day outdoors at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estate. Explore on your own or book the delightful Garden Tour & Tasting, a 90-minute experience that begins with a guided educational stroll and ends with a seated selection of the day’s garden harvest and the estate’s family-grown, sustainable wines.

Insider Tip: Pack your basket and snag an outdoor Picnic + Bocce reservation with scenic Sonoma views. Enjoy your afternoon with some Camelot Highlands Chardonnay and Anderson Valley Pinot Noir—your reservation fee is fully refundable with purchase of three or more bottles from the Jackson Estate Collection.