The Perfect Sonoma County Wine Lover’s Gift Guide

Selecting a gift for a wine lover can be difficult. Especially if they already have a full wine rack and a dozen wine club memberships. However, this Sonoma County gift guide for wine lovers is here to help you beat “gifter’s block” and find the perfect gift. From gift cards for wine shops and wine bars to wine-education courses and special wine and food pairing experiences, we’ve included options that are sure to make any type of wine lover smile. Of course, the Sonoma County tasting pass is also a great gift, with 1-day, 2-day and 90-day options!

Gift Certificates

Gift certificates or gift cards allow your wine-loving recipient to choose for themselves what experience or wines they would like. There’s also something about getting a wine gift card specifically that inspires creativity – like trying new wines they might not otherwise have thought to purchase or drink.

The following wine bars and wine shops are among the best places in Sonoma County to drink and/or buy wine. They all offer the option to purchase gift certificates or gift cards. 

La Dolce Vita Wine Bar

La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge
La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge, Photo by Domenica Giovannini

La Dolce Vita is the place to go for wine in Petaluma. With a by-the-glass list of close to 50 wines and a selection of close to 200 wines for purchase (representing a blend of local, boutique brands as well as international wines), it’s the perfect place to enjoy a glass or bottle of wine with food and to learn more about the wines on the list directly from the owner, Sahar, who personally tastes each wine before selecting it for the wine bar. Wines are also available for retail sale at a discounted price (off the regular restaurant list price).

Region Wine Bar

Region Wine Bar
Region Wine Bar, Photo Courtesy Region Wine Bar

Region Wine Bar at the Barlow in Sebastopol offers the widest selection of local wines from boutique producers by-the-glass or taste in Sonoma County. The wine bar features 50 wines from small Sonoma County wineries, with wines that rotate on a regular basis. Many of the wines featured at Region are from wineries that do not have tasting rooms, so this is a great place to taste a few wines from a specific micro-producer that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to access wines from. 

Valley Bar and Bottle

Valley Bar and Bottle
Valley Bar and Bottle

Valley Bar and Bottle is a wine bar/restaurant/wine shop that features the best selection of organic, biodynamic, and natural wines in the town of Sonoma. Purchase a gift certificate for $50, $100, $150, $200, $250, or $500.  Gift certificates can be used for dining at the restaurant or purchasing bottles of wine from the shop.

Bottle Barn

Bottle Barn
Bottle Barn

Bottle Barn has been offering the best and widest selection of wines (from producers of all sizes and from all over the world) in Sonoma County since the 1990s. Bottle Barn also features a huge selection of craft spirits, craft beer and cider, etc. You can’t go wrong with a gift card for Bottle Barn. The only difficult thing about going to Bottle Barn is leaving without multiple cases of wine.

Multi-Location Wine Clubs

When it comes to wine clubs, it can be difficult to choose a single winery, especially if you are purchasing a club membership as a gift for someone. The solution? Join a local wine club that ships wines from different boutique producers rather than just one winery.

The following local businesses offer wine clubs that include selections of wine from different boutique producers that have been curated by the owners. The idea with these clubs is to introduce members to wines from different producers that they will love, and to build relationships with members over time, learn their preferences and tastes, etc.

Without a doubt, a gift membership to either of these local wine clubs would be exciting for any wine lover, but especially those who appreciate being introduced to different boutique wineries by local experts who have relationships with these wineries. 

Valley Bar and Bottle Wine Club

Valley Bar and Bottle offers three- and six-bottle monthly or quarterly wine-club membership options. The typical mix of wines includes a selection of red, white, sparkling, and rose. Most club options are for pick-up only, but there is one club option, the Valley Quarter Moon, for members who prefer to or need to have wines shipped.

Sonoma Wine Shop Wine Club

Sonoma Wine Shop offers monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annual wine-club options, making it easy to sign up without worrying about having to commit to more wine than makes sense for you or your gift recipient, as well as to find an option that fits your budget. 

Members choose how many bottles of each wine type (red or white) they would like in each shipment (or wines can be picked up in person), choose how many shipments they’d like per year, and provide details about the types of wines they like best so that the wine club curator can select wines that are best suited to each member’s tastes.

Wine and Food Pairing Experiences

The following wineries offer multi-course wine and food pairing experiences with plates prepared by in-house chefs.

Fort Ross Vineyards 

Fort Ross Vineyards
Fort Ross Vineyards, Photo by Brooke Herron

Fort Ross Vineyards offers a 90-minute wine and food tasting experience that includes four courses of small bites prepared by the winery’s chef to pair perfectly with the estate’s wines (normally a Chardonnay, two Pinot Noirs, and Pinotage, but wines change with availability/seasonality). 

Hamel Family Vineyards

The Hamel Family Wines Reserve Experience is a unique and personalized wine and food journey that starts with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and a privately guided tour through the vineyard and wine cave, followed by a tasting of the winery’s four Reserve Series Cabernet Sauvignon Blends, paired with curated bites prepared by the winery’s chef.  

St. Francis Winery

St. Francis’ Executive Chef Peter Janiak has developed a nationally acclaimed, five-course fine-dining experience to highlight the estate’s wines and Sonoma County’s diverse agricultural and culinary traditions. Pairing experiences are held in the estate dining room with vineyard views and last about 90 minutes. 

J Vineyards & Winery

J Vineyards Bubble Room
J Vineyards & Winery Bubble Room, Photo Courtesy J Vineyards & Winery

J Vineyards’ Bubble Room Tasting Experience features an exquisite, five-course tasting menu inspired by the bounty of Sonoma County, paired with J’s wines (both sparkling and still). 

Wine-Education Classes

If the wine lover in your life is the kind of person who loves to learn about wine as much as they love to drink it, a wine-education class could be just the right fit.

Odyssey Wine Academy in Healdsburg offers a few different options for wine lovers and wine learners – from casual courses to more formal education and certification courses that involve exams. Choose from the following types of course options:

Wine Expeditions: Wine Expeditions are designed as little adventures into specific types of wines. These 90-minute journeys dive deep into specific wine subjects such as sake, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, sparkling wine, or general tasting techniques. Check out Odyssey’s schedule to find the latest course dates.

WSET Certification Courses: Levels 1-3: WSET courses are formal wine-education courses that include a set number of classroom hours, tastings, an exam, and a certification (if the student passes the exam with a satisfactory score). Level 1 WSET is popular with both wine enthusiasts and beginner wine educators who are looking to enhance their skills and knowledge. Levels 2 and 3 are most often pursued by wine professionals but are open to anyone who would like to continue their formal wine-education journey. In a WSET Level 1 course, students learn: The stages of grape growing and winemaking; main styles and types of wines; characteristics of common grape varieties; wine service and tasting techniques; the WSET Level 1 Systematic Approach to Tasting Wine® (SAT) and how to use it to describe wines; and basic principles behind pairing food and wine.

Written by Brooke Herron

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