Sonoma Wine Country is of course known for rolling hills and valleys, coastal vineyards, impressive winery estates, and lush forests, making it a top wine-and-nature-lover’s bucket-list destination. However, the tasting rooms of Sonoma are where the real fun happens.
From lively stand-up tasting bars to urban-style wineries with live music to lavish sit-down private tasting suites, there are winery experiences for every type of wine lover. We’ve compiled a list of 16 of our favorite spots for the best wine tasting Sonoma County has to offer.
This Russian River Valley destination known for small-production Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines offers a range of reservation-only tasting experiences. Head to the J Bubble Room to indulge in the five-course tasting menu inspired by local and seasonal fare, paired with J’s selection of award-winning wines (lamb kofta and Pinot Noir, anyone?), or enjoy the Legacy Lounge Wine Tasting, featuring flights of five of the winery’s most exclusive wines in a gorgeous outdoor setting. Those who want a more casual experience may opt for J’s Signature Tasting and sample a selection of five Russian River Valley wines. No matter which experience you choose, you’re bound to be delighted.
Insider Tip: Sky is the limit for those who select the J Vineyards Bespoke Virtual Tasting option, which allows wine lovers to imagine a completely custom experience, led by one of the winery’s senior hospitality experts.11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448 (707) 431-3646
Pioneers of cool-climate Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, Freeman Winery has helped define a more thoughtful and sophisticated winemaking style in the Sonoma region. To experience their exceptional wines and take in the stunning views of their first estate vineyard, book a private tasting and tour of their small-lot winery. Your tasting will take place in the quiet, serene cave where you’ll have the opportunity to savor Freeman’s signature Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays from the West Sonoma Coast and Green Valley of the Russian River Valley.
Insider Tip: If you’re looking for a place to stay, The Cottage sits next to the Gloria Estate Vineyard among the redwood trees. This contemporary, three-bedroom house is a relaxing getaway just down the path from the Freeman Winery.1300 Montgomery Road, Sebastopol, CA 95472, (707) 823-6937
Founded by Ben Papapietro and Bruce Perry over 35 years ago, Papapietro Perry is a welcoming place to taste wine in the Dry Creek Valley, located just a few miles from Healdsburg. Stepping foot inside the relaxed tasting room is like being welcomed into the home of its founders, where authentic hospitality is just the beginning. Sip acclaimed Pinot Noir from the tasting bar or outside on the expansive covered patio, then pair your wine with charcuterie and stunning views of vineyards and the surrounding valley.
Insider Tip: The union of “good food, good wine, and good friends” is a key mantra for Papapietro Perry, so much so that the winery shares cooking videos with recipes and wine pairings on their website. Tune in to watch Chef Jim May as he makes things like Mushroom Bread Pudding and Beef Bourguignon, then get inspired to recreate them in your own kitchen.4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-0422
With tasting rooms located in Alexander Valley at their Bell Mountain Ranch—a working estate winery with 44 acres of vineyards, 650 olive trees, an orchard, and a market garden—as well as their historic property in Healdsburg, Medlock Ames has managed to highlight all the beauty that Sonoma County has to offer, while also delivering exceptional, minimal intervention wines. Book the In the Vineyard with Ames Tour and Tasting Experience, in which you’ll join co-founder Ames Morison on an in-depth guided tour of Bell Mountain and their organic gardens. Ames will guide you through a seated tasting of library wines paired with local cheeses while sharing Medlock Ames’ farming and winemaking philosophy.
Insider Tip: For a true feast for the senses, book the Bell Mountain Immersive Sound Experience. This 90-minute private tasting includes a walking tour through the stunning property, with a self-guided audio experience developed by local sound artist, Hugh Livingston, followed by a flight of five wines.3487 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8845
Founded in 1970, this historic Sonoma Valley winery is known for its selection of single-vineyard, appellation, and low-production wines produced from grapes grown in some of the very best vineyards of Sonoma County. Taste Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast Rosé of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc, and Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, as well as limited edition wines from the famous Jack London Vineyard, named for the celebrated California author.
