It’s just a fact that vino tastes even better when accompanied by views, and while there’s not a winery in Sonoma County that doesn’t offer something beautiful or interesting to look at, there are a few that take stunning views to new heights. Whether it’s rolling hills, a patchwork of vineyards, dramatic mountain backdrops, or gorgeous gardens, these ten wineries are amongst some of the most beautiful you’ll find in Wine Country.
8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 257-5784
Chateau St. Jean has everything you could possibly want if what you want is beautiful surroundings. First, there’s the elegant 1920s chateau, which was originally built as a summer home for a family from Michigan. If you want to experience the two-story historic home, you’ll need to partake in one of the reserve wine tastings (or get married there). Second, outside of the stunning chateau, you’ll find vineyard views with a mountain backdrop and rustic Mediterranean-style gardens. The garden, bound by tightly clipped hedges, has water features, alcoves with benches and tables, and gorgeous blooms.
Insider Tip: Join the wine club for access to a members-only patio with vineyard views, or, for another unique experience, try to “Unlock the Chateau” during a 90-minute escape room-inspired game where you will enjoy a glass of sparkling wine before solving puzzles in order to break free (and get to your tasting flight and cheese pairing).
8761 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-6700
Looking for a Tuscan-inspired escape, but don’t want to pay for the plane ticket to Italy? Head to Ferrari-Carano, one of the most magical wineries in Sonoma known for its full-bodied chardonnay and its delicate fumé blanc. The Dry Creek Valley estate has amazing vineyard views, which are best enjoyed during a tasting on Il Terrazzo Terrace just steps away from where the grapes are grown, but the true magic unfolds during a stroll through the five acres of enchanting gardens. It’s there you’ll find meandering paths that cross footbridges across flowing streams, waterfalls that flow into fish-filled ponds, bronze sculptures from world-renowned artists such as Dennis Smith, Douglas Van Howd and Jane DeDecker, and over 2,000 species of trees and shrubs (all marked so you can learn about them as you go).
Insider Tip: It’s beautiful there all times of year, but it’s most stunning in the spring when over 10,000 tulips and daffodils are in bloom.
2335 Geysers Road, Geyserville, CA 95441, (707) 433-8345
The story behind this peaceful boutique winery, located in Geyserville at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, may be even more beautiful than the views. Justin Miller has lived on the ranch, which his father bought in 1963, his entire life. He and Karin Warnelius, childhood friends who fell in love in their 20s, started winemaking professionally at Garden Creek in 2001. During a vineyard tour led by the proprietors, you’ll probably hear more of that story, as well as take a stroll through some of the 100 acres of vineyards that are tucked into a valley, where you’ll enjoy views of an ancient oak grove on the hill before tasting the wines by candlelight in the barrel room.
Insider Tip: Garden Creek Winery is open by appointment only, and because the small estate run by the husband-and-wife team is known to be one of the best boutique tasting room experiences in all of Sonoma, you’ll need to plan ahead.
10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 473-2909
Thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows and comfortable seating, there’s not a bad seat inside of Gary Farrell’s contemporary tasting room that sits atop a ridge overlooking the Russian River Valley. If you really want to soak in the sweeping views of the vineyards and redwoods, though, the place to be is on the outdoor terrace. There, you can relax on oversized couches while you sip wine and realize whatever stresses you had were left somewhere on the steep driveway as you arrived. We recommend leaving them there on your way back out.
Insider Tip: Gary Farrell was a pioneer in Russian River Valley single-vineyard pinot noir and helped bring it to the world stage. Don’t leave the vineyard without buying a bottle (or case) of the richly textured and elegant wine that put this vineyard on the map. And, if you’re passionate about pinot noir, consider the Inspiration Tasting where you’ll taste through a flight of six highly allocated pinot noirs from the Russian River Valley and beyond.
34 North Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-2371
A visit to this Dry Creek Valley winery — that is 1,800 feet above sea level and the highest elevation vineyard and winery in Sonoma County — has everything one could want when it comes to wine, scenery, and hospitality. Enjoy lunch al fresco at the picnic area and take in 30 mile panoramic views of Lake Sonoma, Mount St. Helena, and the Mayacamas Mountains in three directions, all while sipping on wines that are produced exclusively from grapes grown at the vineyard. If you can’t get enough of the beauty, book a stay at the Estate Residence where you’ll be able to watch the sunrise and sunset from the living room and eat outside overlooking the vineyards.
