15 Best Wine Tasting Rooms in Sonoma County

  • Wine
  • by DEVIN PARR
  • on NOVEMBER 8, 2021
  • 37250
  • 1
Snacks at Marine Layer tasting room, Courtesy of Gretchen Gause Photography
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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 15 of our favorite spots for the best wine tasting Sonoma County has to offer.

Garden Creek Vineyards

Courtesy of Garden Creek Vineyards

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 of aged wines by candlelight in the barrel room.

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

Ledson Winery & Vineyards

Courtesy of Ledson Winery & Vineyards | Charene Beltramo

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

Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Courtesy of Jordan Vineyard & Winery

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 recently renovated 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. And, for the ultimate indulgence, starting this Fall, Champagne and caviar will now be incorporated for the first time into the daily winery experiences.

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

BACA Wines

Courtesy of BACA Wines

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 Napa, Paso Robles, and Lodi. 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

Medlock Ames

Courtesy of Medlock Ames | Kim Pasquali

With tasting rooms located in Alexander Valley at their Bell Mountain Ranch – a working estate winery with 55 acres of vineyards, 800 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 signature 90-minute Olive Grove Experience and sip either their rosé or sauvignon blanc paired with a Wine Country picnic basket packed with treats from Cowgirl Creamery, Red Bird Bakery Bread, and Volo chocolate, not to mention their organically-farmed estate olive oil.

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 six wines paired with a seasonal, organic local cheese plate.

3487 Alexander Valley Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8845

J Vineyards & Winery

Courtesy of J Vineyards & Winery

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 (Hamachi crudo and Brut Rosé, anyone?), or enjoy the “Legacy on the Terrace” 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) 431-5430

Kenwood Vineyards

Courtesy of Kenwood Vineyards

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, Dry Creek Valley zinfandel and merlot, 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

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

Courtesy of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

This Certified Sustainable, family-owned winery is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. In addition to a special Anniversary tasting flight, as well as exclusive releases and rare, collector’s bottles on offer in celebration of this big milestone, 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 Tasting Flight while taking in the stunning vista of the Sonoma Valley.

Insider Tip: Care to work up a bit of a sweat while you taste? Try the Tour de St. Francis. 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

WALT Wines

Courtesy of WALT

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” – five-to-six selections of single-vineyard pinot noir. 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 locations in downtown Healdsburg and Napa’s Oxbow market to suit all of your wine travel plans.

380 First Street West, Sonoma, CA 95476, (707) 933-4440

The Drink

Courtesy of Devin Parr

Far more than your standard winery tasting room, The Drink is like your favorite neighborhood hangout. With two wineries under one roof – Rootdown Wine Cellars and Leo Steen Wines – visitors can sip a broad selection of truly unique wines, from organic, single-vineyard, and low-intervention bottlings made from offbeat grape varieties, to fun, porch-pounder style sips with eye-catching labels, all while enjoying the unmistakable Healdsburg vibe. Be sure to stop in on one of The Drink’s “First Fridays,” featuring food, music, and, of course, wine.

Insider Tip: Every Monday through Saturday, from 7AM to 11AM, get your caffeine fix at the Drink’s adorable coffee cart to lay the foundation for a day of wine tasting.

53 Front Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-3097

Banshee Wines

Courtesy of Banshee Wines

This happening spot located in downtown Healdsburg, just off the Plaza, was once a bar in the Dogpatch neighborhood of San Francisco. Inspired by the friendly and casual wine bars of Europe, guests regularly spill out onto the sidewalks of Healdsburg while sipping beautifully-crafted yet affordable wines, taking in lively tunes, and enjoying the sense of community that comes with this shared experience.

Insider Tip: Prefer something more structured? Book the Flight Tasting and sip a lineup of five featured wines, including Sonoma Coast chardonnay, sauvignon blanc, and pinot noir, some exciting single-vineyard-designate selections, and even a few wines from other celebrated appellations.

325 Center Street, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 395-0915

Aperture Cellars

Courtesy of Aperture Cellars

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

Marine Layer Wines

Courtesy of Gretchen Gause Photography

This brand new 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 new spot from SingleThread owners, Kyle and Katina Connaughton, opening later this year.

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

Bricoleur Vineyards

Courtesy of Bricoleur Vineyards

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 brand new 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: Bricoleur recently debuted their new six-course pairing menu called “Rooted,” a collaboration between their culinary team and James Beard Award-winning chefs Charlie Palmer and Nate Appleman. Each wine is expertly paired with a seasonal dish made from ingredients grown on the estate. The goat cheese panna cotta with pink peppercorns, paired with the Rosé of Pinot Noir, will change your life.

7394 Starr Road, Windsor, CA 95492, (707) 857-5700

Abbot’s Passage Winery & Mercantile

Courtesy of Abbot’s Passage

The team behind this Glen Ellen winery and mercantile, founded by sixth generation vintner Katie Bundschu and family, says they’re “inspired by the paths less traveled.” This sentiment is clear from the selection of small-lot, co-fermented wine blends as well as the thoughtfully curated apparel, gift items, and unique provisions for sale, each hand-selected by Katie, with an emphasis on supporting female-owned businesses and sustainably made, locally sourced crafts. Nestled between rows of 100-year-old vines, Abbot’s Passage is the perfect place to escape over a glass or two of wine in one of Sonoma County’s most bohemian areas.

Insider Tip: The Abbot’s Passage Shuffleboard Club invites guests to enjoy two hours of play on one of the winery’s private shuffleboard courts while sipping wines and noshing on a seasonal grazing board featuring house-made snacks and locally-sourced cheeses and charcuterie.

777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (707) 939-3017

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Author

Devin Parr

Devin Parr is a San Diego-based freelance writer and consultant specializing in wine, travel and lifestyle. In addition to covering the global wine industry, she is the resident expert in Temecula Valley Southern California Wine Country, serving as the region’s ambassador on behalf of the Temecula Valley Winegrowers Association. She holds a certification in wine expertise from the Apicius International School of Hospitality in Florence, Italy, as well as the Wine and Spirit Education Trust (WSET) Diploma. In 2017, she was named one of Wine Enthusiast Magazine's Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers. Follow her adventures at @thesocalwinegal and www.devinparr.com.

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