Your Guide to Sonoma County’s Refillable Wine and Cider Offerings
Did you know that there are places in Sonoma County where you can purchase a refillable growler, jug, or bottle of wine or cider?
There are! The following Sonoma County wineries and cideries (listed in alphabetical order) all offer wines or ciders on draft, with the option to purchase a refillable bottle or jug to-go.
What’s so great about refillable bottles?
- Refillable bottles are better for the earth. Each time you refill a bottle of wine or cider versus purchasing a new bottle, that is one less bottle in a landfill (statistics show that ⅓ of glass bottles in the United States don’t end up getting recycled properly) and fewer carbon emissions per liter of wine produced/consumed.
- Refillable bottles don’t require a cork or a corkscrew so they are park- and beach-friendly and they save a cork!
- You’ll normally pay less money for more wine or cider when purchasing a refillable growler, jug, or bottle because most businesses charge the same for a liter of draft wine as for a 750-ml bottle of the same wine.
What’s not to like about an eco-friendly, cost-effective, and fun way to buy and take home locally made Sonoma County artisan wines and ciders? Choose from among the wineries or cideries on this list to get started.
Cochon is a unique wine-tasting bar located off of the Sonoma Plaza that offers wine tastings, wines by the glass or bottle (including 1-liter refillable bottles), charcuterie and cheese plates, and espresso beverages. The wines poured here are Cochon wines, made by co-owner and winemaker Adam Webb, whose focus is on using Southern French and Spanish varieties grown on unique vineyard sites in California (primarily within Sonoma County). Not all of Cochon’s wines are available on draft (for purchase in refillable bottles) but wines on draft normally include Grenache, Rosé, and a white wine such as Viognier.
Golden State Cider has a taproom located in The Barlow in Sebastopol. The cidery produces a range of popular and widely distributed canned ciders as well as some smaller production ciders (its Harvest series and Specialty series) made with Sonoma County apples and other organically farmed apples from unique orchard sites. The taproom pours 12 ciders on draft and offers the option to order food from anywhere within The Barlow and enjoy it at their taproom with their ciders. Almost any cider on tap is available for purchase in growlers to-go. Try one of Golden State Cider's sampler flights to find your favorite cider, and then grab a growler of it to take with you.
Horse & Plow is an organic farm and winery in Sebastopol that crafts natural wines and farmstead ciders from North Coast orchards and vineyards. The focus at Horse & Plow is working with organic fruit, refraining from adding anything unnatural or unnecessary to their wines or ciders, and following sustainable business practices that go beyond farming. Horse & Plow normally has multiple ciders on draft as well as a red wine (the winery's Draft Horse Red), or both a red and white wine on draft that guests can purchase in refillable 1-liter growlers. The cost of the bottle is $10 (added onto your first purchase only) and liter pricing is the same for one liter as it would be for the same wine in a 750-ml (labeled and corked) bottle.
Kivelstadt Cellars is a boutique Sonoma winery known for its fresh, balanced wines (no big oaky reds here), artistic labels, and newly opened wine garden. In 2020, Kivelstadt moved from its small tasting room in Glen Ellen to a larger taproom and restaurant with a large outdoor patio in Sonoma at the corner of Broadway and Highway 121. Kivelstadt normally has between 5 and 7 wines available on tap (including 3-4 fresh, drinkable reds) and anything on tap can be purchased by the liter in refillable growlers for a $10 add-on charge with the first purchase.
The cost of a liter of draft wine is the same as a corked, labeled 750-ml bottle.
Mercury Wines was one of the first Sonoma County wineries to offer "jug wines," and its "jug wine" program is still going strong. There’s only one "jug wine" available at Mercury, and it’s a blend that changes every year, but what remains consistent about the wine is that it’s red, juicy, and easy to drink. The last time we visited Mercury’s tasting room in Geyserville, the current blend was Syrah, Zin, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Something unique about Mercury Wines’ draft wine program is that it offers both 500-ml jugs (just $17 on first purchases and $13.50 for refills) as well as 1-liter jugs. The pricing is slightly higher on first-time purchases ($3-$4 higher to cover the cost of the bottle) and is then discounted for refill purchases.
Pax Wines is known for making 100% natural wines, and the winemaking style is minimal intervention. The focus here is on fresh wines made from unique white wine grapes (such as Trousseau Gris and Chenin Blanc) and Syrah. This is one of the few wineries in Sonoma County (and really, the state) where such a huge focus is placed on Syrah, and in the case of Pax, this means a focus on growing Syrah on cooler climate vineyard sites. The winery makes five different Syrahs made from different vineyard sites.
There are normally between three to six wines on draft and available for purchase in refillable liter bottles at Pax’s tasting room in The Barlow – a white, a rosé, and a red. The last time we visited the tasting room, draft wines included Viognier, Trousseau Gris, Chenin Blanc, Rosé of Grenache & Mourvedre, and Gamay. Wines on tap rotate throughout the year. There’s no surcharge for the bottle at Pax, but you will receive a 10% discount on refills.
Preston Farm and Winery is a family operated farm and winery in the Dry Creek Valley that practices sustainable and organic farming. The focus here is on growing wine varieties that originate in warm climates in Southern Europe such as Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvedre, and Carignane, to name a few.
In addition to wine, Preston also farms grain, olives, fruit and vegetables, and even operates its own CSA program that features seasonal veggies and produce grown on the farm. They also make a small amount of estate olive oil and farmstead cider, and sometimes has freshly baked bread made with grains grown and milled on the farm available in the farm shop.
The "jug wine" or fill-your-own-bottle program at Preston features its "Guadagni" wine, a red blend of Zinfandel, Barbera, Petite Sirah, and Mourvedre. Preston’s 3-liter jugs are, by design, large enough to serve (more than one glass per person) at a big family gathering or dinner party.
Interested in more earthy-friendly and sustainable Sonoma County wine tasting and travel resources? Check out the following posts:
Written by Brooke Herron