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Friday, June 5, 2015

Best Sonoma County Wineries to Visit

It's tricky coming up with a "best" list for anything--what's the best restaurant, what's the best new car, etc?  It comes down to how you define "best."

Having put in that disclaimer here are a few lists from various professional writers on the subject. None will exactly match my top ten list, but then I'm not even sure what my list would look like.

I get asked often, "Where should we go?" and I don't have a standard answer. I usually ask things like, "what are you looking for?" or even "what direction are you heading?" Most times I don't get an answer because they haven't figured out what they're looking for in a winery experience. If there was really one best then the rest of them would probably be out of business, right?

Use these opinions as data points to pick your top spots

The Best Sonoma County Wineries to Visit from's travel section. It's a pretty good list covering various highlights of Sonoma County.

Best Wine Travel Destinations 2014, Sonoma from Wine Enthusiast magazine. Another decent list and being a wine magazine you assume they know what they're talking about.

20 Fantastic Sonoma Wineries from American Winery Guide. This is a blog entry of their reviewers' favorites (not sure who the reviewers are). Lot of old school stuff, like Buena Vista and Korbel, not that there's anything wrong with that.

13 Sonoma County Wineries You Should Know About from, Sonoma County Tourism's web site. They are a private marketing organization promoting Sonoma County travel.

Where to go?

Why there's no one good list for you

Everyone comes from a different background and with a different agenda. This includes factors like:
  • You want to find some Pinot Noir (or Chardonnay or Cabernet, etc.) you can't buy at home.
  • You want to try wines you can find back home so you know what to buy next time.
  • Looking for Chardonnay that isn't oaky and buttery or some that are.
  • Looking for some high-end wines to impress friends or you can't imagine spending more than $30 for a bottle of wine.
  • Want small, uncrowded tasting rooms or you want to visit the famous places you've heard about and seen on travel shows.
  • You're looking for cool architecture or you want to taste at a garage winery.
  • You want to understand something about growing grapes, making wine, or you just want to seek out 90 point wines.
  • You want to see a winery cave or you get claustrophobic so you'll stay above ground, thanks anyway.
  • And a hundred other possible reasons for your visit.
Have fun exploring!

Disclaimer: I work for one of the wineries mentioned in these links