Kenwood Wineries: Two-Day Tasting Itinerary

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Kenwood may be a small town, but it should not be overlooked when visiting Sonoma County. The wineries and picturesque views of this Sonoma Valley gem make it an excellent destination for wine enthusiasts seeking a relaxing experience without a lot of time spent in the car. We’ve compiled seven of the best wineries to visit on a two-day tour, so you can maximize your time while also enjoying the best that Kenwood has to offer.

Day 1

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Wineries / Kenwood

Ledson Winery & Vineyards

About an hour and a half from San Francisco, “The Castle” is an architectural showstopper that’s not to be missed. And though the 16,000-square-foot, French Normandy-inspired structure and its sweeping staircases, cathedral-style windows, and hand-cut wood inlays are the initial draw, once you settle in to your tasting, you’ll realize that the hospitality and wines are the true protagonists in this story. The Classic Tasting at The Noble Tasting Bar is an excellent introduction to the myriad of varietals Ledson offers (the winery began with merlot, but has since branched out to include more than 20 varietals and blends), while the Private Wine Tastings that take place in a private suite or on a veranda overlooking the vineyard are perfect for those looking for something a little more in-depth and memorable.

Insider Tip

The Ledson Winery Marketplace sells gourmet sandwiches, salads, and other treats that you can buy for a picnic lunch to enjoy in the majestic Oak Grove on the property.

Details Visit Website
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Wineries / Kenwood

St. Francis Winery

The Mission-style tasting room at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, complete with a statue of St. Francis of Assisi and a bell tower that houses a 1,000-pound bronze bell cast in Italy (that rings on the hour), is another architectural delight along your Kenwood wineries tour. The tasting flights are a great introduction to the winery’s bold, full-bodied wines, which is best known for its Sonoma cabernet, chardonnay, old-vine zinfandel, and merlot. For those looking for something a little more in-depth, the award-winning five-course wine and food pairing is a fun way to learn more about the wine, meet new friends, and enjoy a delicious meal.

Insider Tip

Leave time to wander the well-tended grounds and take in views of the Mayacamas Mountains and the Wild Oak Vineyard where a myriad of varietals are grown, including chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, sauvignon blanc, and merlot.

Photo courtesy of Facebook: St. Francis Winery

Details Visit Website
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Wineries / Kenwood

Landmark Vineyards

Kenwood’s Landmark Vineyards is known for its chardonnay and signature winemaking style, which uses whole cluster pressed grapes, fermentation by native yeast strains, and aging in French oak. It’s also set in a beautiful location at the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountains, which makes the Estate Tour and Tasting a popular option. You’ll learn about the winery’s history and viticultural practices, see the production and barrel storage facilities, and finish with a tasting of their signature wines.

Insider Tip

If you visit on a Saturday between May and early October, you can take a (free) horse-drawn carriage tour where you’ll learn about estate viticulture practices, winemaking techniques, and Sonoma wine history, and get some adorable photos as well.

Details Visit Website
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Wineries / Kenwood

Chateau St. Jean

Return to the morning’s European theme at Chateau St. Jean, a winemaking estate with a Mediterranean-style villa and rustic countryside gardens — reminiscent of those found in Italy and the South of France. Thought of as one of the leaders in single vineyard designated wines, this winery is best known for its chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon. If seeing the gardens is a priority, The Chef’s Table tasting, which includes a tour of the grounds (glass in hand) followed by an amuse-bouche and wine pairing in the historic 1920s Chateau, is a fantastic option. If you’re looking to enjoy the views with a more casual vibe, Bottles and Bites is the way to go, which comes with a bottle of wine and a cheese and charcuterie platter to be savored in the picnic grounds under the Redwoods.

Insider Tip

Chateau St. Jean is the only Wine Country winery with an escape room. You’ll have 60 minutes to solve puzzles and riddles to “unlock the secret of the Chateau” as well as tastes of wine along the way.

Details Visit Website

Day 2

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Wineries / Kenwood

Paradise Ridge Winery - Kenwood

Paradise Ridge Winery’s Russian River Valley Estate was decimated in the 2017 North Bay fires, but co-owners and siblings Sonia Byck-Barwick and Rene Byck are in the process of rebuilding and the harvests are back to normal, which means there are more food-friendly sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, and pinot noir wines on the way. While the Santa Rosa Tasting Room is re-open for business, you can also experience a selection of their handcrafted wines at the tasting room and Sensory Garden in Kenwood. The Herb Garden & Wine Sensory Experience (reservations required) is the perfect way to start your day while your palate is fresh to really pick up on the bitter, bright, savory, and sweet notes that you’ll experience while learning about the chemistry of wine and their relationship with herbs.

Insider Tip

The estate is known for its sculpture garden, but the tasting room was also designed to showcase art, so be sure to take some time to look at what’s hanging on the walls.

Photo courtesy of Facebook: Paradise Ridge Winery

Details
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Wineries / Kenwood

Kenwood Vineyards

Kenwood Vineyards was founded in 1970 — well before Sonoma’s AVAs were established — and is dedicated to producing wines that capture and respect each vineyard’s distinct characteristics, including the iconic Jack London single vineyard, award-winning cabernet sauvignon, zinfandel, merlot, and syrah wines. At the historic tasting room dating back to 1906, you’ll have the option of the Vintner’s Choice Tasting, featuring wines exclusive to the winery, or the Classic Tasting of five well-known classics.

Insider Tip

If you’re looking to buy wine to enjoy later that day, the Six Ridges series, “crafted to reflect the wild of Sonoma,” is an excellent and affordable option (especially the pinot noir).

Details Visit Website
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Wineries / Kenwood

Kunde Family Winery

For your last Kenwood winery experience, leave a couple of hours to enjoy the magical Mountain Top Tasting at this certified-sustainable property, known for its chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and zinfandel. The guided experience begins with a vineyard tour followed by transportation to the tasting deck at an elevation of 1,400 feet. There, you’ll taste your way through a selection of small production wines while taking in stunning views of Sonoma Valley — a reminder of why Northern California is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Insider Tip

If the weather isn’t cooperating for the “Mountain Top Tasting,” opt for the seated “Cave Tasting” inside of an aging cave carved into the volcanic hillside (only available during the winter).

Details

Daisy Barringer

Daisy Barringer is a freelance writer who grew up in San Francisco and now lives there with her 150-pound Saint Bernard, Monkey. When she’s not writing about food and drink, travel, and other ways to have the most fun, she’s out and about actually having the most fun (otherwise known as “research”). Follow her adventures on Instagram @daisysf.

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