A Wine Country wedding is often a princess bride’s dream, complete with a billowy white gown, mountains of flowers, a winery setting, and many, many admiring guests. Finding a wine estate that can accommodate large gatherings is the first step in making that dream a reality.
Lucky you, fantasies coming true are what Sonoma County is all about. Here are five venues that say, “I do” to events with more than 200 beloved friends and family members.
This venue is a showstopper, from the spectacular mountain-cradled setting to the meticulously trained staff that nimbly coordinates all the event details. Wedding parties have many choices, with more than 1,300 acres devoted to vineyards, a winery, hospitality center, culinary garden, stables, equestrian pavilion, fishing and swimming ponds, expansive wilderness areas, and a Spanish style chapel built in honor of the estate’s original owners. One of the most popular locations is the Estate Pavilion, an elegant hillside Chateau spanning 2,480 square feet and decorated with a handcrafted 21-foot tall French Louis XIII-style limestone fireplace, polished hardwood floors, and European furniture. Nestled among oak groves surrounded by acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapevines, it’s also flanked by 2,184 square feet of terraces. Then, in the Pavilion below, picture windows open up to the Olympic-sized dressage riding arena, exquisitely crafted of Alaskan golden cedar, featuring a floor that can be overlaid for dancing for up to 400 people.
10300 Chalk Hill Road, Healdsburg, 707-657-4837
The mossy stone building where Soda Rock Winery stands today was built in 1869, as one of Healdsburg’s first general stores and post offices. In 1880, it became Alexander Valley’s first bonded winery. Today, the historic estate is one of the most beautiful, off-the-radar locations for a wedding, complete with a tasting room anchored by a long, dark polished wood bar that was salvaged from a local tavern. A huge, airy, and natural-light-filled barrel room in the back has been converted to private party space for lavish events up to 250 guests. Several new high-style guest suites have been added to the property for honeymooners and wedding party members wishing to stay the night.
8015 Highway 128, Healdsburg, 707-433-3303
All the charms of Alexander Valley are embraced in the spacious yet romantic outdoor areas of the winery. They exude old world Italian charm, with vine-covered arbors, splashing fountains, shaded gardens and sprawling lawns flowing to views of vineyards, redwood forests and majestic mountains. Yet the Tuscan-style winery also features the grand Sala del Leone Vineyard Pavilion, elegant with high ceilings capped in exposed beams, and arched French doors overlooking the estate vineyards for a feeling of being outside while enjoying the comfort of the indoors. The versatile space is perfect for up to 250 guests indoors and up to 500 guests outdoors, and all weddings are private, since bookings include exclusive use of all special event areas including the Garden Arbors, South Lawn and Gardens, Sala del Leone Vineyard Pavilion, and North Lawn.
19170 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville, 707-433-3104
The Kenwood property is sumptuous, spanning 270 acres of lush Sugarloaf Ridge foothills, anchored by lavish formal gardens embracing a grand Mediterranean mansion capped by an elaborate turret. It’s so lovely, in fact, it’s a favorite of theknot.com, an online authority that showcases the world’s most fabulous weddings. One of the best places for 300+ guests is the Grand Lawn, featuring the historic Chateau as a dramatic backdrop, plus vineyard and mountain views. Everything can be customized, too, from lantern lighting in the trees to a cocktail and bubble lounge to the al fresco sit-down reception.
8555 Sonoma Highway, Kenwood, 707-833-4134
Accommodating groups up to 220 guests, this Tuscan estate still feels intimate, somehow, perhaps because it is cradled so eloquently by the Mayacamas mountains. Many larger groups take over the expansive lawn, neatly framed by estate vineyards and sweeping views of the Sonoma Valley in the shadow of Hood Mountain. The Dining Room is an excellent reception area, too, with its coffered ceiling, fireplace, Palladian windows, and French doors opening onto the patio.
100 N. Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, 888-675-9463
Need help planning your wedding? Sonoma County Tourism offers complimentary wedding assistance.
Written by Sonoma Insider Carey Sweet