Alexander Valley Vineyards
At family-run Alexander Valley Vineyards, the Wetzels serve as curators of local history, having restored Cyrus’ original adobe and schoolhouse. 8644 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg. Tasting room open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.433.7209.
Nothing big about the wine list: just style-driven, focused wines. 7015 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Tasting room open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.473.0606.
The wines are original, and there are three mysterious geodesic domes on the property. Plus: bocce! 2201 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–4pm. 707.433.2222.
(WC) Specializing in Zinfandel, Bella Vineyards farms three vineyards in Sonoma County: Big River Ranch in Alexander Valley, and the Lily Hill Estate and Belle Canyon in Dry Creek Valley. 9711 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am-4:30pm. 866.572.3552.
Like owner Chris Lewand, the wine is just so darned approachable and easy-going. Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon are most consistently strong. 57 Front St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–6pm. 888.404.9463.
The tasting room is a small, wood-paneled anteroom stocked with bins of wine. There are no fountains, Italian tiles or anything not having to do directly with the business of sampling wines made on the premises. Chard and Cab shine. 641 Limerick Lane, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.433.2001.
Clos du Bois
With picnicking area, friendly staff and knickknacks galore, Clos Du Bois is a reliable treasure. 19410 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 800.222.3189.
David Coffaro Vineyards
Coffaro specializes in unique red blends and Zinfandels. Coffaro keeps an online diary of his daily winemaking activities (www.coffaro.com/diary.html). 7485 Dry Creek Road, Geyserville. Appointment only. 707.433.9715.
The namesake is gone but the quality remains. 10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–4pm. 707.473.2900.
Even as a corporate giant, Fetzer retains its conscience about the earth, the grapes, the land and its wine. Chardonnay is what Fetzer does especially well. The winery also has a small deli and inn. 13601 Old River Road, Hopland. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 800.846.8637.
Field Stone Winery
(WC) Popular with hikers and bikers passing through, Field Stone Winery is an idyllic 85-acre visit-nature. It was also one of the first underground wine cellars, carved into the hill in the 1970s. 10075 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.433.7266.
First Street Wines
Half a block off of the main street, a cooperative of two family wineries, serving Hart’s Desire Wines and Pendleton Estate Wines in an art gallery setting. 105 E. First St., Cloverdale. Open Friday&–Saturday, 11am&–6pm; Sunday, 11am&–5pm. 707.894.4410.
Over 100 years old, Foppiano produces wines that can be described as simple but delicious. 12707 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.433.7272.
Francis Ford Coppola Presents Rosso & Bianco
In a fairy-tale setting complete with a castle and friendly, attentive staff, this winery has excellent white wines and an in-house restaurant (currently closed). 300 Via Archimedes, Geyserville. Open daily at 11am. 707.857.1400.
Gallo Family Vineyards
Before there was the box, there was the jug, and among local producers, Gallo has long been a favorite. 320 Center St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–6pm. 707.433.2458.
Geyser Peak Winery
In the 1990s, the facility was in thrall to Australian overlords the Penfolds, who brought in winemakers Daryl Groom and Mick Shroeter. When their Shiraz won top awards at the Sonoma County Harvest Fair, it was seen as a peak moment in an Aussie invasion. 22281 Chianti Road, Geyserville. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 800.255.9463
Hop Kiln Winery
Both pleasant and rural, Hop Kiln has an extremely popular crisp white wine (Thousand Flowers) which sells out every year. The grounds are gorgeous, right on the Russian River. 6050 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.433.6491.
Sparkling and then some. Try the food and wine pairing. 11447 Old Redwood Hwy., Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.431.3646.
Locals Tasting Room
Locals is a high-concept tasting room offering over 60 wines from nine wineries in varietal flights. Corner of Geyserville Avenue and Highway 128, Geyserville. Open daily, 11am&–6pm. 707.857.4900.
