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Please note that prices, hours of operation and wine availability can often change, and we recommend that you call ahead before you go.
For more wineries worldwide, see our Winery Search database.Preston Vineyards
Set on 120 acres in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley, Preston's winery looks like a classic old California barn, though it was actually built in the late 1980s. Picnicking on the lawn out front is like lunching at a friend's country home, and you might get a glimpse of fresh bread being made while you eat your lunch. (The bread is sold in the tasting room, along with veggies grown on the property.) All of the wines available for tasting are organic; look for good to very good Chardonnay and Zinfandel.Martinelli Winery
Tasting Fee: Free
Some of Sonoma's most collectible wines are produced in an unassuming old red hop barn in Russian River Valley. The Martinelli family has been growing grapes for five generations, and winemaker Helen Turley produces consistently outstanding Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel. The tasting room, where current releases are poured, is a homey country store chock full of gifts and gourmet food. There's plenty of room to picnic on the hillside behind the winery.J Vineyards & Winery
A lot of wineries give lip service to pairing wine with food, but at J, it's the raison d'être: The J Vintage Brut might come with Asian pear ceviche, while the Pinot Noir might be served with duck sausage pissaladiere. The tasting room is a stylish café, with angular concrete walls and bold modern art. Tours of the winery, available by appointment, traverse a catwalk that overlooks all of the winemaking equipment and the winery staff in action.Benziger Family Winery
Worth a visit for its gorgeous, naturally lush setting in a bowl-shaped valley, the Benziger family's Sonoma Mountain estate has been transformed in recent years into a showplace for green farming. The 45-minute, biodiesel-fueled tram tours are a great way to learn more about grapegrowing and winemaking in general, but also about how wine producers can reduce their impact on the environment. On your way through the certified biodynamic estate's vineyards, you might spot numerous bird species, as well as grazing sheep and Scottish Highland cows. The tour includes a visit to the fermentation facility, crush pad and underground caves, as well as a tasting of some biodynamic wines. Afterward, if you're not bug-shy, take a walk through the insectory garden, which in spring and summer buzzes with beneficial insects that control vineyard pests. While Benziger's value-priced wines are available nationally, the tasting room offers a number of limited-production, single-vineyard and estate wines, including Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and the property's signature Cabernet-based red blend, Tribute. Learn what Benziger and others are doing to help save the environment.Ferrari—Carano Vineyards and Winery
Ferrari—Carano's opulence is unrivaled in Sonoma County, with multistory vaulted ceilings, green marble floors and a Venetian glass collection. A giant underground cellar connects the modern winery with a 25,000—square—foot visitor center modeled after a Mediterranean palace. Tastings take place at a mahogany and black granite bar; the winery bottles more than 10 varietals, and Fumé Blanc and Chardonnay are the stars. The winery's proprietors, Don and Rhonda Carano, also own the nearby Vintners Inn.Iron Horse Vineyards
There is something quintessentially Sonoma about Iron Horse Vineyards, nestled in the undulating hills of the Green Valley of Russian River Valley. Graceful in its simplicity, the winery is surrounded by vineyards and gardens. Guided tours offer a fine overview of the traditional method of making sparkling wine, which the Sterling family has produced since 1980. The tasting room operates alfresco in good weather, allowing visitors to take in the view while sipping a glass of bubbly or one of the winery's crisp, elegant Chardonnays or Pinots.Jordan Vineyard and Winery
With its gabled windows, stone quoins, formal gardens and manorly hilltop views of surrounding vineyards, this ivy—covered Alexander Valley property seems from another place and time. But if Tom Jordan styled his winery after a French château, the Cabernet it produces is uniquely Californian: soft, supple and feminine. The winery also makes a steely Chardonnay. Both wines are available for tasting at the conclusion of the tour, which explores the grounds and the winemaking facility.Kunde Estate Winery & Vineyards
