If you’re lucky enough to find yourself in Sonoma Valley, you might be overwhelmed by the number of wineries you have the option to visit. The breathtaking scenery makes almost any choice a memorable experience, but here are some of our favorites. All four are located just off the Sonoma Highway, although you might want to hire a driver if you plan to visit them all in one day!
1. Ledson Winery & Vineyards
An imposing castle welcomes you to this lovely winery. Inside, there are several tasting rooms, and no reservation is necessary for the basic tasting. If you’re looking for a little something extra, you can reserve a private tasting complete with cheese pairings. The castle also holds a market and deli, which allows you to buy some wine or a tasty sandwich, and head outside. Several picnic tables overlook the vineyard, making for an excellent backdrop for a meal.
2. Benziger Family Winery
This family owned winery offers tours that do an excellent job of showing you how wine is made. Take the tram tour into the picturesque vineyards and learn about biodynamic farming, which is a step above organic. You can also enter the barrel caves, see the crush pad and fermentation facilities, and finish by tasting some of their best wines. No reservation is necessary for the tram tour, but you can check their website for departure times.
3. VBJ Vineyards & Cellars
If all that wine is making you hungry, head to VBJ. This Italian-inspired winery features a Tuscan style villa that houses the wine tasting room and a wonderful deli. Their pizzas are handmade in a wood burning pizza oven, a must-try for pizza enthusiasts. You can also relax in the outdoor piazza, but save room for some delicious gelato. You don’t have to make an appointment for the tasting room, but if you want a more private experience, featuring owners Vittorio and Henry Belmonte, you will need to book ahead.
4. Chateau St. Jean
The Chateau St. Jean estate is a perfect example of California wineries. A sprawling lawn extends from the chateau, meaning you can enjoy your wine from the middle of the lovely gardens and vineyards. You can splurge on the charcuterie tasting on the patio if that’s your thing, but if you need a break from structured tastings, you can purchase your favorite bottle and a snack in the visitor’s center instead.