If serious surfers are said to anticipate an approaching wave with focused contemplation, then it only follows that they’d pursue winemaking with corresponding studiousness. That’s the case at Longboard. 5 Fitch St., Healdsburg. Open Thursday&–Saturday, 11am&–7pm; Sunday, 11am&–5pm. 707.433.3473.
Only in the 1980s, after hiring a consultant, did Martinelli begin to make A-list wines, but it’s still a funky red-barn establishment at heart. Martinelli Winery, 3360 River Road, Windsor. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.525.0570.
Mauritson Family Winery
Zinfandels are the hallmark of this fledgling winery. Reserve vintages routinely sell out, including the much sought-after Rockpile Zinfandel. There’s a lot of buzz about wines from the Rockpile Appellation. 2859 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Tasting room open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.431.0804.
You might expect Meeker to be more slicked-out, what with its big-time Hollywood origins (co-owner Charlie Meeker is a former movie executive). But that’s clearly not the case. 21035 Geyserville Ave., Geyserville. Open Monday&–Saturday, 10:30am&–6pm; Sunday, noon&–5pm. 707.431.2148.
Highly recommended, but by appointment only. The family has been making wine in France for 400 years. Well-known for Chardonnay. 4155 Wine Creek Road, Healdsburg. 707.433.7427.
While the historically inspired building is just spinning a decorative wheel, quaint is just a footnote to quality. All the wines are above average. 1401 Westside Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–4pm. 707.431.2121.
Like so many other enterprising victims littering the area, former math teacher Rick Moshin fell hard for Pinot somewhere along the way. 10295 Westside Road, Healdsburg, Tasting room open daily, 11am&–4:30pm. 707.433.5499.
Value is a premium. Be sure to try the Brenda Block Cabernet and Fume Blanc. The new tasting room is a classy, low-key experience. 20 Matheson St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10:30am&–5:30pm. 800.499.7644.
Family-run, boasting good reds and Chardonnay as well as a fun wine-aroma kit to train your senses to identify common wine smells. Large deck, garden and vineyard. 3805 Lambert Bridge Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.433.5575.
Considered one of the better wineries in Sonoma. Try the Mouvedre and Sangiovese. Limited picnicking facilities, organic vegetables and homemade bread for sale. On Sundays, the bread is fresh and the Italian-style jug wine, Guadagni, flows. 9282 W. Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–4:30pm. 707.433.3372.
Hoping to break free from the stereotype that biodynamic wine equals bad wine, Quivira aims high and hits. Picnicking available. 4900 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 800.292.8339.
Ridge Vineyards Lytton Springs
(WC) Paul Draper is one of the top five winemakers nationwide. The wines are fabulous and tend to inspire devotion in drinkers. The tasting room is an environmentally conscious structure (at press time, it was also closed for roof repair; call first). 650 Lytton Springs Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–4pm. 707.433.7721.
Funky and offbeat with Native American art, rave-review Zinfandels and friendly, low-key staff. 250 Center St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.431.1169.
Russian Hill Winery
Simple tasting room, strong Pinots and Syrah, fantastic view. 4525 Slusser Road, Windsor. Open Thursday&–Monday, 10am&–5pm. 707.575.9428.
Sharing a property with such as Camilla Cellars and other boutique wineries on a compound they simply call “Front Street 5,” production is mainly reds, with the exception of an estate Chardonnay. 51 Front St., Healdsburg. Open Thursday&–Monday, 11am&–4:30pm. 707.431.1888.
Simple, rural, without corporate cross-promotions and pretense. Good Zinfandel and nice cats. 7370 Hwy. 128, Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–4pm. 707.433.5136.
Sbragia Family Vineyards
Ed Sbragia makes stellar Cab in Zin country. 9990 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.473.2992.
Seghesio Family Winery
Delicious Italian varietals, many of them brought directly from Italy; excellent Zinfandel. 14730 Grove St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.433.3579.
