Unique White Wine Lovers Itinerary
If you’re a white-wine lover, it can be a little more difficult to craft a Sonoma County wine-tasting itinerary that includes enough white wines. And, while Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc are great, it’s nice to get to discover and taste other varietals.
Sonoma County wineries grow and produce a wide range of unique white grapes and wines. While many of these are made in very small quantities, some can still be found on tasting lists (when available) and on local wine lists.
Pick and choose from among the places on this itinerary to create a fabulous Sonoma County wine-tasting experience! We tried to include only wineries that have at least three different white wines available for tasting, but please keep in mind that the wines featured on wineries’ tasting lists do change on a regular basis (due to selling out of certain wines or based on what has most currently been released, etc.).
Also, at the end of this article, check out the list of additional wineries with notes on what unique varietals they make, and the list of local wine bars or restaurants that offer a nice selection of Sonoma County white wines by the glass.
Situated in western Sebastopol within the Russian River Valley appellation, Dutton-Goldfield Winery is a family-owned vineyard that focuses on cool climate site wines. Like most wineries in the Russian River Valley, Dutton-Goldfield’s core wines are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but they also make a small amount of Pinot Blanc and Riesling. The winery also makes three single-vineyard or site-specific Chardonnays.
Pax Wines (Sebastopol)
Located within The Barlow in Sebastopol, Pax Wines specializes in Syrah and wines grown in cool, coastal vineyard sites including an array of esoteric white wines such as Trousseau Gris, Vermentino, and Chenin Blanc (the winery makes three Chenins from three different and distinct vineyard sites).
While not technically a winery, Region, located in The Barlow, essentially serves as a tasting room for a dozen or more local wineries that don't have a room of their own. It is also the only wine bar in Sonoma County that focuses completely on Sonoma County wines, offering 50+ wines by the glass, taste, or bottle, therefore, having access to an impressive number of interesting whites compared to what a single winery would offer. Because the wineries represented at Region are predominantly very small, Region is the only place in Sonoma County where visitors can taste many of these wines. Visitors can purchase tastes at self-serving WineStation machines, or go into a separate room where a featured winery and winemaker are pouring wines. If you are looking for a large selection of locally made white wines that you can taste or order by the glass, Region offers dozens to choose from.
Pellegrini-Olivet Lane (Santa Rosa)
A fourth-generation family-run winery located in the Russian River Valley appellation of Sonoma County, Pellegrini-Olivet Lane specializes in both growing and sourcing grapes from select vineyards in Sonoma County. While the winery has traditionally focused on Pinot Noir (both growing and selling premium Pinot Noir grapes as well as vinifying their own red, rose, and sparkling Pinot Noir-based wines), the winery also produces a unique white Pinot Noir, a skin-contact/skin-fermented Chardonnay, and an unoaked Chardonnay.
Pellegrini is open for tastings Thursday through Sunday. Guests can choose a regular tasting that includes a flight of five wines, opt for a catered lunch option or combine their tasting with a tour of the vineyards and winery. Pellegrini is also dog-friendly.
Kivelstadt Cellars and Winegarten (Sonoma)
Kivelstadt Cellars is a boutique winery and winegarten (a restaurant, taproom, and relaxed outdoor area). Winemaker Jordan Kivelstadt loves bringing light to different varietals and highlighting California’s diverse vineyards while integrating Old World winemaking practices. The white wine list at Kivelstadt includes a sparkling Chenin Blanc, a Sauvignon Blanc, a Marsanne-Rousanne blend, an orange wine (made from Roussanne), and a Sauvignon Blanc-Gravenstein apple co-fermented wine aptly called Gravignon Blanc.
Two Shepherds (Windsor)
Two Shepherds is a small, independently owned winery located in Windsor’s Artisan Alley. The winery crafts natural wines made from organic grapes and unusual or rare varieties. The focus here is on fresh, easy-to-drink wines that aren’t overloaded with too much oak and are naturally low in alcohol. White wines at Two Shepherds include a Picpoul Blanc, Trousseau Gris, Grenache Blanc, a skin-fermented Pinot Gris, and a skin-fermented Vermentino.
Idlewild Wines (Healdsburg)
Idlewild Wines is a small winery that focuses on producing Piedmontese varietals grown in the rugged hills of Northern California. Their tasting room is located just off the plaza in Downtown Healdsburg. Idlewild produces a selection of unique white wines made from incredibly rarely grown Italian white grape varieties, including a Favorita (yes, this is the name of the grape!), Arneis, Erbaluce, Cortese, and a refreshing white blend (called Flora and Fauna) of Arneis, Muscat Canelli, Cortese, Erbaluce, and Favorita.
Idlewild offers tastings by appointment Wednesday through Sunday.
Additional wineries that produce unique and/or rarely seen white varietal wines:
Aperture Cellars (Healdsburg): Chenin Blanc
Belden Barns Farmstead Winery (Sonoma): Gruner Veltliner, late-harvest Viognier
DeLoach Vineyards (Santa Rosa): Pinot Noir Blanc
Joseph Jewell (Forestville): Vermentino, Sparkling Vermentino
Orsi Family Vineyards (Healdsburg): Biancolella, Fiano
Unti Vineyards (Healdsburg): Fiano, Grenache Blanc
Wine Bars with a good selection of local Sonoma County wines by the glass:
Enoteca Della Santina (Sonoma)
Valley Bar and Bottle (Sonoma)
Willis Seafood and Raw Bar (Healdsburg)
Written by Brooke Herron