Walk-Ins Welcome: Sonoma County Wineries that Don’t Require Reservations 

Comstock Wines, Healdsburg

As you plan your upcoming Sonoma County excursion, you imagine that your Wine Country ramble will unfold in a certain way: You’ll tool around back roads, soak in vistas, and make impromptu stops wherever you like, whenever you like. You never dream, however, that when you stumble upon an idyllic winery, they’ll turn you away because you don’t have a tasting reservation. Womp womp. 

These days, many local wineries do require advance reservations for tastings. This policy exists with good reason: Establishments committed to delivering the highest quality experience may limit the number of guests their staff serve at once. Yet any carefree traveler (like you!) recognizes the importance of an easy, breezy, spontaneous good time. That’s why we’ve rounded up some favorite tasting spots where you’ll be welcome to pop in without an appointment.  

Pair our winery recommendations (listed below) with a few simple etiquette tips to make sure your trip goes as smoothly as possible: 

  • Even for establishments that accept walk-ins, it never hurts to offer a heads up. If you can, call to let winery staff know you’re on the way. 
  • If you have a large party (five people or more), please do book in advance. Nearly all wineries like to plan for large groups.  
  • If you want to book a special tasting, pairing experience, or tour of the winery, rather than the general tasting, it will almost certainly require a reservation. 
  • When relying on walk-in service, space may be available on a limited basis. 
  • Check the winery website in advance to obtain any necessary details and policies (pets, children, outside food, hours of operation, etc.)  
  • Relax and enjoy! 

Healdsburg and Northern Sonoma County 

Comstock Wines, Healdsburg
Comstock Wines, Healdsburg

In the upper reaches of Sonoma County, you’ll find plenty to explore. From the lively and sophisticated town of Healdsburg, sprawling vineyards stretch for miles, craggy mountains rise up toward a brilliant sky, and precious rivers head toward the sea. Appellations include Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Knights Valley, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, and Northern Sonoma

Must-sees: 

Bannister Wines 

In a converted bank vault in the heart of quaint Geyserville, next-gen vintner Brook Bannister (son of industry pioneer Martha Bannister) invites you to relax and enjoy thoughtfully crafted wines in an utterly distinctive, one-of-a-kind atmosphere. Bannister, a fine furniture maker, designed the bohemian space with his wife, fellow artist Morgania Moore. Lounge on one of his handmade pieces and enjoy classic Pinot Noir, along with distinctive Italian varietal wines and skin-fermented Riesling. As you do, check out the winery’s featured art display, which rotates throughout the year. 

21035 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville 

Comstock Wines 

Situated on a 17-acre estate in Dry Creek Valley, this scenic winery is owned and operated by Bob and Sandy Comstock, who’ve been growing grapes for more than 20 years. In an airy indoor-outdoor space that opens directly onto the vineyards, sample some of the varietals that give this appellation its renown: Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Chardonnay. 

1290 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg 

Other walk-in-friendly wineries to consider: 

Aeris Wines ColagrassiLeo Steen Wines at the DrinkPezzi KingTrione Vineyards & Winery
Alexander Valley VineyardsDaVero Farm and WineryLIOCOPorter Creek WineryTruett Hurst
Amphora WineryDe La Montanya Vineyards & WineryLocals Tasting Room Quivira VineyardsWilson 
BACA Wines DeLorimierLongboard VineyardsRockpile VineyardsWoodenhead Vintners
Bacchus LandingErnest VineyardsThe Meeker Vineyard Seghesio Family VineyardsZouzounis 
BaldassariFoppiano VineyardsMerriam VineyardsSilver Oak Alexander Valley
Banshee WinesFrancis Ford Coppola WineryNalle WinerySoda Rock
Bloodroot WinesIdlewildPapapietro Perry WinerySmith Story Wine Cellars 
Cast WinesKelley & Young WinesPedroncelliTrentadue 

Santa Rosa, Glen Ellen, Kenwood, and Central Sonoma County 

Abbot’s Passage, Glen Ellen
Abbot’s Passage, Glen Ellen

As a hub of community life and the county seat, Santa Rosa and its surroundings have plenty to offer, including innovative cuisine, lovely parks, museums, and (of course) great wine. Appellations in this region include: Bennett Valley, Green Valley, Fountaingrove District, and Russian River Valley

Must-sees: 

Abbot’s Passage 

In a glorious garden setting in the heart of Valley of the Moon, amid some of the county’s oldest grapevines, sixth-generation vintner Katie Bundschu offers distinctive locally grown field blends, along with sparkling wine and Rosé. For light drinkers, the winery also highlights a rotating low-ABV seasonal wine cocktail, like the “Noontide Tiki-fied,” which mixes Sauvignon Blanc with grapefruit juice, ginger, almond, orgeat and spices. Pair your drink of choice with food items from a thoughtfully curated, locally sourced menu, play a rousing game of shuffleboard, or just lounge in the dreamy surroundings.  