Regularly served at White House state dinners, Selby Chard has been through several administrations. 215 Center St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5:30pm. 707.431.1288.
Pioneered female winemaking by hiring the first female winemaker in the industry. The tasting-room experience is mediocre, but the wine is fantastic and worth the wait. Excellent Chard, Sauvignon Blanc and Cab. 16275 Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.473.3213.
Stryker Sonoma Vineyards
Off-the-beaten-path winery features beautiful views and spectacular wine, the best of which are the reds. 5110 Hwy. 128, Geyserville. Open daily, 10:30am&–5pm. 707.433.1944.
Erica and Scott Lindstrom-Dake started Thumbprint in their garage, and recommend vegetarian food parings with their wine. 36 North St., Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–6pm. 707.433.2393.
Timber Crest Farms
Formerly of Lytton Springs Road, Peterson Winery has relocated to Timber Crest, where they pour on weekends right at the cellar door. Also on hand is Papapietro-Perry and the six Family Wineries of Dry Creek. Dashe Cellars crafts mainly powerful Zinfandels and other reds. At Kokomo Winery, it’s about the reds. Also look for Mietz Cellars, Lago di Merlo and Collier Falls. 4791 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Tasting rooms generally open daily from around 10:30am to 4:30pm. 707.433.0100. Peterson Winery is open weekends only. 707.431.7568.
A humorous, frog-themed tasting room begun by Robin Williams’ brother Todd Williams and Rodney Strong, both now passed. Refreshing and fun. 409-A Healdsburg Ave., Healdsburg. Open daily, 10:30am&–5:30(ish)pm. 707.431.8667
Very friendly and casual with an emphasis on young Italian-style wines. Yum. 4202 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. By appointment. 707.433.5590.
Friends should never let friends drink shitty wine. Do you have a truck? After all, friends don’t let friends drink alone. 1960 Dry Creek Road, Healdsburg. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.433.4355.
Adobe Road Winery
Award-winning Cab, Pinot, Zin, Cab Franc, Syrah and Petite Sirah. Their tasting room is located in Petaluma at the Racers Group Porsche race headquarters. 1995 S. McDowell Blvd., Petaluma. 707.939.7967.
Who knew that here on the border of Marin we’d find one of the most hospitable, no-nonsense, family-winery experiences in the county! 4415 Kastania Road, Petaluma. By appointment. 707.763.6348.
Nestled in the “Petaluma gap” and specializes in creating artisan, handcrafted Pinot, Chard and Syrah. 5875 Lakeville Hwy., Petaluma. By appointment. 707.765.2117.
Baletto & Dutton-Goldfield
They’re making some good stuff over at Dutton-Goldfield and Balletto. Being out of the touring loop, it’s generally a low-key place that picks up a bit on weekends. 5700 Occidental Road, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 10am-4pm. 707.568.2455.
De Loach Vineyards
In the 1970s, Cecil De Loach established this pioneering producer of Russian River Zinfandel and Pinot Noir par excellence. 1791 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.526.9111.
Harvest Moon Winery
Modest, comfortable tasting room showcases estate-grown Zin and Gewürz. 2192 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 10:30am&–5pm. 707.573.8711.
Hook & Ladder
Having sold the brand to a Burgundian clan, the De Loach family reorganized their operation and Hook & Ladder is a favorite. Here’s a place where they’ll proudly serve up estate-grown white Zinfandel. 2134 Olivet Road, Santa Rosa. Open daiy, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.526.2255.
Amazing gardens and produces the popular wines gracing most American tables. A great place to explore food and wine pairings. 5007 Fulton Road, Fulton. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.571.8100.
Focus is on mountain Cab. And continuing the old tradition, folks can pick up a gallon of hearty Round Barn Red for $13. 2191 Laguna Road, Santa Rosa. Summer hours, daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.823.2404.
Matanzas Creek Winery
Matanzas Creek Winery features a peaceful tasting room overlooking its famed acres of lavender. 6097 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.528.6464.
