Wine Bars in Sonoma County
Each of Sonoma County's best wine bars has its own delightful ambiance, inviting a combination of relaxation, education, and good old-fashioned fun. Some offer exclusive or elusive wines, while others design food pairings to complement your favorite vintages. For those times when you'd like to blend wine with a little knowledge on a great evening out, here's a quick guide to some of Sonoma County's very best wine bars.
Spicy Vines, Healdsburg
Though it's not exactly a wine bar, this fun, stylish winery tasting room does offer wine in several contexts: by the glass; as a curated flight; paired with small bites (such as a fresh smoked salmon crostini board or a grilled prosciutto-and-pesto panini); or as an ingredient in craft cocktails. To enjoy any of these options, reservations are a must.
La Dolce Vita Wine Lounge, Petaluma
Savor the good life at this laid-back Petaluma wine bar, which carries an extensive and perpetually revolving selection of local and international wines for tasting, sipping, and purchase by the half-carafe and the bottle. Custom flights of three-ounce pours allow you to sample a wide variety of vintages.
Created to match the wine list, the extensive to-go menu of light and tasty dishes includes a selection of artisan cheeses from around the world, served with fresh French bread, fruit, and nuts; homemade soup of the day; salads with fresh local ingredients; and innovative pasta and pizza. All food items are available only for pickup.
This "bubbly bar" specializes in Champagne and sparkling wines by the glass, flight or bottle; the name Sigh refers to the sound that a sparkling wine should make when being opened, as opposed to the iconic "pop."
From everyday favorites to elegant, true French grower Champagnes, Sigh offers a rotating list of more than 25 bottles from all over the world, and owner Jayme Powers is known for teaching customers how to use a saber sword to open a Champagne bottle. The setting features a large oval bar, booths, and glamorous touches of luxury in a casual setting.
38° North Lounge at Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn, Sonoma
In this relaxed but luxurious setting, where sleek, minimalist design blends seamlessly with the resort's Spanish Mission-style architecture, you can choose from more than 50 wines by the glass. Options include cult favorites like Screaming Eagle, neighboring Kamen, and legendary Dom Perignon Brut. Pair your tipple with tantalizing small plates such as steamed mussels with white wine and crème fraiche; escargot; a Dungeness crab quesadilla; and much more.
This swanky lounge's name refers to the 38th parallel north, the temperate, east-west circle of latitude that encompasses some of the world's most iconic wine regions, including Sonoma County.
Willi's Wine Bar, Santa Rosa
The knowledgeable staff at this 3,000-square-foot Santa Rosa landmark is eager to help create perfect pairings with wines from the extensive list, many by local producers.
The international menu of small plates ranges from wildly inventive to comfortingly familiar. Popular favorites include goat cheese fritters, Tunisian roasted carrots with mint, Moroccan lamb chops, and mushroom soup shooters.
An open floor plan, soaring ceilings, brass lighting, and a 13-seat bar help capture the casual, laid-back nature of Sonoma County Wine Country. You'll find both locals and visitors here, enjoying a quick bite or lingering over a glass of wine.
In-Store Wine Bars
Some Sonoma County wine shops also include a wine bar, and the following are three of our favorites:
Gourmet Au Bay, Bodega Bay
At this coastal shop, enjoy waterfront views and go "wine surfing" by sipping glasses of award-winning California wines (and three beers on tap) served up on a mini surfboard. Since 1995, Gourmet au Bay has kept its customers well quaffed, with an impressive collection of local Sonoma County wines. In order to be featured here, a wine must be from a boutique label, produced in 1,000 cases or less, and either be designated 90-plus points or bear a gold medal award.
The coastal wood-oven cuisine here is unlike anything else in town. The menu changes daily, featuring a selection of flatbread pizzas and wood-oven-roasted dishes like wild salmon with roasted brussel sprouts. Guests can also grab a bottle to-go for their own picnics, filling their food baskets with gourmet cheeses and charcuterie from the on-site gift shop and deli.
Sonoma Wine Shop, Sonoma, and La Bodega Kitchen, Sebastopol
This wine-and-dine club operates two locations open to the public, in Sonoma and Sebastopol. The wines are sourced from ultra-small California wineries, and the food is made from scratch using local and organic ingredients; gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options are available.
Located in the 1891 Pinelli building on the historic Sonoma Plaza, the Sonoma Wine Shop offers wines from more than 100 small wineries and over 80 local cheeses, Thursday to Sunday.
In Sebastopol, in addition to wines by the glass, La Bodega Kitchen offers a few opportunities to enjoy Chef Rick Vargas' ever-changing menus of fresh Italian pasta, country French favorites, and Mediterranean cuisine, all crafted with local farm produce. Thursday to Monday, you can order take & bake dinners for pickup, or for dinner or Sunday brunch, reserve an alfresco spot on the patio.
Written by Sonoma Insider Patricia Lynn Henley.