Sonoma County is home to a host of wineries where some of the most flavorful and favored wines are produced, making it a wine lovers dream. Not only is the area beautiful to view with its rolling hills and ocean vistas, it is a great place to explore and develop one’s knowledge of wines. Visitors can learn how wines are made, and many of the different varietals of grapes and flavors. The Northern California area hosts both coastal and inland wines, making it one of the best places in California to tour and taste. At Sonoma County wineries there is something for everyone.
Kendall Jackson Wine Estates & Gardens are located in Fulton, and the Sonoma County vineyards produce several wine varietals, from Pinot Noir to Sauvignon Blanc to dessert wines. Kendall Jackson wines are among the most well-known of wine brands on the market. There is something for everyone on any budget with wines ranging from eight dollars to $100 a bottle.
The winery has two tasting options, which are free for wine club members. Non-club members can purchase a tasting for $10 or $20. Visitors can also purchase “Wine Experiences” which include choices of a tour of the estate and gardens, a tasting for several different flavors of wine, a blind tasting of a variety of wines, or a farm-to-table lunch in the gardens where chefs and wine experts provide information about the food and wines produced in the gardens and vineyards. Pricing for each option varies.
Another Sonoma County winery to visit is Gloria Ferrer, located in Sonoma. This winery offers sparkling wine as well as Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Merlot among others. The winery ensures perfection in every bottle through their aging process, which takes three to 10 years in their underground caves.
Those who visit this winery have the option of tasting outside, on the winery’s Vista Terrace or inside, in the tasting room. Tasters can choose to experience several different wines in flights, which is a number of different wines selected and poured by the glass, or they can simply choose to taste by the glass or by the bottle. Prices vary by selection and tasting option. The winery also offers artisan cheeses and sweets for visitors to enjoy.
Ferrari-Carano boasts critically acclaimed wines which are available for tasting in several options from private tastings to wine bar tastings. The winery touts acres of gardens that are a bounty of color all year long, complete with paths and foot-bridges, a rippling stream and fish ponds through which garden lovers can stroll.
Visitors to Ferrari-Carano can choose the Villa Fiore wine bar tasting, overlooking the gardens and vineyards, or they can opt for tasting the wines in the underground cellar with the Enoteca wine bar tasting. For those who would like a little more attention and information from a personal wine expert, there are several different private tasting choices. Tasters can choose a variety of wines, or different wines of the same varietal, paired with bites of cheeses, chocolates or fruits to complement them.
Sonoma County has over 400 wineries for visitors to explore and experience. It is very easy to come away with a favorite wine or two at any winery. From those new to wine to connoisseurs with distinguishing tastes, there is something for everyone.
Opinion By Brandi M. Fleeks