Novy Family Winery
Daily tastings by appointment in a no-nonsense warehouse, and is better known as a celebrated member of the “Pinot posse” by its other moniker, Siduri. 980 Airway Court, Ste. C, Santa Rosa. 707.578.3882.
Paradise Ridge Winery
A gorgeous, provocative sculpture garden with annually changing exhibits set amid a pygmy forest. Stay for sunset Wednesday evenings April-October. 4545 Thomas Lake Harris Drive, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 11am&–5:30pm. 707.528.9463.
A Pinot-heavy slate. 980 Airway Court, Ste. C, Santa Rosa. By appointment. 707.578.3882.
St. Francis Winery
Simple but cozy, inspired by the monk St. Francis and styled as a California mission. Beautiful views and food pairings. 100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 800.543.7713, ext. 242.
Atascadero Creek Winery
Produces mostly red wines and specializes in small lots of single vineyard Pinot and Zin. It shares a tasting room with host winery Graton Ridge Cellars and Occidental Cellars. 3541 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Sebastopol. Open Friday&–Sunday, 11am&–5pm. 707.823.3040.
Dutton Estate Winery
Vineyard-designated Pinot, Chard, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc. 8757 Green Valley Road, Sebastopol. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.829.9463.
The casual, airy space is furnished in a whitewashed country French theme. Visitors are encouraged to sit down at long tables and even have a picnic. 12747 El Camino Bodega, Freestone. Open Friday&–Monday, 10am&–4pm. 707.874.1010.
Despite the rustic tasting room, Iron Horse produces sparkling wine and Pinots for the elite. A brilliant view for winetasting. 209786 Ross Station Road, Sebastopol. Open daily, 10am&–3:30pm. 707.887.1507.
Korbel Champagne Cellars
A large, ivy-covered winery with a huge tasting room, fun staff, excellent deli and hourly tours, a perfect stop on the way to the Russian River. 13250 River Road, near Rio Nido. Open daily, 10am&–5pm daily. 707.824.7316.
Produces world-class Pinot and Chard in elegant rural setting. Look for fun food pairings. 3909 Frei Road, Sebastopol. Open daily, 10am-5pm. 707.829.3374.
A great stop for locals on a Sunday drive. And the Pinot is fantastic. 11400 Graton Road, Sebastopol Open daily, 11am&–4pm. 707.823.4365.
Paul Hobbs Winery
Unfiltered and unfined wines, fermented with native yeasts. 3355 Gravenstein Hwy. N. (Highway 116), Sebastopol. By appointment. 707.824.9879.
Russian River Vineyards
Special reds and even Charbono. At Topolos. 5700 Gravenstein Hwy. N., Forestville. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.887.3344.
“West County’s smallest tasting room,” the redecorated SP caboose at Gravenstein Station is operated by a couple of young globe-trotting harvest hoboes who caught wine fever like an express train and held on tight. 6761 Sebastopol Ave. #500, Sebastopol. Open Thursday&–Sunday, noon&–4pm. 707.829.8100.
Taft Street Winery
Award-winning Sauvignon Blancs are a great deal. 2030 Barlow Lane, Sebastopol. Monday&–Friday, 11am&–4pm; Saturday&–Sunday, 11am&–4:30pm. 707.823.2049.
Damn good wine. Pinot, Zin—yum, yum, yum. 5700 River Road, Forestville. Open Thursday&–Sunday, 10:30am&–4:30pm. 707.887.2703.
Most of Arrowood’s wine is done in the Bordeaux style of France. 14347 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen. Tasting room open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.935.2600.
Audelssa’s wines are indeed as dramatic, dry and rugged as the location suggests. 13647 Arnold Drive, Glen Ellen. Tasting room open Friday&–Sunday, 11am&–5pm; Monday&–Thursday. 707.933.8514.
