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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Best Sonoma County Winery for ...

Here's a question that comes up a lot from visitors: What winery should I go to? Or what's the best winery? Can't answer that, but I can give you some ideas based on certain criteria.

There are many choices for each category, but following are places that shouldn't disappoint.

Most Memorable

Francis Ford Coppola, Alexander Valley
Restaurant, bar, swimming pool, movie museum--something for everyone.


Paradise Ridge, Russian River Valley
You can see for miles and miles.

Longest Drive to Get To the Winery

Ft. Ross, Ft. Ross-Seaview (Sonoma Coast)
Their road from the Pacific Coast Highway is called Meyers Grade. That should tell you something.

Best Free Tasting

Alexander Valley Vineyards, Alexander Valley
There aren't many wineries still offering complimentary tastings. AVV also offers a free tasting in their wine cave (resv req'd).

Most Historic

Buena Vista, Sonoma Valley
California's first has undergone significant renovation.

Cave Tour

Bella, Dry Creek Valley
Modern caves with an in-depth guided tour (fee).

The Biggest

Kendall-Jackson's Estate and Gardens, Russian River Valley
They make a zillion wines, but you've only seen a dozen or so at you local wine shop.

The Smallest

Mounts Family, Dry Creek Valley
I don't actually know who has the smallest winery with a tasting room, but they are one of the best to visit as it's a real working winery, not just a storefront. Usually open on weekends.
For Wondering Around

Ferrari-Carano, Dry Creek Valley
The landscaping must keep dozens of gardeners employed.

For the Cabernet Lover

Silver Oak, Alexander Valley
One of the early premium Cab producers

For the Chardonnay Lover

Sonoma-Cutrer, Russian River Valley
You can find one of Sonoma-Cutrer's Chards on most higher-end restaurant wine lists.

For the Food Pairing

St. Francis, Sonoma Valley
Their wine and food pairings have won awards.

Disclaimer: I work for one of the wineries mentioned above