Exclusive and Unique Wineries
Sipping premium wines and nibbling gourmet goodies can be even more delightful when enhanced by the perfect ambiance—and Sonoma County wineries deliver an array of special settings to enjoy the fruits of the vine and garden.
Here's a quick overview of just a few of the many possibilities for your perfect luxury wine-tasting experience. Please call ahead to make reservations.
Bella Vineyards and Wine Caves, Healdsburg
Nearly 7,000 square feet of caves are carved out of the steep hillside beneath this wine estate's prized Lily Hill vineyard. Easily blending rustic beauty and intimate elegance, this man-made warren houses barrel storage, a tasting room, a dining room, private tasting bar, and a performance room for concerts, in addition to chef-led cooking classes.
A small, family-owned winery in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, Bella focuses on limited-production, vineyard-designate wines using Zinfandel grapes from old-vine vineyards. Their goal is to balance rich, sensuous textures and compelling fruit with the character and complexity that come from vines planted more than 100 years ago.
Lynmar Estate, Sebastopol
Lynmar is committed to sustainable farming, biodiversity, and farm-to-table cuisine, and produces Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, and Rose varietals.
With a modern aesthetic that embraces the land, this sprawling winery estate includes a sleek tasting room with clean lines and soaring overhead beams; an expansive courtyard with magnificent views of rolling vineyards and gardens; and a wood-fired oven ringed by a majestic grove of redwoods.
From May to September, Lynmar features the classic Russian River Valley pairing of Pinot & Pizza. April to November, the Lynmar Experience includes a walking tour of the property followed by an elegant seated three-course farm-to-table lunch paired with Lynmar's handcrafted wines and served on the veranda overlooking the gardens and vineyards.
Ram's Gate Winery, Sonoma
On a rising hillside at the southern entrance to Sonoma Valley sits this spectacular winery with 30-foot-high ceilings, walls made of reclaimed snow fence, and massive floor-to-ceiling glass walls that open to sweeping vineyard and bay views.
Designed to fuse classic elegance with a youthful spirit, the winery's exterior is a modern interpretation of the weathered farmsteads in the area. Inside is an eclectic mix of contemporary chic and urban cool—relaxed yet refined.
For the winery's food-pairing program, everything starts with the wine. All of Ram's Gate wines are made with grapes either from the winery's vineyards or from carefully selected vineyards nearby. The winemaking team's goal is to make the finest possible small lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that can only be produced by the local climate and terroir.
Thomas George Estates, Healdsburg
The past melds seamlessly with the future at this winery, housed in a historic 1902 hop kiln building completely renovated into a state-of-the-art winemaking facility. The building is surrounded by beautiful grounds with four separate picnic areas.
Run by a father-son team, Thomas George Estates produces small-lot artisan wines, focusing on site-specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays grown in the cool heart of the Russian River Valley.
Hans Fahden Winery, Santa Rosa
Set on a Mayacamas Mountains hillside, on land owned by the Fahden family since 1912, this 100-acre property features a volcanic wine cave and a Monet-style garden setting, with a teahouse overlooking lily ponds. Complimentary wine tastings are available by appointment only, and visitors are encouraged to bring a picnic and tour the gardens.
Now run by the third generation of the Fahden family, each year this winery produces about 2,500 cases of rich, dark Cabernet Sauvignon from its estate vineyards. The volcanic ash in the soil imparts a deep color and distinct flavor to the wine.
Other exclusive and unique wineries in Sonoma County:
- Buena Vista Winery, in Sonoma, is the oldest commercial winery in California. Built in 1857, it's an official historic landmark, including its elegantly dark and mysterious wine caves.
- Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards & Winery, in Healdsburg, offers a sense of serenity and seclusion, on more than 1,300 scenic acres devoted to vineyards, a winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, residence, stables, equestrian pavilion, sports fields, ponds, guest houses, and wilderness.
- Deerfield Ranch Winery, in Kenwood, features tastings in the relaxing comfort of its Grand Room, located at the center of its wine-glass-shaped, 23,000-square-foot wine caves.
- Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery, in Healdsburg, perches atop a ridge along winding Westside Road, providing spectacular views of the sweeping valley below.
- Jordan Vineyard & Winery, tucked into the foothills of the Alexander Valley near Healdsburg, offers breathtaking views and a true farm-to-table experience on 1,200 acres.
- Lambert Bridge Winery, in Healdsburg, features a charming tasting room with wooden walls, vaulted ceiling, and a glass wall looking into the barrel room. Its lavish grounds include cascading vines, colorful flowers, and an expansive lawn overlooking vineyards and forests.
- MacRostie Winery & Vineyards, in Healdsburg, offers an array of inviting venues, both indoors and out, for intimate seated tastings.
Written by Patricia Lynn Henley.