Bartholomew Park Winery
A scenic locale for something that sounds like it belongs in a Henry James novel. Sauvignon Blanc and Cab are kings here. 1000 Vineyard Lane, Sonoma. Open daily, 11am&–4:30pm. 707.935.9511.
A nontraditional, organic, biodynamically farmed winery. Don’t miss the daily 45-minute tram ride replete with a tour of the vineyard, wildlife sanctuaries and caves. 1883 London Ranch Road, Glen Ellen. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 888.490.2739.
Blackstone was conceived as a “negociant”—the industry’s new pet term for bulk wine brand but this satellite facility produces a variety of ultrapremium-appellation and single-vineyard Sonoma County wines. 8450 Hwy. 12, Kenwood. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.833.1999.
Buena Vista Carneros
Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir and Chard done to perfection. Buena Vista Carneros, 18000 Winery Road, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–4pm. 707.938.1266.
Castle Vineyards & Winery
Outdoor seating on a popular stretch of downtown real estate, perfect for mild imbibing and people watching. 122 W. Spain St., Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm daily. 707.996.1966.
Charles Creek Vineyards
The wines dazzle. Chardonnays and Merlot, those old workhorses, shine. 483 First St. W., Sonoma. Open daily, 11am&–6pm. 707.935.3848.
Chateau St. Jean Winery
Take the educational tour and sample both reserve and premier wines on acres of vineyard with gardens and gourmet food. 8555 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.833.4134.
Look for single-vineyard designate Zinfandels—gorgeous fruit bombs. 24737 Hwy. 121, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–6pm. 707.940.4000.
Gloria Ferrer Winery
(WC) Part of the international Freixenet wine empire, owner Jose Ferrer’s family has been in this business since the 13th century. Explore the Champagne caves on a guided tour. 23555 Carneros Hwy., Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. Cave tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. 707.996.7256.
Gundlach Bundschu Winery
(WC) A fun, casual winery with enjoyable wines. Shakespeare and Mozart performed on the grounds in the summer. 2000 Denmark St., Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.938.5277.
Imagery Estate Winery
Results from a 20-year collaboration between winemaker Joe Benziger and artist Bob Nugent. The concept: Commission unique artwork from contemporary artists for each release of often uncommon varietal wines. The wine gets drunk. The art goes on the gallery wall. Not so complicated. Count on the reds and plan to take a stroll down the informative “varietal walk” on the grounds. 14335 Hwy. 12, Glen Ellen. Summer hours, Sunday&–Thursday, 10am&–4:30pm; Friday&–Saturday, 10am&–5pm. 707.935.4515.
Kaz Vineyard & Winery
Kaz’s motto is “No harm in experimenting.” Organic, low-sulfite winemaking results in fulsome liqueur aromas. Also a trilogy of ports under a second label, the Bodega Bay Portworks. 233 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood. Open Friday&–Monday, 11am&–5pm. 877.833.2536.
Kunde Estate Winery
(WC) Kunde is one of 12 wineries in Sonoma County to be distinguished with Second Level Green Business Certification. It also has beautiful wine caves carved into 5-million-year-old volcanic rock. 9825 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. Tasting room open daily, 10:30am&–4:30pm. 707.833.5501.
Chardonnay, Chardonnay, Chardonnay. 101 Adobe Canyon Road, Kenwood. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.833.0053.
Larson Family Winery
Barbecue wine alert! 23355 Millerick Road, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.938.3031.
Ledson Winery & Vineyards
What warlock, many high-way travelers wondered, within those stone walls broods? Happily, Ledson’s wine-wizard is a Zinfandel zealot, making 10 from the zaftig grape. 7335 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.537.3810.
All of the Little’s wines are made from their 15-acre estate vineyards, and they’re serious about their product. Zin and Syrah are stars here. 15188 Sonoma Hwy., Glen Ellen. By appointment. 707.996.2750.
