Sonoma County is one of the most magical places to go wine tasting thanks to its award-winning wines, stunning views, and fantastic dining options. And while sipping wines in a tasting room is a great way to explore the different varietals available in the Sonoma region, if you’re looking for a more unique and in-depth tasting experience, these eight wineries all provide memorable grape to glass adventures that take wine tasting to the next level.
Let's take a walk through the vineyards!
For a one-of-a-kind Sonoma tour, head to Medlock Ames’ working estate, Bell Mountain Ranch, for the Immersive Sound Experience. The 90-minute private tasting begins with a 45-minute self-guided audio tour developed by a local sound artist that allows you to explore the sights and sounds of the beautiful 338-acre ranch, including portions of the 44 acres of vineyards, native oak woodlands, olive groves, and market garden of seasonal vegetables and flowers. The audio tour gives you a history of the winery and land, a chance to pause and take in views, and lets you truly understand what makes this Sonoma County winery so unique. And then, after you’ve walked and learned, you’ll sit for a much-earned guided tasting of six current release wines paired with local cheeses.
Insider tip: If the weather isn’t cooperating or you’re not in the mood for a walk, you can also experience Medlock Ames’ wines at its cozy tasting room, a refurbished 100-year-old general store in Healdsburg. There, you can experience a signature tasting or a wine pairing lunch with food from three Michelin-starred Single Thread.
Bell Mountain Ranch: 13414 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8845
Healdsburg Tasting Room: 3487 Alexander Valley Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-8845
Jordan Vineyard & Winery offers several delightful ways to taste its top-rated French-inspired wines, but if you want to really get a sense of the stunning property and take in the views then the Estate Tour & Tasting (offered June through October) is a must. The day begins with breakfast and bubbles in the courtyard and is followed by a journey around Jordan’s 1,200-acre estate in a Mercedes Sprinter. The van will stop at different vineyards where you’ll sip Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon with paired light bites, followed by a wine pairing lunch atop a hill. There’s also an olive oil tasting and a chance to see the winery’s newly-planted pollinator sanctuaries. It all adds up to an epic day in Wine Country.
Insider tip: If you don’t have time for the three-hour Estate Tour, spending an afternoon on the outdoor patio for the Chef’s Terrace Tasting (1.5 hours) is an excellent option.
1474 Alexander Valley Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 431-5250
Dry Creek Vineyard is known for its commitment to sustainability, and you can get an up-close look at the way the winery maximizes biodiversity and vineyard longevity by booking the Off-Road Vineyard Tour. During the tour, your group of up to four people will take a ride in the winery’s utility task vehicle (basically an oversized ATV) and get a chance to learn about the farming practices, take in the gorgeous views, and sip wines made from the grapes in the different vineyards you visit.
Insider tip: This wine tasting and tour experience takes around 2.5 hours and is only available at 11 a.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from March through October, so be sure to plan ahead.
3770 Lambert Bridge Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-1000
Truett Hurst Winery bills itself as a “holistic” Sonoma County vineyard and farm, meaning that they approach every aspect—from the construction materials of the winery to the animals that call the land home to the water in the nearby creek—with sustainable practices and a commitment to improving the health of the land and space. The best way to truly understand what this means (and to meet lots of adorable farm animals along the way) is via the Eco-Estate Tour & Tasting. The experience begins in the tasting room with a glass of rosé cuvée, followed by a walk down to the creek and through the 26-acre Certified Organic and Biodynamic estate, where you’ll see for yourself not only the beauty of the land but what environmental stewardship in viticulture looks like. At the end, you’ll take a seat at the picturesque Creekside Lounge, where you’ll taste through several wines paired with local artisan cheeses.
Insider tip: Bring quarters so you can get food to feed the goats!
5610 Dry Creek Rd, Healdsburg, CA 95448, (707) 433-9545
Benziger Family Winery offers several ways to tour its distinct vineyards that are tended to using Biodynamic, organic, and sustainable farming methods. The 75-minute Biodynamic Tractor Tram Tour is a great way to get a close-up look at its beautiful Sonoma Valley vineyards while also learning about the farming practices. The one-and-a-half-hour Tribute Estate Tour goes slightly more in depth with a behind-the-scenes look at the estate, winery, and wine cave, and includes wine and barrel tastings along the way, as well as a seated tasting in a private room inside of the cave.
Insider tip: Grab everything you’ll need for a picnic lunch at the nearby Glen Ellen Village Market and enjoy it in the picturesque (and shaded) picnic area.
1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, CA 95442, (888) 490-2739
Landmark Vineyards is known for its handcrafted, ultra-premium Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and has two estates where you can taste them for yourself. If you want a side of history lesson with your tasting, however, you’ll want to head to the Hop Kiln Estate in the heart of the Russian River Valley for the Historical Tour & Tasting. That’s because this estate is home to a tasting room set inside the original 1905 kilns (used for drying hops) and is a registered California Historical Landmark that’s recognized as “the most significant surviving example of a stone hop kiln in the North Coast region.” This is one of the few remaining hop kilns of its style in the U.S., and you’ll learn all about it while sipping award-winning wines. After, you’ll head to the vineyards with a glass of estate-grown Pinot Gris for a chance to learn more about the terroir. Finally, you’ll sit for a tasting of three more wines paired with local Sonoma-made cheeses.
Insider tip: Make a day of it by booking the Bocce & Wine experience, where your group will each get a glass of wine and cheese and charcuterie to enjoy while playing bocce ball for two hours.
101 Adobe Canyon Rd, Kenwood, CA 95452, (707) 833-0053
Reservations: Required for the Tour de St. Francis
The 100% Certified Sustainable, family-owned St. Francis Winery & Vineyards is invested in preserving Sonoma County’s natural resources. Known for its award-winning wines, St. Francis is also noted for its mission-style tasting room with a bell tower that houses a 1,000-pound bronze bell cast by the Marinelli Foundry in Italy—which can be heard throughout the valley when it chimes on the hour. There are several tasting experiences where you can enjoy the wines, but as far as wine tours go, the one you’ll remember for years to come is the Tour de St. Francis Pedal Trolley Vineyard Tour & Tasting. During this tour, you’ll climb aboard a pedal-powered trolley (fully sustainable, of course), where you’ll rove through the vineyards while learning about this long-standing winery and its winemaking practices, all while sipping wines along the way.
Insider tip: The Tour de St. Francis is a seasonal experience available from May to October on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday at either 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. It can accommodate up to 15 guests, so it’s the perfect wine tour for a celebratory occasion with a group.
100 Pythian Road at Hwy. 12 Santa Rosa, CA 95409, (888) 675-9463
McEvoy Ranch, which started as an olive oil farm and is now one of the leaders in Certified Organic, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, expanded to add wine to its portfolio in 2010. The dog-friendly private and group ranch tours allow you to learn about (and taste) both during a walk through the olive orchards and vineyards. There’s also a visit to the olive mill, where you’ll learn about the oil-extracting process. The group tour lasts 90 minutes, while the private tour, which includes a few additional stops at locations around the ranch, is about two hours.
Insider tip: Would you really visit Sonoma Wine Country and not come back with a special gift or two? The gift shop sells olive oil, tapenades, honey, and more, and is the perfect place to stock up on farm-to-table goodies and hostess gifts.
5935 Red Hill Road, Petaluma, CA 94952, (707) 778-2307