6 Beautiful Sonoma Wineries in Castles
Feel like a king or queen for the day by visiting one (or all) of Sonoma County's splendid wine castles.
Over the years, inspired wine-sipping daydreamers have made good on their passion to make Sonoma County wines that rival the classic wines of Europe. And, then, they marked their triumph by building European-style idylls, grand chateaux, villas, and—to most eyes—castles.
Here are six wine castles and chateaux to inspire your imagination while wine tasting in Wine Country.
1. Chateau St. Jean, Kenwood
Nestled among acres of vineyard, and beneath the dramatic volcanic cones of Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in the Sonoma Valley, Chateau St. Jean might easily be mistaken for a monastery in the French Alps. The buff-colored walls and red-tile roof of Chateau St. Jean evoke the monastic tradition of winemaking. Savor wines in the main tasting room, sip limited releases in the reserve wines room, grab a glass of vino and stroll the Mediterranean-styled gardens (considered some of the most beautiful in Sonoma County), or enjoy a flight of wines paired with delicious local cheeses on the chateau's romantic patio.
2. Jordan Vineyard & Winery, Healdsburg
Draped in lush, green ivy and fringed with perfectly trimmed privets, Jordan very much appears like the Bordeaux chateau that Tom Jordan aimed to purchase before settling in the Alexander Valley. While historical in setting, the vineyard is thoroughly modern in their outlook, featuring solar-powered, sustainable gardens. Guests can learn about the history of Jordan as well as its sustainability efforts on the Estate Tour and Tasting, or simply take in the view of the astounding property from the cozy upstairs library.
3. Francis Ford Coppola Winery, Geyserville
This Second French Empire-styled chateau is set among low, oak woodland hills in Alexander Valley. Under its mansard roof and towers, modified with glass pyramid peaks by Coppola, the winery houses the director's movie memorabilia like Vito Corleone's desk, Apocalypse Now "heads," and the fully-rigged model warship from Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette. The vineyard's restaurant and terrace sport a smashing Alexander Valley view, and the poolside reservation system ensures that everyone is treated, if not like royalty, at least to their own chaise lounge and umbrella.
4. Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards, Sonoma
This elegant winery, set in the rolling hills of the Carneros region in southern Sonoma County, was designed to evoke both the historical California missions and the heritage of this Catalonian family, owners of the Freixenet Cava brand. Today, Gloria Ferrer makes some of Sonoma County's most popular sparkling wines. Explore them on the long stretch of terrace overlooking the estate's vines and far beyond, enjoying wine flights paired with lunch, caviar, or cheese and charcuterie.
5. Ferrari-Carano Vineyards & Winery, Healdsburg
Wine castle Italian-style, Ferrari-Carano's pale pink "Villa Fiore" is one of the great jewels of the Dry Creek Valley, set far from any city bustle about a mile from Lake Sonoma. Formal and shaded pond gardens invite strolling on the grounds, while tasting on the Villa Terrace pair four Ferrari-Carano wines (such as their signature Fume Blanc) with a sweeping view of the winery's estate vineyards.
6. Ledson Winery & Vineyards, Kenwood
Ledson is one of Sonoma County's most dramatic wine castles, pairing Gothic spires and archways with the rugged, mountainous backdrop of a particularly scenic stretch of the Sonoma Valley. The French Normandy-style is handsomely furnished with dark wood panels, huge windows, and cozy fireplaces. It also features several private tasting rooms, three tasting bars with plush seating, and a full-service deli as well as picnic grounds lying under large, shady oaks.
Want to explore more wineries? Order our free Wineries Map to uncover all of the unique wineries and vineyards in Sonoma County.