Insider Tip: Kenwood welcomes well-behaved pets and children at the winery. If bringing your dog, be sure to book an outdoor tasting so your furry friend can enjoy the stunning Sonoma County setting while you sip.9592 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 282-4228
This Alexander Valley vineyard and winery run by husband-and-wife team Justin and Karin Warnelius-Miller was one of the first to plant Cabernet Sauvignon in the area, which they proudly pour, along with several other selections less typical for Sonoma, as part of their intimate wine tasting experience. Visitors begin their private, appointment-only wine tasting with a tour through Garden Creek’s historic vineyards and conclude with a tasting hosted personally by the winemakers and winegrowers.
Insider Tip: Exclusivity is the name of the game at Garden Creek Vineyards, so be sure to sign up for the winery’s mailing list, as tasting appointments are available to members of this list only.2335 Geyser Road, Geyserville, CA 95441, (707) 433-8345
It’s no wonder this winery—appropriately referred to as “The Castle”—was called “One of the twelve most impressive wineries in the world,” by VinePair. This 16,000-square-foot Gothic, French-Normandy-style architectural wonder in the heart of Sonoma Valley is quite the place to taste some wine. Sip Ledson’s selection of small-lot, top-scoring wines at one of three beautifully-designed tasting bars – each named for a member of the family—or by the fireplace in one of the opulent personal tasting suites, hosted by a highly-trained wine consultant.
Insider Tip: Feeling peckish? For only $15 per person, you can add on a gourmet cheese and charcuterie plate to your private tasting experience to help soak up those handcrafted wines.7335 CA-12, Kenwood, CA 95409, (707) 537-3810
Few Sonoma County wineries capture the extraordinary Wine Country experience quite like Jordan Winery, tucked among the rolling hills of Alexander Valley in Healdsburg. If you aren’t wooed by the Library and Cellar Room, where no architectural or aesthetic detail is overlooked (including the lovingly-curated collection of vintage books, antiques, and one-of-a-kind objets d’art on display), you will be by one of the many tastings and seasonal lunches on offer at this iconic property. Book the winery’s newest experience, the Chef’s Terrace Tasting, and enjoy a one-of-a-kind culinary affair with views of estate vineyards and gardens.
Insider Tip: More than three quarters—or about 900 acres—of the Jordan estate has been preserved as natural habitat, including the nation’s largest pollinator sanctuary. Learn about some of these sustainability efforts through Jordan’s extended tour and tasting options, which feature not only world-class wines from Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, but also a first-hand look at the history and future of both Jordan Winery and Sonoma County.1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-5250
Patz & Hall, which brings over three decades of winemaking experience, is a staple in Sonoma for its elegant Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wines. Their warm and inviting Sonoma House tasting room, situated just outside of downtown Sonoma, offers panoramic views of the surrounding vineyards, providing the perfect setting to savor a glass of wine with friends or family.
Insider Tip: Visa Signature Card holders get access to special perks, which is always nice. Just inquire before booking.1474 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-5250
Quality wine meets a spirit of fun at this Healdsburg tasting room. Panoramic vineyard views welcome visitors in search of award-winning wines made primarily from Zinfandel sourced from many of California’s top growing regions, like Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile, and Russian River Valley, as well as Calistoga, Paso Robles, and Mendocino. The BACA tasting room also offers sips of sister winery WALT selections, so guests can either stick to BACA Zinfandel or mix it up with some WALT Pinot Noir.
Insider Tip: For a totally different, interactive tasting, book the BACA Sensory Experience. Indulge your inner child as you try to match the correct flavor descriptor to each wine in the flight of BACA Zinfandel.779 Westside Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 721-8616
This Certified Sustainable, family-owned winery has been producing award-winning wines for over 50 years. St. Francis has one of the most comprehensive selections of wine tasting experiences in Sonoma County. Sample Wine and Food Pairings curated by Executive Chef Peter Janiak, Estate Pairings on the Vineyard Portico, or a simple Artisan Flight while taking in the stunning vista of the Sonoma Valley.
