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General Facts and insights about wineries

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Saint Louis...
posts: 11
General Facts and insights about wineries

This is our first time to wine country. We have local wineries here - but nothing to the meca we are about to enter. In 2014, we will be spending 4 nights in Sonoma. I am just needing general information.

1 - do most wine tastings require reservations?

2 - are tasting rooms usually at a different location than the winery? For example - b.wise tasting room is in Kenwood but the winery is Sonoma.

3 - can you visit the wineries themselves and not the tasting room? What can you do if that is the case?

Just any insights would be helpful

I am feeling a bit lost and want to make sure I make good decisions on wineries since this is our honeymoon and we have a few other things we are wanting to do.



2 replies to this topic
San Francisco...
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 20,564
reviews: 114
1. Re: General Facts and insights about wineries

Good Questions. All wineries do not need reservations. Some of the smaller ones do and there are other who offer tours that also need reservation but it would be good to check. Now there are wineries that have tours and tasting as well and tours need reservation but one can go to the tasting room and taste and then purchase. No reservations are needed just for the tasting room for many wineries

Some tasting rooms are away from the wineries but many are close to on the property.

Yes you can just visit a winery and not do any tasting

http://www.sonomavalley.com/ has info on the valley. It is huge so you do need to plan a bit so that you can base yourself in one area and check out the other. There main areas are the town of Sonoma and the town of Healdsburg and the city of Santa Rosa (which is quite big) There are wineries from Sonoma and westwards along the Russian River and north of that as well.

If you look at the Things to do under Sonoma County, you can see the wineries listed and reviews.

Towns like Sonoma and Healdsburg are great to stay in and you can walk to restaurants and tasting rooms and a few wineries.

Please look at a map such as maps.google.com to get bearings of sonoma and sonoma county which extends all the way to the Pacific Ocean

Edited: 3:39 pm, September 10, 2013
Fremont, California
Destination Expert
for San Francisco
posts: 13,209
reviews: 578
2. Re: General Facts and insights about wineries


With such a special occasion, I would do both casual tasting and line up some special winery things to do.

there are wineries close by to then do some tasting at. You will find that tasting rooms are more in the town themselves. For example, Healdsburg has many tasting rooms. If you drive just a couple miles into wine country, you will find tasting rooms at the wineries.

A few special things you might want to consider with 4 nights in the area:

1) Mayo Family has a very nice food pairings and winery (good lunch affair)....and very pleasant. Close to Sonoma. Its at the reserve room


2) Benzinger Winery has a very nice tour


5 minute drive from the place is a nice place to walk and see Jack London State Park and nice house there.


(Good tour place for Sonoma)

3) Coppola - Its north of Healdsburg area of Sonoma. It has a wonderful on site restaurant and Hollywood museum; swimming pool; and more. Its a way different type winery than you find in other areas and will give you an idea of what a large over the top type winery is. We like the food there; we like the foods; and we like the fun thigns associated with just visitng the winery,


Just giving you some ideas on how to go about planning a wniery tour to California. There are museums with special events; there are museums with art galleries.

If you plan well,you can go to a spot and enjoy 3 wineries close together and then return....having had a good time without drivnig much. A nice 3 some in the Sonoma areas is Cline (Inice pond and gournds), Jacuzzi (free tasting; olive oil tasting); and Viansa.




So, what is important about planning for a trip to Sonoma.

1) Choose 3 or 4 wineries to visit each day......or just pick one a day and you can find others close by to visit once there. There are free magazines which have good winery maps which will help with that.

2) Decide if you want to do anything special at the wineries. Some such as the tour at Benzinger are relatively inexpensive; or if you want a honeymoon trip to remember - take the horse carriage ride with catered lunch and they take you by carriage for wine tasting.


Yeah - we're sort of Disneyland oriented here in California for wine tasting......and that is what you will find depending on which wineries you choose. There are small wineries where they are basically tasting bars and some of these give you an example of other experiences

3) Decide if you want to do a picnic lunch at the winery. If staying in the city of Sonoma, a good place to stop by and pick up picnic goods is Sonoma cheese Factory


4) Decide how much you want to spend on wine tastings. In general, Sonoma is less expensive than Napa...but it all depends.

Hope that gives some ideas for now...if you want some more help let us know. For example, some people like to do a more outdoor trip for one of their days in Sonoma and drive to see the redwoods at Armstrong State Park and on the drive there stop for deli lunch and winery tasting at Korbel. A few mile more and you are at the Sonoma Coast ie. the Pacific ocean. As such, its important to also decide what else you want to see while here.




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