6 Wineries You Should Visit During the Holiday Season

Ram’s Gate Winery

When there’s a chill in the air, there’s a warm welcome at Sonoma County wine tasting rooms. The hospitality of Wine Country is a great pairing with the holiday season: a place to linger awhile and join in on free-flowing conversation, all while sipping wine. Gifts abound, even for the non-wine lovers on your list. And even if there’s no lazy curl of smoke rising above the tasting room chimney, wineries are a good place to warm your hands in the winter.

Muscardini Cellars

Glasses of wine lined up on a table
Muscardini Cellars

Enjoy magical tasting experiences under the winter tent at Muscardini Cellars, where visitors are surrounded by a dazzling display of 2,000 sparkling lights, stunning silver snowflakes, and twinkling olive trees. Celebrate the holidays with the Muscardini family’s seasonal wine and sensory jar experience, a delicious wine and chocolate pairing from Master Chocolatier Chef Sebastian Beline of Paris, or try your hand at a blind tasting experience of Thanksgiving-perfect wines.

Ram’s Gate Winery

Decorations hang from the trees and a wreath adorns an outdoor fireplace at Ram's Gate Winery, Sonoma County
Ram’s Gate Winery

There may be no Sonoma County winery that goes as all-out on Christmas as Ram’s Gate, perched atop a hill at the “gate” of the breezy Sonoma Carneros region. The fireplaces run well into the afternoon during the holiday season, and they add fir trees and wreaths, a crimson 1954 MG Convertible filled with wine gifts, and offer a peek into what’s naughty and nice, wine-wise.

Furnished grandly in the modern rustic style, the winery’s year-round star attraction is its wine and food pairings with chef-prepared micro-entrĂ©es like duck cassoulet with bacon and huckleberries.

Buena Vista Winery

The cave at Buena Vista Winery is a good place to be on a cold day in Sonoma County
Buena Vista Winery

History comes alive at Buena Vista. Founded in 1857 by “Count” Agoston Haraszthy, this was Sonoma County’s first commercial winery. While the focus is on classic Sonoma County varietal wines, you can also book one of the daily tours of the lavishly restored, 1860s-era champagne cellars, which are sometimes led by a costumed version of the Count himself. If you crave a cozier experience,  simply warm yourself by the fireplace in a tasting room filled with historic winemaking artifacts.

Chateau St. Jean

The luxurious interior of Chateau St. Jean is decorated for Christmas in Sonoma County
Chateau St. Jean

This elegant Sonoma Valley winery can always be counted on for fine vineyard and mountain scenery outside, and beautiful holiday decor inside. The tasting room is well stocked with wine-related gifts, and there’s a gourmet deli for lunching outside on Sonoma County’s warmer winter days. Holiday favorites include the winery’s GewĂĽrztraminer, late-harvest Riesling, and Cinq CĂ©pages Bordeaux-styled blend.

Lambert Bridge Winery

Colorful trees can be found outside of Lambert Bridge Winery in the winter in Sonoma County
Lambert Bridge Winery

A curl of fireplace smoke above this Dry Creek Valley winery makes it a welcome sight on dark winter days, when it appears out of the gloom like a mountain lodge. Cozy up to a pour of Zinfandel or Cabernet Sauvignon by the stone hearth at this warmly lit, redwood-paneled tasting room, or bask in the glow of a candelabra in the barrel room.

Francis Ford Coppola Winery

Francis Ford Coppola Winery shines brightly at night in Sonoma County
Francis Ford Coppola Winery

This one’s on the list as much for the gift-shopping angle as the wines: famed director Francis Coppola is said to personally ponder over and approve—if not downright invent—every item of merchandise for sale in the tasting room.

At this sprawling chateau and film museum, you’ll find highlights from the director’s career as well as a wide variety of wines for every taste, from Sofia sparkling wine for holiday toasting, to some serious Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Written by Sonoma Insider James Knight.

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