10 Sonoma County Wineries with Picnic- Pairing Experiences

Picnic in the vineyards

Throughout Sonoma County, many wineries are enhancing their tastings with immersive food experiences, going beyond the traditional complimentary crackers to provide full restaurant-style meals.

So, prepare your picnic blankets and baskets!

There’s nothing more romantically Wine Country than relishing a gourmet picnic with a splendid glass of wine, all set against picturesque vineyards.

1. Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood

Umbrellas and picnic tables on the lawn in from of Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood
Chateau St. Jean

Many people dream of a European-style winery, and Chateau St. Jean delivers with a meticulously manicured landscape, castle-style architecture, and endless lawns framed by vineyards. The one-hour, un-hosted Bottles and Bites experience is a chance to relax and enjoy the winery’s beautiful grounds with a bottle of wine and a cheese and charcuterie plate on a location reserved just for your group. Additionally, boxed lunches can be purchased with any of the winery’s tasting experiences at the shaded picnic tables in the fountain garden.

2. Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg

Three friends enjoy a picnic in front of Dry Creek Vineyard, Healdsburg
Dry Creek Vineyard

The picturesque picnic grounds at this family-owned winery provide an enchanting backdrop for savoring their wines alongside a delightful snack (pick up provisions at the Dry Creek General Store on your way to the winery). The winery offers a Private Wine Flight and Picnic Lunch from May through September. This experience features a box lunch with fresh seasonal menu options, plus Dry Creek Vineyard Wines.

3. Preston Farm and Winery, Healdsburg

Produce from Preston Farm and Winery
Preston Farm and Winery

Come on down to Preston Farm and Winery, a family-operated biodynamic property in Healdsburg’s Dry Creek Valley, to enjoy some down-home hospitality: taste estate wines, homegrown olive oil, fresh or pickled veggies, and just-baked bread.

Explore the gardens and purchase picnic fare at the farm store. Grab a glass of wine or seasonal cider (no outside alcohol), settle under the shade of the walnut tree, and enjoy. After, walk around the property and greet the animals.

Explore this multi-sensory property where more than wine and grapes thrive: olives, apples, vegetables, stone fruit, nuts, grains, sheep, pigs, and chickens. Add in a meandering stream where salmon spawn, and you’ve found a slice of paradise.

4. VJB Vineyards, Cellars & Marketplace, Kenwood

The exterior of VJB Vineyards, Cellars & Marketplace surrounded by vineyards, Kenwood
VJB Vineyards, Cellars & Marketplace

The Belmonte family’s winery includes a Tuscan courtyard marketplace featuring La Cucina’s deli and espresso bar, a Neapolitan-style Red Rooster pizza salon with an outdoor wood-fired oven, a gelato and hand-crafted chocolate shop, the Kenwood Pasta Company featuring fresh pasta to enjoy at home, and a Tommy Bahama clothing boutique, all anchored by an extensive wine tasting room.

Matriarch and executive chef Maria Belmonte makes her tomato sauces and pestos to complement dishes, including a generously stuffed prosciutto cotto and Jarlsberg panino, wood-fired garlic-lemon chicken drumsticks, white bean salad, and cheese or salumi boards decorated with olives, crostini, nuts and fruit.

Guests sip and snack on the courtyard patio piazza, and sometimes, for special events, opera singers serenade from a second-story balcony.

5. Landmark Vineyards at Hop Kiln Estate, Healdsburg

The old hop kiln at Landmark Vineyards, Hop Kiln Estate, Healdsburg
Landmark Vineyards, Hop Kiln Estate

Experience the rich history of wine growing in the region at Landmark Vineyards at the Hop Kiln Estate, located in the heart of the Russian River Valley. The iconic location has grown wine grapes on the property since the late 1800s.

The tasting room is housed in a preserved historical landmark, an old stone hop kiln building from when hops and beer were big in Sonoma County. Both indoor and outdoor tasting experiences are available, with expansive vineyard views in a historic setting. Guests are welcome to add on a curated cheese pairing or charcuterie platter to enhance their tasting.

6. Ledson Winery, Kenwood 

Roses grow in front of Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Kenwood
Ledson Winery & Vineyards

The fully stocked gourmet market is a fixture at this 16,000-square-foot French Normandy winery called “The Castle.”

Start by tasting and selecting your favorite wines at the hosted bars, then tour the manicured grounds with picnic areas shadowed by majestic, 100-year-old Oak trees.

After you’ve found the perfect spot, enjoy a feast of salads, sandwiches, cheeses, and cookies from the winery deli. One favorite bite is the Hwy-12 sandwich, with cucumber, avocado, sun-dried tomato, goat cheese, spring mix, red onions, pepperoncini, and balsamic vinaigrette on whole wheat, sourdough, or as a lettuce wrap.

7. Korbel Champagne Cellars, Guerneville

Ivy grows on the exterior of Korbel Delicatessen & Market, Guerneville
Korbel Delicatessen & Market

Best known for its MĂ©thode Champenoise sparkling wines, this legendary destination features in-depth tours of its historic champagne cellars and the elaborate rose garden, ending, of course, with a tasting. This Russian River winery offers the Korbel Delicatessen and Market, with its patio seating amid the redwoods. Gourmet sandwiches celebrate Sonoma County flavors with artisan cheeses, local produce, and meats like elegant prosciutto or juicy tri-tip.

8. Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville

Picture of Francis Ford Coppola Winery through the trees
Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Sit on the patio next to the sparkling swimming pool and enjoy tasty crepes, pizzas, salads, panini, gelato, cocktails, and wines by the glass from the Pool CafĂ©. Friendly staff will even deliver your order directly to your poolside lounge chair. (Note: Pool passes are not required to dine at the Poolside CafĂ©.)

You can also enjoy pizzas, salads, or sandwiches on the Rustic restaurant terrace overlooking Alexander Valley – perhaps a muffuletta or a classic Caesar.

9. Gundlach Bundschu Winery, Sonoma

Picture of vineyards overlooking gundlach bundschu
Gundlach Bundshu

Enjoy the outdoor beauty and views only Sonoma Valley has to offer at Gundlach Bundshu, which, in the warm summer months, provides a relaxed seated wine tasting in its gorgeous Vista Courtyard under the olive trees overlooking the pond. Guests may choose from carefully selected flights, and locally sourced food pairings are available for purchase to accompany the wines. Reservations are recommended.

10. Cline Family Cellars, Sonoma

Cline Family Cellars

Reserve picnic tables set amid the beautifully landscaped grounds, offering views of the vineyards, pond, and historic estate home, all within a garden adorned with charming statues of turtles, donkeys, and birds. With the purchase of a bottle (or more) of Cline wine, the cost is $10 per person for up to two hours; each table seats eight, with a maximum of two tables. After the meal, check out the museum room showcasing California’s original missions.

Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet.

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