At Loxton, the shingle of Aussie Chris Loxton, who forewent a career in physics to save space-time in a bottle, Syrah and Shiraz are king. 11466 Dunbar Road, Glen Ellen. By appointment. 707.935.7221.
Mayo Family Winery
Excellent place to pair food with wine, as tastings are matched with specific food items. 9200 Sonoma Hwy., Kenwood. Open daily, 10:30am&–6:30pm. 707.933.5504.
(WC) Best known for its Chardonnays and a winery tour from the depths of the caves to the height of the property’s grandmother oak. 4200 Napa Road, Sonoma. Open daily, 11am&–6pm; tours by appointment. 707.938.8822.
The winery motto is “No wimpy wines,” and they make strong, much-praised Zinfandels. A great place to learn that wine is supposed to be fun. 18701 Gehricke Road, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.933.2332.
Robledo Family Winery
Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and “Los Braceros” red blend are highly recommended. 21901 Bonness Road, Sonoma. Open daily, Monday&–Saturday, 10am&–5pm; Sunday, 11am&–4pm. 707.939.6903.
Roche Carneros Estate
Chardonnay is king. 28700 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.935.7115.
The winery is charming and warm, with wines that are mostly straightforward, honest affairs. One of the best picnic areas around. 389 Fourth St. E., Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.933.3230.
Locals long-inured to local delights might also find themselves impressed with the wide and varied selection. 35 E. Napa St., Sonoma. Open Wednesday&–Monday, 10am&–6pm; Tuesday, 10am&–3pm. 707.935.1200.
Ty Caton Vineyards-Muscardini Cellars
Ty Caton is both a hands-in-the-dirt winegrower who planted much of the vineyard himself and savvy entrepreneur. Michael Muscardini is a neighbor who comes from the building trade and focuses on Italian varietals. 8910 Sonoma Hwy. (in the Kenwood Village Plaza), Kenwood. Open daily, 10am&–6pm. 707.833.0526.
Valley of the Moon Winery
This winery was once owned by Sen. George Hearst. Perhaps instead of the epochal utterance “Rosebud,” we could dub in “Rosé.” 777 Madrone Road, Glen Ellen. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.996.6941.
Large and filled with cross-promotional products, a deli and a pseudo-Italian marketplace. 25200 Arnold Drive, Sonoma. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.935.4700.Marin County
Bacchus & Venus
A trendy place for beginners and tourists. Great place to learn the basics. 769 Bridgeway, Sausalito. Open daily, noon&–7pm. 415.331.2001.
Point Reyes Vineyards
The tasting room features many varietals but the main reason to go is for the sparkling wines. Open Saturday&–Sunday, 11am&–5pm. 12700 Hwy. 1, Point Reyes. 415.663.1011.
Ross Valley Winery
In existence since 1987, the Ross Valley Winery produces Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Zin port wines. 343 San Anselmo Ave., San Anselmo. Open Tuesday&–Sunday, 1&–7pm. 415.457.5157.
August Briggs Winery
Tasting room is a white barn lit by skylights and often staffed by the owner’s wife and mother. 333 Silverado Trail, Calistoga. Open Thursday&–Sunday, 11:30am&–4:30pm. 707.942.5854.
Casa Nuestra Winery
Endearingly offbeat, with a dedicated staff and a collection of goats and dogs roaming freely. 3451 Silverado Trail N., St. Helena. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.963.5783.
The winery triumphed at the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” tasting where French judges, quelle horreur, found that they had awarded top honors to a California contender. 1429 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga. Open daily, 9:30am&–4pm. 707.942.5105.
Clos Pegase Winery
(WC) Practically an art museum. A 2,800-square-foot “cave theater” plays frequent host to parties and more. Sadly, tasters are limited to tasting either white or red, so choose well. 1060 Dunaweal Lane, Calistoga. Open daily, 10:30am&–5pm. 800.366.8583.
