If you can afford the Vintner's Inn, look no further! We were there in February. You will not be disappointed! Not a bad restaurant, either (John Ash), although our last time there it was sub par. I would opt to restaurants in Healdsburg.
Being about 100 yards from River Road, this is your launching point to the Holy Grail of Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. Not to mention Zinfandel and Syrah just to the north, in the Dry Creek appellation.
The list of possibilities for visiting wineries from Vintner's Inn are too long to list. River Road, East Side Road, Laguna Road, Olivet Road, West Side Road, West Dry Creek Road, Dry Creek Road, and then the tasitng rooms in the town of Healdsburg. And more!
You want crowds: Napa. You do not like crowds: Russian River, Dry Creek.
Most of the tasting rooms in the Russian River will have 4 to maybe 20 people.
Forestvillian, step in at this point, please!