A Sparkling Wine Tour of Northern Sonoma County

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France may have the literal trademark on Champagne, but the bubbly concoctions long-produced in Sonoma County are no less delicious. The northern part of the county hosts a collection of cheery wineries that release sparkling Bruts, Rosés, and Malbecs every year, often in small batches. Here’s where you can find the best bubbles in the area.


DAY 1

1
Wineries / Healdsburg

J Vineyards & Winery

J Vineyards & Winery is the best place to start a tasting tour of the bubbly side of Sonoma County wines, since they have a whole room dedicated to sparkling wine – the Bubble Room. The Healdsburg tasting room is lavishly decorated and is considered a must-visit spot on the west coast by many publications. Several sparkling wine varieties, like Rosé and Chardonnay, are available for tasting anytime of the year.

Insider Tip

From Thursday to Sunday, the winery puts together a wine and food pairing experience in the Bubble Room for $95 a person.

Directions

From 101 North, take exit 499 for Arata Lane. Turn left onto Arata, then turn right onto Old Redwood Highway. Turn left onto Vandenburg Road and the winery will be on your left.

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2
Wineries / Healdsburg

Thomas George Estates

This Healdsburg winery produces small batches of terrific wines and a tasting room sleekly designed with dark furniture. As with the other varieties, the sparkling wines offered for tastings change with the seasons, but there is always something bright and bubbly to try. On weekends, tastings also occur in the wine cave, where visitors can watch the wine age inside the barrel.

Insider Tip

Light, crisp, and refreshing, Thomas George Estates’ sparkling Rosé is an excellent choice for a weekend brunch.

Directions

Turn right onto Vandenburg Road and turn left onto Old Redwood Highway. Turn right onto Eastside Road and turn right onto Wohler Road. Turn right onto Westside Road and the winery will be on your left.

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4
Wineries / Sebastopol

Iron Horse Vineyards

This scenic winery, located within the Green Valley, specializes in sparkling wine. The outdoor tasting area is quaint, but the bubbles are spectacular, and the views of Sonoma County are impeccable. The staff is knowledgeable, serious about sparkling wine, and completely unpretentious.

Insider Tip

Head into Graton after your tasting and end the day with dinner and a round of bocce at Underwood Bar and Bistro.

Directions

Turn left out of vineyard and turn left onto CA-121 N. Turn right onto CA-116 and turn right to merge onto Hwy 101 North. Use the right 2 lanes to take exit 488B to merge onto CA-12 W toward Sebastopol. Turn right onto Fulton Road and turn left at the first cross street onto Occidental Road. Turn right onto CA-116 W and turn left onto Ross Station Road.

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DAY 2

5
Wineries / Forestville And Graton

Paul Mathew Vineyards

Not only is Paul Mathew Vineyards known for its fantastic sparkling wine options, the vineyard is a sustainability pioneer with a focus on low-input winemaking, meaning the winemakers use local yeast to ferment the grapes. This results in easily drinkable wines that Paul Mathew Vineyards creates in small batches, like the bubbly Brut Rosé. The winery hosts a busy season of events within its homey tasting room, including monthly “Foodie Seminars” on Saturdays. The surrounding Graton area is very walkable, with lots of window shopping opportunities on call.

Insider Tip

Head over to the nearby Willow Wood Market Cafe before the tasting for a great open-faced egg sandwich with Fontana cheese and pesto.

Directions

From Hwy 101 North, take exit 491 for Steele Lane/Guerneville Road and turn left. Turn left onto Vine Hill Road. Turn right onto Graton Road and the winery is on the right.

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7
Wineries / Healdsburg

Toad Hollow Vineyards

Toads adorn the walls and the bottles at the tasting room of Toad Hollow Vineyards in Healdsburg, but the sparkling options are princely. Toad Hollow Risque sparkling wine and Amplexus Cremant Brut Sparkling 12/750 are two favorites, and are available to taste. The tasting room is located near the downtown Healdsburg area, home to many stylish boutiques and cutting edge restaurants.

Insider Tip

This is a great place to stock up — many of the bottles, including the sparkling wines, are less than $20 each.

Directions

Head northeast on Westside Road and turn left onto Healdsburg Avenue. The winery will be on your left.

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8
Wineries / Healdsburg

Williamson Wines

Every day at the rustic tasting room of Williamson Wines is a celebration of Healdsburg’s friendly Wine Country culture. The staff at Williamson Wines are funny, knowledgeable, and great conversationalists, so there should be no fear of snobbery, and the sparkling wines, like the “Champagne-style” white wine and sparkling Malbec, are carefully crafted and unique, as are other esoteric favorites like the Tempranillo or sweet dessert wine.

Insider Tip

The wine tastings are complimentary and so is the enviable cheese selection.

Directions

Head southeast on Healdsburg Avenue, turn left onto Matheson Street, and the winery will be on your right.

Details

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