Guide to Wine Tasting in Kenwood, Sonoma Valley
Wine enthusiasts and nature lovers alike will discover a great base for exploring Sonoma County in the picturesque town of Kenwood. Perched on the northern end of the Sonoma Valley, Kenwood is world-renowned for its wineries, excellent restaurants, and a quietly luxurious Mediterranean-style resort, the Kenwood Inn and Spa.
Some of California's best wineries are located in tiny Kenwood.
Numerous wineries here are clustered together on the west side of Highway 12, allowing travelers to enjoy a self-guided walking tour. Located in the heart of Kenwood, the B. Wise tasting lounge is a good starting place. Right next door is En Garde, where proprietor Csaba Szakal is a fourth-generation winemaker from Hungary.
On the eastern side of Highway 12, wineries are a bit more spread out, larger, and offer a wider array of experiences. From north to south, these wineries should get you started:wine castles, its gothic spires and archways pairing perfectly with Sonoma Valley's rolling hills. This French Normandy-style chateau was originally built as a family residence, and now presents an iconic Sonoma County wine tasting experience. Inside, Ledson is handsomely furnished, featuring private rooms, a second-floor seating area, and a full deli.
Food and wine go hand in hand at St. Francis Winery and Vineyards. At the much lauded restaurant, the multi-course tasting menu, prepared by the winery's own executive chef using estate-grown produce and herbs, is paired with wines from St. Francis' artisan collection—the stunning Sonoma Valley view just adds more flavor to the experience. Technically, St. Francis is located in Santa Rosa, but you’ll find the winery just between Ledson and Landmark on Highway 12.
Best known for their widely distributed Overlook Chardonnay, Landmark sources its grapes from top vineyards like Lorenzo, Heintz, and Rodgers Creek. Here, wine lovers can expect a style of wine that showcases a lean, elegant version of barrel-aged Chardonnay, challenging the "oaky" stereotypes. Located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain, Landmark also offers a bocce ball court, picnic area, and horse-drawn wagon rides in the summer for guests.
One of Sonoma County's most beloved wine castles, Chateau St. Jean's namesake chateau was built in 1920 as a vacation home. Set against a dramatic backdrop of volcanic peaks, this Sonoma Valley winery is styled after a monastery in the French Alps, evoking the monastic tradition of winemaking in France. Stroll in the courtyard citrus garden and taste reserve Malbec and the flagship Cinq Cepages Bordeaux-styled blend.
Take a little trip to Italy at VJB, where visitors can sample Italian wine varietals in the tasting room or on their beautiful Italian piazza. Enjoy lunch from the Italian deli or order wood-fired pizza, paninis, or calzones from Red Rooster Pizza. Cap it all off with delicious gelato and wine truffles handcrafted onsite. On summer weekends, VJB hosts live music by The Three Tenors on the piazza.
Just down the road, Kenwood Vineyards offers a selection of winery-exclusive wines from some of the best vineyards in Sonoma County. Enjoy small-production Single Vineyard wines, limited-edition wines from the famed Jack London Vineyard, and the award-winning Barn series.
Set on 1,850 acres and farmed by the same family for five generations, Kunde Family Winery features wine caves, outdoor waterside patios, and a deck overlooking the Sonoma Valley. Enjoy a seated wine tasting experience featuring artisan cheeses, or book the mountaintop tour and tasting experience, that offers a mix of history and gorgeous vineyard views.
This is by no means a complete list of Kenwood area wineries. For more ideas, check our listings of Sonoma County Wineries and click on "Kenwood."
Feeling hungry after all that wine tasting? From great burgers to innovative cuisine, kick back and enjoy farm-fresh food in relaxed and casual settings throughout Kenwood.
Palooza Brewery & Gastropub provides a variety of American pub fare, including barbecue, burgers, and small plates, plus local wines and 16 micro-craft beers. Tips Roadside serves farm-to-fork Wine Country comfort food inspired by southern cuisine. Or, check out Salt & Stone, where owners David and Diane LaMonica have created a casual-chic global California eatery and oyster bar.
Want to stay the night? The award-winning Kenwood Inn and Spa is tucked away off Highway 12, offering gracious treatment, lush surroundings, and luxurious accommodations in a Mediterranean villa-style resort. Alternatively, relax on the outdoor porch at the historic Casa Bella vacation rental, a two-acre estate that sleeps up to 18 (nine couples) for corporate retreats, family gatherings, or group getaways.