Winemaker Cathy Corison proudly describes herself as a “Cabernet chauvinist.” 987 St. Helena Hwy., St. Helena. By appointment. 707.963.0826.
Folie à Deux
A good picnic or party wine, the Ménage à Trois—white, red and rosé—are tasty blends. 3070 N. St. Helena Hwy, St. Helena. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 1.800.473.4454.
In 1881, Josephine Tychson was the first woman to own and operate a winery in the valley. Enjoy the Cabs. 3022 St. Helena Hwy. N. (at Lodi Lane), St. Helena. Open daily, 10am-5pm. 800.963.9698.
Mike Grgich’s Chardonnays famously beat the competition at the 1976 “Judgment of Paris” and the all-estate winery is solar-powered and practices organic and biodynamic. 1829 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford. Open daily, 9:30am&–4:30pm. 707.963.2784.
Craig and Kathryn Hall specialize in “beefy” wines favored by Robert Parker. Intensely modern art and all things Austrian. New tasting room will be by Frank Gehry. 401 St. Helena Hwy. S., St. Helena. Open daily, 10am&–5:30pm. 866.667.HALL.
Mumm Cuvée Napa
Photography exhibition that changes regularly. Outdoor seating overlooking the vineyards. Sparkling wines. 8445 Silverado Trail, Rutherford. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.967.7700.
On the Edge
A key stop for devotees of the cult to Charbono. 1255 Lincoln Ave., Calistoga. Open daily, 10am&–5:30pm. 707.942.7410.
Peju Province Vineyards
Talented staff, terrific food pairings and fantastic Cab. 8466 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford. Open daily, 10am&–6pm. 707.963.3600.
Part of the huge empire in part helmed by S.F. mayor Gavin Newsom. Syrah, Merlot and more. 620 Oakville Crossroad, Oakville. Open daily, 10am&–4pm. 707.945.1220.
Despite the celebrity hype, the wine is award-winning. 1991 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 800.782.4226.
(WC) Sparkling wine at its best. The “tasting room” is a branch of the cave illuminated with standing candelabras. 1400 Schramsberg Road, Calistoga. By appointment. 707.942.4558.
Riesling is Smith-Madrone’s main fame claim. Its Riesling has steadily gained fame while Napa Valley Riesling in general has become a rare antique. 4022 Spring Mountain Road, St. Helena. By appointment. 707.963.2283.
(WC) Jerry and Sigrid Seps and a few likeminded winemakers founded Zinfandel Advocates and Producers (ZAP), through which they continue to proselytize on behalf of “America’s heritage grape.” 3835 Hwy. 128, Calistoga. By appointment. 707.942.5310.
Summers Estate Wines
Excellent Merlot and that rarest of beasts, Charbono. Small tasting room and friendly staff. 1171 Tubbs Lane, Calistoga. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.942.5508.
Expect to find the tasting room crowded with a harrassed staff, but St. Supéry features an interesting art gallery with changing exhibitions. 8440 St. Helena Hwy., Rutherford. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 800.942.0809.
Though a regular stop on the tourist circuit, it remains charming in the Italian style. With no distribution except via the Net, wines can only be purchased onsite. 1111 White Lane, St. Helena. Open daily, 9am&–6pm. 707.963.7774.
Vincent Arroyo Winery
Small, tasting room is essentially a barn with a table near some barrels, but very friendly, with good wines. 2361 Greenwood Ave., Calistoga. Open daily, 10am&–4:30pm. 707.942.6995.
(WC) This historic winery offers some seven daily tours for nominal fees, most of which end gratefully with a glass and take a spin through the underground wine-aging tunnels. Open daily, 10am&–6pm (summer hours). 2000 Main St., Napa. 707.963.7115.
Black Stallion Winery
Owned by a pair of Midwest liquor-distribution barons who hired a capable winemaker and envision it to be a retail-destination winery. The wines (produced offsite for now) are quite good. 4089 Silverado Trail, Napa. Open daily, 10am&–5pm. 707.253.1400.
