Where to Go for Free Wine Tasting in Sonoma County

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The only thing better than cruising around the Sonoma County countryside tasting world-renowned wines, is doing so while saving money on tasting fees. At the end of the day, money saved on tasting fees is money spent on bottles of your favorites to take home, so we’ve compiled a list of eight wineries that offer complimentary tastings, spaced out over a two-day period.

Day 1

1
Wineries / Healdsburg

Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery

Book a tour at Ferrari-Carano, and you won't be disappointed. Boasting one of the most opulent winery grounds in the Dry Creek Valley, the garden and chateau are worth the price of admission alone, not to mention the fabulous wines. While not technically a free tasting experience, they will waive tasting fees with a purchase, depending on which tour you take.

Insider Tip

The West Face and Reserve Cabs are incredible, and can only be tasted downstairs in the Enoteca Reserve Wine Tasting Bar.

Directions

Head north or south on Hwy 101 toward Geyserville, depending on where you are coming from, and take the Geyserville Hwy 128 exit (512). Head west on Canyon Road to Dry Creek Road and turn right. Proceed for a couple of miles until you reach the winery.

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3
Wineries / Geyserville

Frick Winery

The next stop on the tour is a charming little locale called Frick Winery, which is favored by locals and those in the know. Bill Frick is a one-man operation and does everything from growing his Dry Creek Valley grapes to pouring tastings in his little cottage tasting room. Try the Cinsaut for flavors not usually found in grapes grown in the northern California wine country.

Insider Tip

Frick Winery's tasting room is only open on weekends, so be sure to plan your itinerary accordingly.

Directions

Head back to Dry Creek Road and turn right, then take an immediate left back onto Canyon Road toward Hwy 101. In less than half a mile, turn left on Stefani Road. Take Stefani for .9 miles and turn left onto Walling Road. Frick Winery is on your right after about 300 feet.

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4
Wineries / Healdsburg

Alexander Valley Vineyards

A visit to Alexander Valley would not be complete without stopping by Alexander Valley Vineyards. With quirky names for their fantastic Zinfandels, such as “Sin Zin,” “Temptation,” and “Redemption,” it’s easy to see that AVV takes a playful approach to serious wine. Tasting is complimentary, but we recommend ponying up 10 bucks for the “vineyard hike” to immerse in the comprehensive experience.

Insider Tip

Be sure to take the cavern tour, where you'll learn the different flavor profiles between wines aged in American oak barrels and wine aged in French oak.

Directions

Turn left on Walling Road and head back toward Canyon Road. Follow it east to Hwy 101, proceed under the overpass to the stop sign at Hwy 128, and go right. Proceed through downtown Geyserville and turn left following Hwy 128 East. Follow Hwy 128 for about 8.5 miles then turn left onto T Alexander Rd.

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Day 2

5
Wineries / Healdsburg

Rodney Strong Vineyards

As one of the larger and more famous wineries on the tour, Rodney Strong Vineyards offers a wide variety of tasting experiences for individuals and groups. Take the self-guided tour and read about the history of Rodney Strong as you stroll the grounds, or sign up to be guided by their knowledgeable staff. VIP tours include tasting wines in various stages in the process, including barrel tasting.

Insider Tip

Rodney Strong Winery hosts one of the largest summer concert series in all of the northern California wine country, attracting such famous acts as Kenny Loggins, Michael MacDonald, and George Benson.

Directions

From Santa Rosa take 101 North to exit at Arata Ln. and go left under the overpass. Take a right onto Old redwood Highway and proceed to 1.4 miles. Turn left onto Vandenburg Road.

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6
Wineries / Healdsburg

Optima Winery

Considered to be somewhat of a hidden gem by Healdsburg locals, Optima Wine Cellars is an excellent example of a small, family-operated winery that painstakingly crafts delicious Sonoma County Wines. Wine maker Mike Duffy utilizes grapes from several north county vineyards to make his Zinfandels, Cabernets, and Petite Syrahs, as well as a family vineyard in Alexander Valley.

Insider Tip

Optima Wine Cellarscombines the tasting room with the cellar, so that wine enthusiasts can experience the wine making process in addition to the flavors.Optima Wine Cellarscombines the tasting room with the cellar, so that wine enthusiasts can experience the wine making process in addition to the flavors.

Directions

Take Vandenburg Road back to Old Redwood Hwy and turn left. Proceed 1.7 miles to Grant Avenue and turn right.

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7
Wineries / Healdsburg

Blanchard Family Wines

In a land of top-notch wineries, Blanchard Family Wines stands out as a small artisan winery that offers an extremely personal, complimentary tasting experience. Owner and winemaker Mark Blanchard proudly guides visitors on a tour of the production facility while pouring barrel tastings and educating on the winemaking process. The Jackson James Zinfandel is a great example of the flavor of the Russian River Valley, and if white wine is your thing, the Long Blue Line Chardonnay is not to be missed.

Insider Tip

One of the fun traditions surrounding the tasting experience at Blanchard Family Wines is decorating the wine barrels with colorful chalk.

Directions

Head back west on Grant. Avenue and enter Hwy 101 North. Take the 503 exit toward downtown Healdsburg. Stay straight and proceed on Healdsburg Avenue and veer left to Vine Street. Continue to W. North Street. and turn left.

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8
Wineries / Healdsburg

Williamson Wines

Just off the Healdsburg Plaza, within walking distance of dozens of shops and restaurants, Williamson Wines is a great place to wind down the tour. Sit down and sample incredible wines that are always paired with local artisan cheese creations, then explore the downtown Healdsburg nightlife.

Insider Tip

Williamson Wines is open until 7 p.m., which is much later than most tasting rooms. Feel free to arrive late and stay, or kick off the evening with a quick tasting.

Directions

Head back the way you came on W North Street and turn right onto Vine Street. Proceed to Matheson Street and turn left. Williamson Wines is a couple of block down on the right.

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STAY, PLAY, EAT & DRINK IN SONOMA COUNTY

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