Sonoma County Wine Tasting Road Trip Itinerary
When a Wine Country trip beckons, Sonoma County’s valleys, vineyards, and 18 distinctive American Viticultural Areas are ready to welcome you. Sonoma County is your proverbial Wine Country oyster, from the winery-lined towns of Sonoma, Geyserville, and Healdsburg, to small, unique AVAs like Petaluma Gap. Life opens up as you follow two-lane roadways from one valley to the next, discovering gorgeous vistas and experiencing small communities with distinct personalities.
To make the most of a Sonoma County Wine Country road trip, we recommend designating a driver, or better yet, simply enjoying the ride with one of our local chauffeur services like Pure Luxury, Healdsburg Tours, and Four54 Tours. Each offer exceptional service, experienced chauffeurs, and immaculate comfortable fleets.
If you're going on a winery tour or sitting down for a chef-prepared food and wine pairing, you’ll want to take your time and really take in the experience. For those you might only be able to visit a couple of wineries in a day. Otherwise, you should be able to visit 3-4 Sonoma County wineries. While many tasting rooms welcome a visit without a reservation, many of the smaller, boutique Sonoma County wineries require making an appointment.
So without any further ado, see our Sonoma County wine tasting itinerary below.
Travel along the vineyards and rolling hills bordering Highway 101 as you arrive on your first day of wine tasting in Geyserville. One of Geyserville’s most famous wineries, Silver Oak, began in 1972 with a simple focus on one varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon, to allow it to fully develop a vivid bouquet and softness from lengthy aging. Designed to “Frame the Vineyard,” Silver Oak’s winery features panoramic views of the Alexander Valley and their surrounding 113-acre estate and 75 acres of prime Cabernet Sauvignon vines.
Upon arrival, guests are welcomed to Silver Oak’s modern barn-inspired tasting room adjacent to the iconic Silver Oak water tower. Visitors gain a deeper understanding of how sustainable vineyard management contributes to wine quality, as well as the technologies and practices they apply toward resource management and vineyard health. In April 2020, Silver Oak became the largest, certified Living Building in the world, which came after they set out to build a new home in the Alexander Valley several years ago.
Continue to nearby Robert Young Winery, a family-owned winery that dates back to 1858. Robert Young Estate Winery has recently opened the Scion House, their new hospitality and tasting center on the 448-acre ranch, just 10 minutes north of Healdsburg in the Alexander Valley. The Scion House is built on the family's favorite hilltop overlook with stunning 360-degree vineyard views. Both elegant and inviting, the Scion House offers guests a serene retreat where they can relax in one of several open and private indoor areas for seated tastings and wine experiences. Your visit to Robert Young can also include a trip through their garden or wine cave. Bonus points: Robert Young Winery is pet friendly.
At nearby Jordan Vineyard & Winery, they’ve always believed that wine should be enjoyed in the context of food, having hosted guests to food and wine experiences since the first vintages debuted in 1980. Experience the best that Jordan has to offer in the heart of Sonoma County Wine Country with perennial gourmet food and wine pairings in the cellar room, walking tours through the iconic chateau, epicurean excursions throughout the property, and festive holiday celebrations offered seasonally. Reservations are required due to the intimacy of the experiences, which can include samplings of Jordan’s Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil, crafted by Chef Todd Knoll, plus a seasonal hors d’oeuvre pairing featuring their Reserve Caviar. The Jordan Estate Tour & Tasting includes a tour through Jordan's gardens and olive orchards.
Close to downtown Geyserville is Zialena, where the Mazzoni family has been growing premium grapes and making wine in Sonoma County for more than a century. You can visit the estate located on the family’s 120-acre vineyard in the Alexander Valley. Here you can let their hospitality team guide you through a unique selection of wines and share in their rich history. Zialena has three main wine tasting experiences, one of which includes a tour by appointment only. Each of the tastings are designed to allow guests to experience the winemaking philosophy behind the wines, as well as the rich history of their estate. Zialena is also a pet-friendly winery.
Heading west toward the Dry Creek Valley, you’ll come to Frick Winery, established in 1976, and specializing in wines crafted from Rhone grape varieties grown on the small hillside vineyards. Enjoy a tasting at the tasting room bar made from an old redwood wine tank, and purchase current releases and rare library wines. Take in the local art scene that dons their tasting room, and if you have a dog, bring it along for your afternoon at Frick Winery. Note that Frick offers tastings by appointment only on Saturday, and Sunday.
