The Best Wine & Food Pairing Experiences in Sonoma County

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  • by DAISY BARRINGER
  • on MARCH 16, 2022
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Julia Child once wisely proclaimed: “Wine is meant to be with food—that’s the point of it,” but that wasn’t always an option for people visiting Sonoma County wineries. After all, it was not so long ago that if you wanted to enjoy your Sonoma wine tasting with a nibble, your options were limited to cheese plates and BYO deli sandwiches.

And while we will never speak ill of enjoying a deli sandwich piled high with salami and cheese while sipping a local chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon, more and more Sonoma wineries are starting to offer true gastronomic experiences in addition to their standard picnic fare. This gives wineries a chance to showcase talented chefs who can work wonders with the local bounty, and offer immersive tasting experiences and hospitality that transforms wine tasting from an impersonal “belly up at the bar” moment into an intimate and memorable event. Read on to learn more about ten Sonoma County wineries offering amazing food and wine pairing adventures.

1
Wineries / Healdsburg

J Vineyards & Winery

The J Bubble Room is a delightful Sonoma lunch experience inside the Bubble Room Lounge, an elegant restaurant with floor-to-ceiling windows and floating glass bubble light fixtures. Executive Chef Carl Shelton showcases creative culinary techniques that bring out the best of Winemaker Nicole Hitchcock’s wines. The five-course menu changes every six to eight weeks and always features the best local ingredients thoughtfully paired with a mix of red and white wine, as well as sparkling wine, for which the winery is most known.

Photo courtesy of J Vineyards

Details Visit Website
2
Wineries / Healdsburg

Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Nestled in the hills of Sonoma’s Alexander Valley, Jordan Winery is known for its French-inspired wines, gorgeous chateau, and views of rolling hills and vineyards. Experience all three during the Winery Tour & Tasting, which includes a tour of the property followed by a seated tasting of current releases, including a Russian River Valley Chardonnay, paired with a small bite, and an older vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, paired with a selection of artisan cheeses. For a more robust wine pairing and tasting experience, choose The Ultimate Healdsburg Wine Tour that begins in the charming courtyard with a continental breakfast and sparkling wine, followed by a sprinter van ride around the 1,200-acre estate, al fresco wine tastings with food pairings, and a pairing lunch at the estate’s highest hilltop.

Photo courtesy of Jordan Vineyard & Winery

Details Visit Website
3
Wineries / Kenwood

St. Francis Winery & Vineyards

St. Francis is a 100% Certified Sustainable winery with a mission-style tasting room topped by a bell tower that houses a 1,000-pound bronze bell (cast by the Marinelli Foundry in Italy) which chimes on the hour. The winery is well known for its food and wine pairings created by Executive Chef Peter Janiak, who focuses on seasonal pairings that feature fresh vegetables and herbs from the estate's two-acre garden. The classic Wine & Food Pairing is a communal five-course fine dining experience that takes place in the Estate dining room. For those who prefer something a little lighter, the Estate Pairings include a lineup of four wines paired with appetizer-sized delicacies on the Vineyard Portico.

Photo courtesy of St. Francis Winery

Details Visit Website
4
Wineries / Sonoma

WALT Wines

WALT has two tasting rooms, one near the Oxbow Public Market in Napa and another right off of the Sonoma Plaza in downtown Sonoma. Explore the terroir of 1,000 miles of pinot during the Root 101 Experience, a seated tasting featuring five to six single-vineyard pinot noirs with food pairings from one Michelin-starred Napa restaurant La Toque. For those who’d prefer to indulge their sweet tooth instead, there’s a Wine & Chocolate Tasting that pairs red wine – in this case pinot noir – with chocolate.