Using grapes from as far away as Paso Robles, the winemaker makes a strong Syrah and an interesting meritage of Syrah, Cab, Zin and Merlot that’s definitely worth a try. What you’re here for, however, are the VGS (“very good shit”) wines. 3875 Mt. Veeder Road, Napa. Open daily, 11am&–5pm. 707.255.9440.
(WC) Boutique winery specializing in the kind of Cabernet that makes the Wine Spectator drool. 2121 Diamond Mountain Road, Napa. By appointment. 707.942.0707.
Cuvaison Estate Wines
(WC) Producing some 65 percent of its product as Chardonnay, Cuvaison has a 22,000-square-foot cave. 4550 Silverado Trail N., Napa. By appointment. 707.942.6266.
Exotic locale, with giant columns and a Persian theme, Darioush is justly famous for its Bordeaux. 4240 Silverado Trail, Napa. Open daily, 10:30am&–5pm. 707.257.2345.
Del Dotto Vineyards
(WC) Caves lined with Italian marble and ancient tiles, not to mention Venetian chandeliers and mosaic marble floors. They host candle-lit tastings, replete with cheese and chocolate, Friday&–Sunday. Opera resonates until 4pm; rock rules after 4pm. 1055 Atlas Peak Road, Napa. By appointment. 707.963.2134.
Eagle & Rose Estate
(WC) Tours of this small winery are led either by the winery owner or the winemaker himself. 3000 St. Helena Hwy. N., Napa. By appointment. 707.965.9463.
Fantesca Estate & Winery
(WC) Set on land that was the dowry gift when Charles Krug married in 1860, this estate winery specializing in Cab features a wine-aging cave built right into the side of Spring Mountain. 2920 Spring Mountain Road, Napa. By appointment. 707.968.9229.
(WC) Far Niente was founded in 1885 by John Benson, a ’49er of the California Gold Rush and uncle of the famous American impressionist painter Winslow Homer. The estate boasts beautiful gardens as well as the first modern-built wine caves in North America. 1350 Acacia Drive, Napa. By appointment. 707.944.2861.
Hess Collection Winery
An intellectual outpost of art and wine housed in the century-old Christian Brother’s winery. Cab is the signature varietal. 4411 Redwood Road, Napa. Open daily, 10am&–4pm. 707.255.1144.
Rocca Family Vineyards
The California Vintner’s Club named Rocca’s 2004 Cab “the best of the best.” 1130 Main St., Napa. Open Monday&–Saturday, 1pm&–6pm. 707.257.8467.
There is a sense of dignity to the colorful little castle that grows out of the landscape beneath the Stag’s Leap palisades, commensurate with the architect’s humanistic aspirations. 6126 Silverado Trail, Napa. By appointment. 707.944.2659.
Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
(WC) Their three estate-grown Cabs, are among the most highly regarded in the world. 5766 Silverado Trail, Napa. By appointment. 707.944.2020.
Some critics claim Trefethen’s heyday was in the ’60s, but the winery proves them wrong with dependable, delicious wines. Trefethen is one of the oldest wineries in Napa. 1160 Oak Knoll Ave., Napa. Open daily, 11:30am&–4:30pm. 707.255.7700.
(WC) No matter how attentive you are to the directions, no matter how much you study the quaint, hand-drawn map found online, no matter how vigilantly you watch the street addresses numerically climb along Old Sonoma Road, you will inevitably miss Truchard Vineyards. What follows is a three-point turn on a blind, two-lane road, with a single thought in your head: “This wine had better be worth the insurance deductible.” But with Cabernet this good, it’s worth the deductible. 3234 Old Sonoma Road, Napa. By appointment. 707.253.7153.
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Winery news and reviews.
Food-related comings and goings, openings and closings, and other essays for those who love the kitchen and what it produces.
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