This brand-new tasting room in downtown Healdsburg has replaced the usual bar with vintage furniture and a communal tasting table. To go with its Chardonnays and single-vineyard Pinots, it offers snacks like a meze platter and local smoked and brined trout from chef Niki Ford of nearby Shed.



After a six-wheeler Pinzgauer ride through the Lily Hill Zinfandel vineyard (from which Bella’s signature bottling is made), guests on the Ultimate Tour ($55) have barrel samples of the small-production wines in the cellar and, on weekends, small bites made by winery chef Bruce Frieseke.



Biodynamic farming and winemaking can be hard to understand without seeing them in action. Benziger gives guests a crash course with a tractor tour through its organically farmed vineyards and gardens, which grow herbs for tonics, with a stop in the naturally cooled cellar.



From Copain’s mountainside perch, visitors look out over the gorgeous Russian River Valley, which produces the grapes for its superb Pinot Noir. All Farm Table Tastings are paired with locally made cheeses and snacks.



Those who reserve a seat for the new Wine and Cheese Flight ($30) can compare four great wines, like Gewürztraminer and Pinot Noir, each paired with a local cheese.


gloria-ferrerGloria Ferrer

The $40 Food & Wine Pairing Tour guides guests through the process of making sparkling wine, with a four-course lesson in how to match the wines with food. The lamb burger is delicious with sparkling rosé.



Tour Hanzell’s Ambassador’s Vineyard, planted in 1953, which has some of the oldest Pinot Noir vines in North America. Everything else about Hanzell is ahead of its time (it was the first winery in the world to use temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and the first in the US to use only French oak for aging), including its state-of-the-art winery.


iron-horseIron Horse

The outdoor tasting room at Iron Horse always feels like a party, especially on Sunday afternoons, when $3 oysters on the half shell accompany its sparkling wines.


j-vineyards-&-wineryJ Vineyards

Thursday through Sunday, make a reservation for a paired tasting in the modern Bubble Room. Chef Erik Johnson’s seasonally inspired menu and house-made spaetzle with prosciutto and Swiss chard expertly match the Nicole’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.



The brand-new tasting experience brings visitors around the 1,200-acre property to check out not only its vines, but its olive orchards, beehives, cattle ranch, chicken coop and vegetable gardens. The three-hour tour ($120) obviously includes wine tasting, but guests will also have dishes made with the food raised on the property, starting with house-made jam and pastries.


joseph-phelpsJoseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards Guest Center

Most of the wineries in the newly named West Sonoma Coast region make too little to have a tasting room, but Joseph Phelps’s Freestone pours samples from its flagship winery, Freestone vineyards, and second label, Fogdog. A stop at this perennially cool coastal spot will definitely give visitors an idea of how influential location is on grapes—one of Freestone’s vineyards is just six miles from the Pacific.



Lioco bravely hosts tastings in the middle of its working winery, surrounded by cellar workers punching down skins, topping off barrels and driving forklifts.



The seated tasting with dishes from chef David Frakes is fantastic, but this is one winery where casually dropping in for a tasting at the bar can be just as memorable. The tasting room is completely sunlit and surrounded by views of rolling vineyard; in nice weather, sit outside with a glass of Pinot Noir and sample herbs and berries from the meticulous gardens.


medlock-amesMedlock Ames

The general-store vibe at Medlock Ames comes not only from the farmhouse look, but also from the shelves of house-made preserves, canned goods and farm-stand items sold there. Every tasting of its organic wines comes with artisanal cheeses and local salami.


paul-hobbs-wineryPaul Hobbs

Those embarking on Paul Hobbs’s new twice-weekly Small Bites Experience ($75), held in its fashionable Lindsay House (designed by wine country architect extraordinaire Howard Backen), should definitely not eat lunch beforehand. Plan to spend two hours touring and tasting chef Anne Sibbaluca’s intricately composed dishes, like littleneck clams steamed in the on-site wood-fired oven, served with the Richard Dinner Chardonnay. Also available is a tasting of wines from Paul Hobbs’s winery in Argentina.


partakePartake by K-J

Kendall-Jackson’s winery and Sonoma-style château in Santa Rosa are surrounded by acres of fruit and vegetable gardens, put to use for impressive lunches. Its modern, new tasting room in downtown Healdsburg also utilizes all of this good food with dishes made to pair with specific wines from K-J’s enormous portfolio.



Quivira produces stellar Zinfandels and Sauvignon Blancs, but it also makes a small amount of excellent Petite Sirah and a Viognier blend that are only for sale at the winery. Also available: a guided tour through the biodynamic gardens, which grow herbs for organic sprays and create an ecosystem that entices beneficial insects.



The most highly regarded Sonoma Zinfandel specialist, Ravenswood gives remarkably inexpensive ($15) tours of its estate vineyard and cellar, including barrel samples. In the tasting room, have a comparative flight of its Zins.


red-carRed Car

Taste through Red Car’s superb Syrah and Pinot Noir while hanging out in what feels like a friend’s living room. Spin records, lounge on the big velvet couch and play bean bag toss on the front lawn.



Paul Draper’s long-respected Ridge recently started offering tours of its 120-year-old Lytton Springs vineyards in Sonoma’s Dry Creek—one of the oldest vineyards in California. A ride through the vineyard in an open-air shuttle culminates in a Zinfandel tasting at the solar-powered winery, insulated with straw bales. Also visit Ridge’s historical Monte Bello vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains.



Driving up the palm-lined driveway to the Scribe hacienda makes everyone feel like a movie star. For the first few years of this winery, Andrew and Adam Mariani made wine with grapes they farmed in Napa, but now their own estate Riesling and Chardonnay vineyards are mature enough to produce some excellent bottlings—most of which are sold directly from the winery.



Visiting this Alexander Mountain site on the reservation-only Mountain Excursion ($75) is like going to a national park—only with vineyards. This secluded, 5,100-acre property is home to deer, wild boar and coyotes. Guides take visitors on four-wheelers through the redwoods, pastures and vineyards to an overlook, for a picnic with single-vineyard wines from the property.


wind-gap-winesWind Gap

This just-opened tasting room and winery is in the new Barlow in Sebastopol, which houses several wineries and breweries, a bakery, a coffee roaster and numerous artists’ studios. Sample small-production bottlings like the exceptional Trousseau Gris.



The affordable ($10) tastings on the deck overlooking the Russian River Valley present guests with one simple choice: Pinot Noir or Zinfandel? Both of these tastings include samples of very limited-production wines (one under 100 cases per vintage), only available here.




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