Having sipped the day away at a few of these incredible Geyserville area wineries, conclude your day with dining in the comforts of Catelli's well-appointed dining room or beautiful patio. Catelli's was originally opened in Geyserville around 1936 by Italian immigrants Santi and Virginia Catelli. Now, third generation family members, Domenica and Nicholas Catelli, are co-owners. Catelli’s menu is characterized by fresh ingredients from local and organic farmers, while boasting a wine menu with more than 100 local wines. Led by executive chef, author, and media personality Domenica Catelli, Catelli’s highlights include handmade ravioli paired with new bright creations such as “The Pasta of the Moment.”
If your day of tasting through Geyserville’s wineries took you to Francis Ford Coppola Winery, then consider dining at the on-site restaurant, Rustic. Drawing on a life that has taken him around the world, Francis Ford Coppola shares his personal pantheon of recipes at Rustic. Rustic’s menu embraces international and traditional Italian dishes, with an emphasis on family-style cooking that features fresh, seasonal ingredients sourced from the property’s organic herb and produce garden. A focal point of the dining room is the parrilla (pronounced “pah-REE-jah”), an authentic Argentine grill. Manned by the restaurant’s dedicated Asador, or grill-master, it provides a South American experience of delicious, wood-grilled meats. During the warm months, enjoy dining outdoors with picturesque views of the Alexander Valley on the outdoor terrace.
The Italian theme continues in Geyserville with Diavola Pizzeria & Salumeria. Diavola is set in a historic landmark dating back to the 1900s, and celebrates the seasons of California with an Italian state of mind. Their daily changing menu features carefully sourced meat, fish, and produce from local farms, ranches, and fisheries guided by principles of sustainability. You’ll find Neapolitan-style pizza, handmade pasta, house-cured salumi, and daily specials.
As the sun sets, make your way just south of Geyserville to check into your luxuriously appointed room at Madrona Manor. Here you will enjoy a romantic, spacious and very comfortable place to nourish your soul. Select a room with a fireplace for an extra cozy stay or opt for a balcony to take in the spectacular vineyard and garden views. Set on 8 acres of beautifully landscaped gardens in the heart of Wine Country, Madrona Manor is an iconic Sonoma County stay. For a stay closer to Geyserville, consider the Geyserville Inn, set to the rolling hills and vineyards of the Alexander Valley. This charming, boutique hotel has its own on-site restaurant, Geyserville Grille, and amenities that include a swimming pool and hot tub.
Awake rested and ready for another delicious day of Sonoma County wine tasting. First things first, enjoy your espresso at Madrona Manor while Michelin-Star Executive Chef Jesse Mallgren brightens your morning with a bountiful breakfast. Chef Mallgren takes full advantage of a wealth of local seasonal produce, and whenever possible, harvests ingredients from the estate gardens.
Nourished and ready for a new day of curated wine tasting, you can embark on a day of exploring Healdsburg wineries. Begin with one of the best views of the Dry Creek Valley at Trattore Farms Winery, which offers delicious wines from their estate vineyards and bright, fresh extra virgin olive oils milled right on site. The estate vineyards are picturesquely located on a hilltop on the eastern side of Dry Creek Valley with commanding views of Geyser Peak and Mount St. Helena to the east and the entire Dry Creek Valley to the west.
From here, take West Dry Creek Road to A. Rafanelli, which has been growing grapes and making wine in the Dry Creek Valley since the early 1900s. Four generations later, they continue to produce world-class, quality wines at their small winery, priding themselves on producing consistently exceptional wines like Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot. Since their wines aren’t available in retail shops, they can only be purchased through the winery, which is open by appointment only for tasting. This is truly a unique Sonoma County wine tasting experience.
Your tour of the Dry Creek Valley will take you to Passalacqua Winery, another multi-generational Sonoma County Winery. Their story begins in 1865, when Francesco Passalacqua emigrated from Genoa, landing in San Francisco and settling in Healdsburg, where he immediately planted grapes. Today the family invites you to discover their small lot handcrafted wines, as you immerse yourself in their exquisite winery setting and wine country lifestyle. Enjoy sweeping vineyard views of the Dry Creek Valley, while savoring Passalacqua’s selection of wines that includes Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, and Cabernet Sauvignon. Open by appointment only, Passalacqua’s intimate, cozy wine tasting experience will make you want to sit and stay a while.