Insider Tip: Be sure to find the Sonoma County Heritage Tree, a 300-year-old madrone with a trunk that has a diameter of 11 feet and is thought to be the largest madrone tree in Sonoma County, if not all of California.
1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-5250
Jordan’s Estate Tour & Tasting is one of the most spectacular experiences available in Sonoma County and includes some of the best views. You’ll begin at the ivy-covered chateau, which in and of itself is an impressive sight, before boarding a luxury coach that will drive you around the 1,200-acre Alexander Valley estate to visit gardens, lakes, and vineyards. Then, you’ll stop at a hilltop where you’ll taste Jordan’s French-inspired chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon, as well as estate olive oil and an array of food pairings, all while enjoying panoramic views of vineyards, the Mayacamas Mountains, the Russian River, and Mount St. Helena.
Insider Tip: It’s worth it to join Jordan’s rewards program, which, with every dollar spent, earns you points to redeem towards intimate tastings, dinner parties, and even overnight stays in the opulent guest accommodations.
825 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 833-5501
If you want to truly experience the incredible views of Sonoma Valley at Kunde Family Winery, you will need to make a reservation for the Mountain Top Tasting, a two-hour journey that begins in a private cave and is followed by a tour of the estate in a luxury coach. The experience culminates with a stop at the tasting deck, set at 1,400 feet, where you’ll be able to see views of Sonoma stretching towards San Francisco, as well as rolling hills and the surrounding vineyards — all under the shade of oak trees.
Insider Tip: Kunde offers several hikes throughout the year, including a dog hike where you and your pup will walk from the valley floor up into the Mayacamas Mountain range before enjoying a wine tasting and lunch.
11010 Estate Lane, Windsor, CA 95492, (707) 433-4050
Notre Vue is French for “our view,” so it’s no surprise that the winery has one of the best in Sonoma. What’s even better is that the 710-acre estate contains 350 acres of protected open space land, so the beauty will be there for years and years to come. The winery sits high atop a ridge and offers views of the Russian River Valley, Mayacamas Mountains, and St. Helena, and is one of those places you have to experience to truly understand how magnificent it is.
Insider Tip: The Lakeside Tasting of Estate Wines, which takes place in a lakeside pavillion, is a perfect option if you want to enjoy the views and wine, but don’t have a lot of time. If you have two hours though, reserve the Lunch Tour and Tasting where you’ll tour the rolling vineyards and enjoy a relaxed lunch at a vista with breathtaking views.
100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, CA 95409, (707) 833-0242
St. Francis Winery & Vineyard’s Tuscan-inspired estate is bordered by the Mayacamas Mountains with gorgeous views of Sonoma Valley and Hood Mountain. Take the one and a half mile self-guided Vineyard Adventure tour that winds throughout the property and is marked with educational signs that explain the wine, the terroir, and the sustainable farming practices (and enjoy the many great photo opps). After, spring for either the Estate Pairings or the Grand Tastings, since both of those take place on the patio with lawn, vineyard, and mountain views.
Insider Tip: The Estate Dining Room offers remarkable views and one of the best wine and food pairings in Sonoma. The five-course fine dining experience is also a great deal at $85 per guest. Visiting during the summer is a treat, but if you find yourself there in the winter, reserve the 3pm seating so you can catch the sunset at the end of your meal.
7111 Highway 128, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-9463
The Estate Tasting room at Stonestreet has views of Alexander Valley, the Mayacamas Mountains, and a life-sized prancing horse sculpture on the lawn, but the best way to experience the unrivaled views from this extensive mountain estate is to go on the (appointment only) Mountain Excursion. During the three-hour, privately guided driving tour, you’ll see views from elevations ranging in 400 feet to 2,400 feet, learn the history of the estate, and, if you go on the 10am morning tour, enjoy a picnic lunch at an overlook nestled within the vineyards.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a more leisurely experience, but still want to spend time taking in the views, enjoy a Picnic on the Patio, which is a two-hour seated tasting experience with views of the vineyards and mountains.