Insider Tip: Looking for a super unique and memorable tour that lets you work up a sweat while you taste? Try the Tour de St. Francis. You’ll learn about the winery’s history, viticulture, and winemaking while sipping and propelling the sustainable, pedal-powered tasting trolley forward with your fellow passengers.100 Pythian Road at Highway 12, Santa Rosa, CA 95409, (888) 675-9463
This charming, cottage-like tasting room, located just off the Sonoma square, offers guests a laid-back setting in which to taste the winery’s award-winning Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from vineyards spanning the Pacific Coast. Book a tasting of current releases or opt for the Root 101 tasting to experience “1000 Miles of Pinot” selections of single-vineyard Pinot Noir paired with carefully-curated seasonal bites. Got a sweet tooth? Try the delicious Wine & Chocolate tasting to find out just how well chocolate can match up with Pinot Noir.
Insider Tip: WALT also has a location at Napa’s Oxbow Public Market to suit all of your wine travel plans.380 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 933-4440
Nestled in the picturesque Sonoma Valley region of Kenwood, at the foot of the Mayacamas Mountains, is Landmark Vineyards’ Kenwood Estate. Surrounded by lush gardens and stunning views of Sugarloaf Ridge, this beautiful winery is a welcoming place to sample world-class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines. While a signature tasting is sure to please, if you’re with a group, book the Bocce Ball Court Experience for a fun afternoon of Bocce, cheese and charcuterie, and, of course, wine.
Insider Tip: Landmark is known for its welcoming hospitality, so it’s not surprising the winery throws some fun, food-centric events. Their Half Shells & Chardonnay Lunch and Annual Lobster Feed are always a tasty hit.101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 833-0053
This winery may just take your breath away with its striking architecture, gorgeous photography from famed photographer Andy Katz, light-as-air stemware, floor-to-ceiling windows that frame Sonoma County’s natural beauty, and elegant, cool-climate wines. Art and wine lovers alike will delight in each experience this Healdsburg property offers, like the Soil Series Experience, which introduces guests to Aperture’s Bordeaux-inspired wines, and the Site Series Experience, which allows guests to level up their understanding and appreciation of wunderkind winemaker Jesse Katz’s vision and talent through site-driven and single-vineyard wines.
Insider Tip: Aperture offers quite a selection of curated and bespoke virtual tasting options so you can sip these top-scoring Sonoma County wines from the comfort of your own home and on your own schedule.12291 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 200-7891
This tasting room in downtown Healdsburg takes not only its name—a nod to the cool coastal area from where Marine Layer crafts its wines—but its entire aesthetic from coastal California inspiration. Not only will guests be able to take in the warm and bright atmosphere, created by local design duo HommeBoys, while sipping award-winning Sonoma Coast wines made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, but they will also enjoy an exciting culinary experience created by neighboring restaurant Little Saint, a 100% plant-based restaurant with a fresh new food and cocktail menu update from chef Bryan Oliver.
Insider Tip: Marine Layer is sure to become one of Healdsburg’s most coveted tasting room reservations, so be sure to join their wine club for complimentary visits, as well as fully customizable wine allocations, access to exclusive bottlings, and invitations to members-only events.308 B Center Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 395-0830
The term “Bricoleur” refers loosely to one who is—on the fly—able to fashion something new with whatever is on-hand, without any clear plan. Take one step into the dramatic tasting room at this property in the Sonoma County town of Windsor, and you would be hard-pressed to think anything about Bricoleur was thrown together haphazardly. Already heralded by the San Francisco Bay Area press as the region’s “Best New Emerging Winery” and “Most Romantic Winery,” the property features culinary gardens, fruit trees, olive groves, chickens, and honeybees, as well as a massive barn-turned-tasting-room with an open kitchen to produce Bricoleur’s creative food and wine pairing experiences.
Insider Tip: Don’t miss one of Bricoleur’s impressive wine and food pairing experiences, such as the newly debuted “Soaring,” a delightful pairing of three wines with seasonal small bites. For a more immersive pairing experience, try “Rooted,” a six-course collaboration between Bricoleur’s esteemed culinary team and James Beard Award-winning chef Charlie Palmer. Each wine is expertly paired with a seasonal dish made from ingredients grown on the estate. The mushroom and goat cheese arancini, paired with the Brut Rosé, will change your life.7394 Starr Road, Windsor, CA 95492, (707) 857-5700