Literally, just around the corner from Passalacqua is Amista Vineyards, an artisan, family-owned winery showcasing the fabulous fruit and friendly spirit of Dry Creek Valley. Vicky and Mike Farrow dreamed of owning a vineyard and making wine since they first met in 1982. That dream came true years later in the heart of Dry Creek Valley. Experience their dream yourself, with a tasting and tour of Amista, which can include a vineyard walk of their property.
From Amista, take Dry Creek Road to Mauritson Wines, which boasts 150 years of grape-growing heritage, featuring small production and single vineyard estate wines from the Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Rockpile AVAs. The Mauritson family invites you to join them for a customized flight of their limited production releases. Along with extraordinary, all-estate wines, your host will also share the story of their family's six-generation journey from sheep ranching to grape growing and now winemaking.
Finally, conclude your Dry Creek Valley day of wine tasting at Comstock Wines, which was inspired by the fundamental passion to grow and source only the best Sonoma County grapes, and transform them into wines that are as delicious as they are memorable. Greeting you at the expansive tasting bar, staff will pour you Comstock’s wines while sharing the unique story behind the winery. Don’t miss the Terrace at Comstock Wines, overlooking their estate Merlot vineyards. It is the ideal place to enjoy the beauty of Dry Creek Valley and fully immerse in the distinct varietals that thrive in Sonoma County. Here you can enjoy a private tasting of six wines, plus add a charcuterie board or fresh burrata. Afterward, enjoy a game of bocce on Comstock’s bocce court.
Following an afternoon of wine tasting, further tease your taste buds with a savory end to the perfect day and enjoy a bespoke hospitality experience at SingleThread. One of the country’s most accomplished chefs, Chef Kyle Connaughton, along with farmer and wife Katina Connaughton, operate SingleThread, a 55-seat Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant in Healdsburg. The farm, located on five acres between the Russian River and the historic San Lorenzo Ranch, supplies vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, honey, eggs, and olive oil to their restaurant kitchen. Guests of the restaurant are treated to an 11-course tasting menu, showcasing the seasonal bounty from the couple’s farm. Just make sure to get reservations well in advance.
For the more casual, yet still refined dining option, try Chalkboard, a casual, yet contemporary spot located just off the plaza in downtown Healdsburg. Executive Chef Forest Lee Kellogg’s menu of small plates is inspired by produce from a dedicated 4.5-acre farm, paired with local wine flights and inventive cocktails. Chalkboard’s daily changing menu is defined by ingredients sourced from local purveyors and farms, highlighting crudos (a.k.a. raw seafood), just-picked salads, handmade pastas, roasted and grilled meats, seafood, and a selection of playful dessert offerings.
While it’s departure day, if you still have room for a couple more wine tastings, consider a drive through the Russian River Valley, just south of the Dry Creek Valley. First, enjoy another delectable breakfast by the estate Chef at Madrona Manor, or try local favorites like Costeaux French Bakery, which has been serving up artisan breads, cakes, and desserts since 1923. The bakery café in downtown Healdsburg serves made-to-order bistro cuisine each morning, with highlights like the deep-dish quiche, Pain Perdu (French toast) made with thick slices of the world’s best cinnamon walnut bread, butter croissant breakfast sandwich, and omelets.
Just down Westside Road from Madrona Manor is Bacigalupi Vineyards, where four generations of winemaking has been taking place. Bacigalupi specializes in 100% estate produced, small production wines, including several expressions of Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, and an estate sparkling wine. Enjoy a seated tasting on Bacigalupi’s outdoor terrace set amidst the Russian River Valley.
Next door, stop into Flowers Winery for an elegant wine tasting experience sampling the likes of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and other varietals. Flowers’ beautifully appointed tasting room looks out over their vineyards, although the headliner is the outdoor seating set amidst lush gardens and rows of vineyards. Among the many unique things about Flowers is their Sonoma Coast wines, resulting in expressive and nuanced Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines that you can't just find anywhere.
Finally, top it all off with a wine and food pairing at the J Bubble Room at J Vineyards & Winery. This exquisite, five-course tasting menu highlights the bounty of Sonoma County, changing with each season. Just make sure to make a reservation early. While you’re at J Vineyards & Winery, stop in next door at Rodney Strong Vineyards. Here, enjoy a seated outdoor pairing at the Terrace overlooking Rodney Strong Vineyards.
Not Ready to Go Home:
If you want to add on another day, or to simply save it for your next visit, we welcome you to revisit your favorites or taste your way through those that time did not quite allow for. You might also venture into one of the other wine regions (AVAs) in Sonoma County and experience a wide array of wine varietals.