Photo courtesy of WALT Wines

Details Visit Website
5
Wineries / Healdsburg

Williamson Wines

Williamson is all about flexibility, which means that guests have a slew of choices regarding what they eat and drink and where. At the Icon Pairing, guests typically taste one white wine and four reds, all paired with small bites. For Bordeaux-lovers, there’s the Meritage Bordeaux Style Wine & Food Pairing, which includes all Bordeaux-style wines, also paired with small bites, and the Reserve Bordeaux Style Tasting, which is similar, but with reserve wines only. The Mixed Six Wine & Food Experience is ideal for anyone who wants to explore rosé, pinot noir, grenache, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Bordeaux. And each one comes with the option to increase the tasting food to lunch-sized portions for just an additional $15. While these all take place in the downtown Healdsburg tasting room, Williamson also offers a Private Cellar Luncheon at the Estate, an exclusive five-course lunch hosted by winemaker Bill Williamson himself.

Photo courtesy of Williamson Wines

Details Visit Website
6
Wineries / Sonoma

Ram's Gate Winery

Sitting atop a hill with endless views of the Carneros AVA is the Ram’s Gate tasting room, a modern interpretation of a weathered farmhouse where one can enjoy a range of tasting experiences, including two that are culinary-focused. The Five-Course Wine & Food Pairing is a two-and-a-half-hour estate tour and wine pairing experience, featuring five wines with seasonal courses that are sure to delight. For those looking for something a bit more educational, the Philosophy of Wine and Food Pairing Seminar finds Executive Chef Stacey Combs walking guests through the marriage of wine and food to understand how smell, taste, and texture interact.

Photo courtesy of Ram’s Gate

Details Visit Website
7
Wineries /

Mayo Family Winery

This small, family-owned Sonoma County winery focuses on small-batch single-vineyard wines, which one can taste with a BYO picnic and the company of their dog, if they’d like, at the Glen Ellen tasting room. However, for those who want to indulge in a food and wine pairing experience, they’ll visit the Reserve Room in the heart of Kenwood. Here, Executive Chef John Locher and his team craft a casual and intimate meal that consists of seven courses (three to four bites each) highlighting seasonal ingredients, paired with a variety of reds and whites, including their flagship Chardonnay and Zinfandel.

Photo courtesy of Mayo Family Winery

Details Visit Website
8
Wineries / Jenner

Flowers Vineyard & Winery

Just a few minutes from downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County is Flowers Vineyard & Winery, a picturesque winery with idyllic gardens and a focus on pinot noir and chardonnay. At the House of Flowers, tastings take place in private garden cabanas and include two options: the Flowers Flight, a guided flight of coastal estate pinot noir and chardonnay, accompanied by seasonal bites crafted by Flowers’ culinary team, or Bottles & Provisions, a more casual experience that includes a half bottle of wine per guest (picked upon arrival), accompanied by housemade food pairings.

Photo courtesy of Flowers Vineyard & Winery

Details Visit Website
9
Wineries /

Bricoleur Vineyards

This Russian River Valley winery is home to vineyards, olive groves, a honey farm, rose gardens, fruit orchards, a fishing pond, and plenty more places to explore and enjoy amazing wine and food. The winery’s “Season” dinners, seasonal four-course dinners that take place at large communal tables, are always a fun community celebration of wine and food, but for those who can’t make it, the Rooted Wine Tasting Experience that takes place in the Winery Barn is also an amazing way to learn more about the wines while enjoying six courses of seasonal pairings. Bricoleur has really invested in its culinary program, bringing on Chef Charlie Palmer and Chef Nate Appleman as advisors, and Chef Thomas Bellec as Executive Chef, so you can count on a memorable (and delicious) experience.

Photo courtesy of Bricoleur Vineyards

Details Visit Website
10
Wineries / Sebastopol

Lynmar Estate Winery

Situated in the heart of the Russian River Valley, Lynmar’s tasting room is located on a 100-acre estate surrounded by gorgeous, lush gardens and vineyards. During the Collectors Lunch Pairing, set in Quail Hill Vineyard, each table has a dedicated host to walk through the elevated three-course lunch, with pairings of their sustainably-farmed estate wines. Each individually plated course is made using ingredients grown on the estate for the ultimate farm-to-table experience, and can even be tailored to accommodate gluten-free and vegetarian diets (with advance notice).

Photo courtesy of Lynmar Estate Winery

Details Visit Website

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