With its guided cave tour, Kunde takes visitors beyond the typical tasting room experience. Carved into a hillside, the cave harbors a complex labyrinthine system of tunnels. Naturally cool and humid, the cave creates an ideal environment for aging wine in the barrel. Five generations of the Kunde family have grown grapes in Kenwood, and the winery produces good to outstanding Chardonnay, good to very good Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, good Zinfandel and more.Simi Winery
For good, hi—tech wines, some history and a comprehensive tour, Simi is a sure bet—especially if you're newer to wine. Hidden in a copse just north of Healdsburg is the original stone winery built by Italian immigrants Pietro and Giuseppe Simi in 1890. The tour offers an extensive peek inside and explains all the current gadgetry used in modern winemaking. In the tasting room, visitors can sample Simi's specialties: Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Russian River Valley Chardonnay.Buena Vista Winery
Tasting Fee: Free
Located a couple of miles northeast of Sonoma Plaza, Buena Vista has a rich history: The pioneering Agoston Haraszthy, who established the winery in 1857, was among the first vintners in California to plant grapevines imported from Bordeaux and other classic European wine regions. The ivy-covered stone Press House, built in 1863, houses the tasting room, where visitors can try good to very good Chardonnay and Syrah, and good Pinot Noir.Ridge Lytton Springs
Tasting Fee: Free
To say that this Sonoma County outpost of the popular Santa Cruz Mountain winery is environmentally friendly is an understatement: The contemporary structure was built with recycled lumber and hay bale-insulated walls, and solar panels produce up to 75 percent of the winery's energy. Ridge makes about 10 Zinfandels, depending on the vintage; the Lytton Springs bottling, which has been very good to outstanding in recent vintages, is made from grapes grown on the thick-knuckled 100-year-old vines out back.Seghesio Family Vineyards
There's no better symbol for the history and evolution of the Sonoma wine industry than Seghesio. Founded by Italian immigrants before the turn of the 20th century, it pumped out jug wines for decades, before finding its footing in the 1980s with quality-wine production. Today, Seghesio consistently produces some of Sonoma's best Zinfandels, as well as other personality-packed wines such as Arneis, Pinot Grigio and Barbera. Visitors can taste a selection of wines in the stylish Tuscan-style tasting room of the winery and afterward play boccie or have a picnic in the shade of an old oak tree.Unti Vineyards
Tasting Fee: Free
One of the great pleasures of driving along West Side or Dry Creek roads is discovering a small, lesser-known winery like Unti, which produces wines that may be seldom found on the retail shelves back home. The Unti family began growing grapes in 1990 and started making wine in 1997. The winery is utilitarian, and tastes are poured from a plywood counter topped by polished stainless steel, but the wines are authentic and passionately made. The Zinfandel is elegant in the classic Dry Creek Valley style, and the Grenache and Barbera are also not to be missed.Camellia Cellars
Tasting Fee: Free
You might say that Camellia Cellars has an "Inn" in the winemaking business. Since 1983, guests of the Camellia Inn have received complimentary wines made by owner Ray Lewand, his daughter, Chris, and son-in-law, Bruce Snyder. The inn, located in downtown Healdsburg, in Sonoma County, was originally built in 1869 and for a while operated as the town's first hospital. The overwhelming response from guests and friends of Camellia Cellars encouraged the Lewand family to make more wine, and they began to release their wine commercially with the 1997 vintage. This small-production winery has steadily grown and today it produces 1,500 cases a year of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Sangiovese.Robert Young Estate Winery
Robert Young became a pioneer in Alexander Valley's revival as a wine region when he planted a 14-acre Cabernet vineyard in an old prune orchard in 1963. Today, the Young family has 317 acres of vines, and in 1997—after watching wineries such as Chateau St. Jean win kudos with Robert Young grapes—it started making its own wine. The winery, appropriately, is in an old prune barn, and while the tasting room is little more than a modest counter, the quality of the Chardonnay and Cabernet is usually impressive.Gallo Family Vineyards
While the massive Gallo winery in Dry Creek isn't open to the public, daily tours are offered out of the company's Healdsburg Plaza tasting room. From there, the walking tour heads north for an in-depth look at grapegrowing before finishing with an alfresco tasting of limited-release wines and local artisan-made cheeses at Gallo's Barrelli Creek Vineyard in Alexander Valley. Gallo Family Vineyards makes very good Chardonnay and good Cabernet Sauvignon.
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