777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen  

Balletto Vineyards 

At the southernmost tip of the Russian River Valley, you’ll find this family-run estate, which encompasses more than 600 acres of sustainably farmed fruit: Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Rosé, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, and Zin. While the family sells fruit to a number of top wineries in the region, they retain 60 acres to produce their own wines. Join them for a relaxed, approachable tasting, delicious wines, and vineyard views.  

5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa 

Other walk-in-friendly wineries to consider: 

BenzigerFogline Vineyards Little VineyardsPassaggio Wines Vaughn-Duffy
Char-Vale Vineyard Korbel California Champagne  Martinelli VineyardsSiduri Wines VJB Winery  
Chateau St. JeanKorbin Kameron Mayo Family WinerySt. Francis Winery
DeLoach VineyardsKunde Family WineryMoshin Vineyards Talisman Wines 
Emeritus Vineyards      La Crema Estate at Saralee VineyardsOld World WineryTy Caton Vineyards

Sonoma, Petaluma, and Southern Sonoma County 

Kivelstadt Cellars + Winegarten, Sonoma
Kivelstadt Cellars + Winegarten, Sonoma

An easy, enticing trip from the San Francisco Bay Area, the southern part of Sonoma County offers an ideal foray into Wine Country. The region’s ideal balance of sun, wind, and fog help shape its character and terroir. You’ll feel it in the air, and you’ll taste it in every sip. Appellations include Sonoma Valley, Sonoma Mountain, Moon Mountain,  Carneros Sonoma, and Petaluma Gap

Must-sees: 

Kivelstadt Cellars + Winegarten 

With its tasting room and outdoor patio situated just a few miles south of the Sonoma Plaza, Kivelstadt offers a nontraditional tasting menu: Old-vine Sauvignon Blanc, Charbono, skin-contact orange wines, field blends from local vineyards, and more. In addition to wine, the winery also offers a fun range of nonalcoholic beverages for sale, including kombucha on tap and nonalcoholic beer.  

22900 Broadway, Sonoma 

Brooks Note Winery 

Tucked in an unassuming corner of downtown Petaluma – the gateway of Sonoma Wine Country – Brooks Note showcases fruit from vineyards across Northern California. Owners Garry and Joanne Brooks welcome you into a rustic yet elegant space that features exposed beams, stacked barrels, and an airy feel. Enjoy Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast, a Rhone blend from Lake County, Pinot Blanc from Mendocino County, and more hidden treasures. 

426 Petaluma Blvd. North, Petaluma 

Other walk-in-friendly wineries to consider: 

Adobe Road Ceja Vineyards Hawkes Wine Meadowcroft Wines Schug Winery 
Barber Cellars Cline Family Cellars Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Ram’s Gate Sonoma Portworks 
Bennett Valley Cellars Gehricke Wines Jeff Cohn Cellars Robledo Family WineryWALT
Buena Vista Winery Gundlach Bundschu La Prenda Roche Winery & Vineyards

Sebastopol, Occidental, and West Sonoma County 

Pax Wine, Sebastopol
Pax Wine, Sebastopol

Is there any place more breathtaking and otherworldly than the Sonoma Coast? We’re biased, but we think it’s kind of great. Wending along Highway 1, or any backroad, you’ll breathe the same invigorating coastal air that makes the fruit here thrive. Appellations include West Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Coast, and Fort Ross-Seaview

Must-see: 

Pax Wine 

For more than two decades, Pax and Pam Mahle have offered a stellar lineup of wines from cool-climate, organically farmed vineyards. Their flagship wine is a Syrah, but they also offer Chenin Blanc, as well as unsung varietal wines such as Trousseau Gris, Pineau D’Aunis, and Mondeuse Noire. Known for casual ambience and friendly, top-notch service, the urban-style tasting room at the Barlow welcomes guests on a whim. 

6780 McKinley St., #170, Sebastopol 

Other walk-in-friendly wineries to consider: 

Annapolis WineryArtevino – Maple Creek Winery Dutton-Goldfield WineryHorse + PlowPaul Mathew VineyardsRed Car Wine 

Written by Amy Bess Cook 

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