Sonoma County: Articles on California's Sonoma County Wine Region

Blackstone Winery

The Vibe: 
Blackstone Winery is an easily accessible, small, pleasant winery that is a great place for big, juicy reds. A quiet place for small, casual group picnic.
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Big juicy reds, particularly Pinot Noir and Merlot.
  • A good place for a small group picnic.
Not good for: 
  • People seeking grand architecture, vast gardens, or beautiful views. Blackstone is quite nice and pretty, just not a destination spot for those looking to be visually impressed.
  • Not a place for group event hosting.
Known For: 
Merlot, Pinot Noir
Pictures: 

Locations

8450 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
United States
38° 25' 25.734" N, 122° 33' 20.6064" W
8450 Sonoma Highway
Kenwood, CA 95452
United States
38° 25' 25.734" N, 122° 33' 20.6064" W
Phone Number: 
7078331999

Bartholomew Park Winery

The Vibe: 

Bartholomew Park Winery is -as its name implies- park like. Set in the rolling hills a few miles Northeast of Sonoma Plaza, Bartholomew is quaint, breezy, green, and soaking in Sonoma history. Picnic tables are strewn throughout the grounds making Bartholomew an ideal place for a cozy picnic. Word has it the Wall Street Journal named it Sonoma's best place to "pop the question".

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • To taste reds.
  • A place for a cozy picnic. Though not ideal for large groups or barbecues. Bartholomew is where you go for a quiet romantic picnic, not to party.
  • Guided tours. 
  • A place to "pop the question".
  • To appease the curious or the history buff. Bartholomew is home to a fine museum with fine displays covering the evolution of Sonoma wine country.
  • To enjoy the outdoors. Hiking trails are available for those looking to explore.
Not good for: 
  • Big event hosting. Unfortunately they are not equipped to host weddings.
  • People seeking to buy food with their wine.
Known For: 
Reds, Cabernet,
Pictures: 

Location

1000 Vineyard Lane
Sonoma, CA 95476
United States
38° 18' 2.1132" N, 122° 25' 31.9404" W
Phone Number: 
7079359511

Benziger Family Winery

The Vibe: 
Benziger is a must see destination spot for people planning a Sonoma winery tour. Beautiful, with a "Garden of Eden" feel to it, Benziger offers just about everything you can want in a winery experience with great wines, beautiful gardens, grand views, bio-diversity, hourly tours, picnic grounds, and even a playground for the kids. Bus friendly as well.
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Biodynamic wines (no better place for nature lovers or environmentalists)
  • Good Chardonnay.
  • Amazing beautiful grounds. Not overly manicured, just a place that strives to embrace and preserve nature.
  • A place to take a guided wine tour.
  • Kid friendly with a playground and a small bird zoo to occupy the kids.
  • Picnic grounds exist. Good for small or large group picnics.
  • Large barbecue exists for those planning a wine barbecue (call to coordinate usage).
  • A place to take your bus tour of wine country.
Not good for: 
  • Hard to find fault at Benziger but it isn't particularly ideal for a cozy blanket picnic. There are spots for it but there are so many people there that it will be tough to find privacy.
Known For: 
Organic and Biodynamic winegrowing practices
Pictures: 

Locations

1883 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
United States
38° 21' 45.432" N, 122° 31' 33.6144" W
1883 London Ranch Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
United States
38° 21' 45.432" N, 122° 31' 33.6144" W
Phone Number: 
7079353000

Audelssa Estate Winery

The Vibe: 

Audelssa is a small tasting room on Glen Ellen Square. It sits close to a handful of restaurants so it is an ideal place to check out before or after stopping for lunch. They are only open for tastings on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. They specialize in food and wine pairing so call ahead to gather the details.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Rhone blends or Bordeaux blends.
  • A food & wine pairing experience.
  • A tasting room in walking distance of restaurants.
Not good for: 
  • People seeking tours, beautiful gardens, magnificent architecture, or a grand view.
  • People seeking winery tours.
  • Picnicers.
  • Large groups.
Known For: 
Rhone and Bordeaux blends

Location

13750 Arnold Drive
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
United States
38° 21' 44.8884" N, 122° 31' 35.0148" W
Phone Number: 
7079338514

Arrowood Vineyards & Winery

The Vibe: 

The vibe at Arrowood is informal but educational. An ideal place for the wine curious who want to learn about wine in an unpretentious environment. The staff is very education focused. Arrowood is a cute country farm house with a nice view of the vineyards.

Shares an access road with Imagery Estate Vineyards so a stop here on your wine trail is convenient for people looking to do more tasting and less driving.

Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Good Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah.
  • A kid-friendly tasting room. They even have a toy chest to occupy the little ones.
  • A place for a small group picnic.
  • A place for a small group private tasting or private tour. Both require appointments.
Not good for: 
  • Really large groups (particularly without an appointment)
  • People seeking a public guided tour.
  • People seeking a place for a blanket picnic.
  • Large group events like a big wedding reception.
Known For: 
Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah
Pictures: 

Locations

14347 Sonoma Highway
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
United States
38° 21' 37.602" N, 122° 30' 22.8096" W
14347 Sonoma Highway
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
United States
38° 21' 37.602" N, 122° 30' 22.8096" W
Phone Number: 
7079352600

Arista Winery

The Vibe: 
Set in the rolling hills of the Russian River area, Arista Winery is one of the best wineries for small group picnics, particularly if you are planning a tasting trip in Southwest Healdsburg. Arista has beautiful gardens with fountains and small waterfalls. They have patio picnic tables as well as tables spread out in different areas of the garden. This is a good place to plan your lunch or snack stop mid-day trip.
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Good Pinot Noir or Gewurtstraminer.
  • A GREAT place for small group picnics. They have numerous picnic tables strewn throughout their beautiful gardens.
  • Picnic boxes. Arista sells picnic boxes filled with cheese, crackers, dried fruit and spreads that are -while not a meal- a good accompaniment for your wine picnic.
  • A dog friendly winery.
  • A kid friendly winery.
Not good for: 
  • Event hosting such as wedding receptions or corporate gatherings.
  • People looking for winery tours.
  • Large groups of 10 or more or busses should call ahead as the tasting room is small.
Known For: 
Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer
Pictures: 

Locations

7015 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
United States
38° 31' 15.1392" N, 122° 51' 58.9428" W
7015 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
United States
38° 31' 15.1392" N, 122° 51' 58.9428" W
Phone Number: 
7074730606

Gary Farrell Wines

The Vibe: 
The Gary Farrell Winery and Tasting Room sits on a hilltop in the shadow of tall Redwood trees. While it is a bit of a trek, Gary Farrell is a fine tasting experience -particularly the Pinots- and offers a picturesque view across the valley. Local art adorns the walls of the tasting room.
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Great Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
  • A tasting room with a beautiful scenic view.
  • A great place for art lovers. The Gary Farrell tasting room features works by local artists.
Not good for: 
  • Picnics of any sort.
  • Hosting an event such as a wedding or corporate gathering.
  • People looking for guided facility tours.
  • Food and wine pairing.
  • Large groups or busses should call ahead for an appointment.
Known For: 
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Pictures: 

Locations

10701 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
United States
38° 30' 17.3052" N, 122° 54' 3.1968" W
10701 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
United States
38° 30' 17.3052" N, 122° 54' 3.1968" W
Phone Number: 
7074732900

Buena Vista Winery

The Vibe: 
Buena Vista Winery is just a few minutes from Sonoma Plaza. It feels though like it's far away as you traverse a handful of windy dirt roads that seem to be heading nowhere. Were it not for some very well placed signs reassuring you that your GPS isn't broken, you would never think you were heading towards a beautiful winery. Buena Vista feels like a state park with much tree cover and an old country barn feel to it. California's first winery, Buena Vista has a rich history that is well documented on the walls of the tasting room. Plenty of picnic tables are available though not much in terms of open lawn space for blankets. Buena Vista is an ideal place for an elegant mid-size group event (a rehearsal dinner comes to mind). Their grand dining table harkens back to an elegant occasion held a hundred years ago.
Particularly good if you are seeking: 
  • Good Pinot Noir or Chardonnay
  • Small group picnics (lots of shade, leashed dogs OK)
  • A historical perspective of California wine country
  • A place to host a small to mid-size event (dozens of people would work, hundreds might not)
Not good for: 
  • Large group events
  • Blanket picnics
Known For: 
Pinot Noir, Chardonnay
Pictures: 

Locations

18000 Old Winery Road
Sonoma, CA 95476
United States
38° 17' 58.1784" N, 122° 25' 20.208" W
18000 Old Winery Road
Sonoma, CA 95476
United States
38° 17' 58.1784" N, 122° 25' 20.208" W
Phone Number: 
7079381266

Sonoma Wine Clubs: A Club by Club Assessment with Author Jim Arnold

Wine Clubs are increasingly ubiquitous and wine enthusiasts have a plethora of choices when stocking their personal wine cellar. In the new book, , author Jim Arnold and Photographer Ingrid Larnis transform the broad spectrum of Sonoma County wine club offerings into a handy dandy guide that details each clubs benefits, costs, perks, and other pertinent information. IntoWine.com recently chatted with Jim Arnold about the book and the grand experience that came with researching it.

Portrait of an Old Vine

In the winter, they stretch above the ground like old crows’ claws reaching for the sky. Amid the bright green of the groundcover and vivid yellows, reds and oranges of the flowering cover crops, one could easily mistake these black stumps for dead. But they are just dormant for now, mustering the energy to push out yet another year’s worth of fruit that will produce the liquid gold that old vine zinfandel can be.
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