Sonoma County Wineries, Tourist Attractions Top USA Today Readers’ Choice Awards

Vineyard in Sonoma's County's Chalk Hill

USA Today has announced its annual 10Best Readers’ Choice travel awards, highlighting “the best of the best” in the U.S. in categories such as food and drink, hotels and things to do. In 2022, 10 Sonoma County businesses were among the winners, which were chosen by a panel of experts and then voted on by USA Today readers. We congratulate our local winners below. You can see the winners in all USA Today 10Best categories here.

Best Wine Tasting Room — Corner 103 (No. 2)

Corner 103
Corner 103 

Lloyd Davis’ tasting room in the historic Sonoma Plaza was named best in the U.S. by USA Today readers in 2020. This year, it came in at No. 2 and remains outstanding for its tastings of limited-production wines, such as sparkling rosé, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Malbec. Corner 103, 103 W. Napa St., Sonoma, 707-931-6141

Best Winery Tour — Acorn Winery (No. 3)

Acorn Winery—Photo by Shana Bull
Acorn Winery—Photo by Shana Bull

Acorn owners Betsy and Bill Nachbaur’s devotion to Italian grape varieties and old-vine zinfandel is as strong as a Tuscan day is long. They took the No. 3 spot in the category “Best Winery Tour” for their tastings and vineyard walks, during which visitors learn about the winery’s field-blending techniques. (Read more here.) Acorn Winery, 12040 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 707-433-6440

Best Winery Tour — Benziger Family Winery (No. 4)

Best Winery Tour—Benziger Family Winery
Benziger Family Winery’s tram tour(s)

This Glen Ellen winery is a popular destination for its eco-friendly estate. The winery’s holistic approach to farming and maintaining a healthy ecosystem involves many elements, which can be explored via tram, along the Biodynamic Discovery Trail and during the Private Tribute Estate Tour & Tasting. Benziger Family Winery, 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen, 707-935-3000

Best Winery Tour — Cline Family Cellars (No. 5)

Best Winery Tour—Cline Family Cellars
Cline Family Cellars 

This Sonoma winery took the No. 5 spot in the “Best Winery Tour” category for its private tour and tasting, and Syrah Hill Experience, which includes hill-top views of the surrounding landscape. Fred and Nancy Cline planted Chardonnay, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Syrah in 1989 in southern Sonoma Valley/Carneros, where they opened a tasting room in an 1850s farmhouse. Ponds and a sea of rose bushes add color to the tranquil grounds. Cline Family Cellars, 24737 Arnold Drive, Sonoma, 800-546-2070

Best Winery Tour — Gundlach Bundschu (No. 6)

Gundlach Bundschu's Austrian military vehicle
Gundlach Bundschu’s Austrian military vehicle

Gundlach Bundschu (pronounced “gun lock bun shoe”) has been producing wine for more than 150 years. The winery is popular for its cool vibe, outdoor tastings and annual Huichica Music Festival. It took the No. 6 spot in the “Best Winery Tour” category for its tours of the 320-acre estate aboard a Pinzgauer – an Austrian military vehicle capable of going off road. Visitors can also tour the vineyards and wine caves on foot.  Gundlach Bundschu, 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma, 707-938-5277

Best Winery Restaurant — J Bubble Room (No. 6)

J Bubble Room
J Bubble Room 

Judy Jordan and her father, Tom Jordan of Jordan Winery, founded J Wine Co. in 1986 for the express purpose of producing méthode traditionelle wines. In the J Bubble Room, visitors can taste a selection of fine wines, along with food pairings that celebrate “the bounty of Sonoma County,” wrote USA Today. J Wine Co., 11447 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, 888-594-6326 

Best Wine Region — Sonoma County (No. 5)

Springtime in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley
Springtime in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley

Sonoma County came in at No. 5 in the “Best Wine Region” category. Walla Walla Valley in Washington state took the No. 1 spot. Napa Valley didn’t make this year’s top 10 list. 

Best Wine Festival — The Garagiste Wine Festival (No. 8)

The Garagiste Wine Festival has satellite events in Sonoma County
The Garagiste Wine Festival has satellite events in Sonoma County

Launched in Paso Robles in 2011, with satellite events in Sonoma County since 2018, the Garagiste Festival invites winemakers who produce 1,500 cases of wine or less per year to share their wines with consumers at the one-day event. Read more here

Best New Winery — Orsi Family Vineyards (No. 8)

Orsi Family Vineyards
Orsi Family Vineyards

Berni Orsi’s Healdsburg tasting room, which opened in 2021, took home the No. 8 spot in the “Best New Winery” category. The tasting room pours 11 estate-grown, limited-production Italian wines, including rare varietals such as Biancolella, Schioppettino and Negroamaro. (Read more here.) Orsi Family Vineyards, 2306 Magnolia Drive, Healdsburg, 707-732-4660

Best New Winery — Bricoleur Vineyards (No. 9)

Bricoleur Vineyards
Bricoleur Vineyards

Mark and Elizabeth Wall Hanson and daughter Sarah Hanson Citron opened their Bricoleur visitor center in Windsor in 2020. It took the No. 9 spot in the “Best New Winery” category.

The rose garden is a perfect place for sipping Bricoleur’s two rosés
The rose garden is a perfect place for sipping Bricoleur’s two rosés

Bricoleur’s outdoor setting and food and wine pairings have earned recognition and a loyal following in the past two years. (Read more here.) Bricoleur Vineyards, 7394 Starr Road, Windsor, 707-857-5700

Best Safari Park — Safari West (No. 10)

Safari West is "Sonoma's Serengeti"
Safari West is “Sonoma’s Serengeti” 

Sonoma’s Serengeti, Safari West took home the No. 10 spot in the “Best Safari Park” category. USA Today called the 400-acre wildlife preserve, located in Santa Rosa, “a bit of Africa in the heart of California’s Wine Country.” Visitors can book a private safari, such as the Winos & Rhinos Safari Adventure, where they can sip wine while touring the preserve and learning about its animals, or book an overnight stay in a luxury glamping tent or cottage. Safari West, 3115 Porter Creek Road, Santa Rosa, 707-579-2551

Written by Sarah Doyle, Sofia Englund, Julia Green and Linda Murphy 

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