My husband and I have tasted our away around Napa and Sonoma Wine Country many times over the years! He’s in the wine industry, so we’ve had some incredible experiences on our vacations. That’s why we decided to create this guide to Wine Tasting in Sonoma and Napa. Here’s a round-up of our favorite things to do and wineries to visit that you can plan, too!
Tips for planning your Napa & Sonoma Wineries Tasting Itinerary
My husband creates the itinerary for our wine country vacations. Usually, we vacation without much of a plan. However, on our Sonoma and Napa trips, I can say without a doubt that having a clear plan makes all the difference. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on unique experiences and be overwhelmed by all of the wineries. Here are some tips for wine tasting in Sonoma:
- Have a plan
Going to Napa and Sonoma can be overwhelming without a plan on which wineries to visit because they are EVERYWHERE. We usually schedule two (the right amount!) – sometimes three (too much!) appointments per day, giving time for a lunch and early dinner.
- Schedule wine experiences.
Nearly all of the wineries post-Covid require a reservation now. You can’t walk up to a tasting room – you’ll need to book the wine tasting in advance. Plus, many of the wineries have cool experiences and tours that you do in a small group so you can really learn about the winery, the wines, and ask a lot of questions. We’ve had property tours, food pairings, and mountainside tastings. By far, the coolest experience we have ever scheduled is the wine blending seminar at Conn Creek – it stands out as a must-do wine experience.
- But, don’t overschedule.
Only plan for 2-3 wine tastings a day. 3 is pushing it. This gives you time to relax, avoid feeling rushed, and you won’t drink too much! We’ve grouped our recommendations by Northern Sonoma, Southern Sonoma, and Napa Valley, so pick the ones in each area to build your itinerary!
- Keep a light jacket in the car.
The weather can be unpredictable – and you may be in chilly wine caves on a tour, so keeping a light jacket will keep you comfortable in all of the temperatures!
- Bring a refillable water bottle.
You’ll want to stay hydrated! Bring a refillable water bottle and keep drinking water all day. The wineries all have filtered water and will fill it for you.
- Bring a great travel camera.
If you want to capture your vacation with more than your phone, check out this small, pocketable Sony travel camera which takes excellent photos and videos.
- Pack light.
I packed a backpack with my camera stuff, computer, kindle. I brought all of my dresses and essentials in this lightweight cool garment bag that zips into a duffel bag. It made moving from place to place simple.
Southern Sonoma Wineries + Things to Do
Our must-do things to do, see, & taste in Southern Sonoma!
- Start your day with Bubbles and Bites on the terrace, tasting sparkling wine paired with food at Gloria Ferrer
- Sip and stroll through the over-the-top gorgeous gardens at Chateau St. Jean
- Landmark Vineyards has one of the prettiest outdoor tasting areas in Sonoma
- Enjoy a relaxing wine tasting at Kenwood Vineyards outside under a canopy on comfy furniture
- Try the life-changing ravioli at Cafe Citti
Northern Sonoma Valley Wineries + Things to Do
Our must-do things to do, see, and taste in Geyserville, Healdsburg and Dry Creek
- Pinot Noir lovers need to visit the elegant Flowers Winery for a wine + food pairing
- Learn about sustainable farming at Quivera Winery, which has a garden to attract insects away from the vines
- If you don’t do anything else, pick up the best sandwiches on the planet at Dry Creek General Store and have a picnic at Dry Creek Vineyard (split a bottle of the Fume Blanc)
- Sit outside on the porch and sip Rochioli Sauvignon Blanc
- Reserve a tasting at Rodney Strong Vineyards, and make sure to try Symmetry and Rockaway
- Ferrari-Carano Winery is the most over-the-top winery in Sonoma and is worth the visit! It’s gorgeous.
- Jordan Winery’s French chateau property and elegant farmland is absolutely stunning
- Get a glass of Zinfandel and sit on the porch of Ridge Vineyards
- Book a tasting in the bubble room at J Vineyards
- Rent bikes in Healdsburg and ride the scenic roads through Dry Creek Valley.
- Share tapas at Willi’s Seafood & Raw Bar in downtown Healdsburg
- Go to Bacci for dinner
- Oh! You’ll love tasting wines at Chalk Hill Estates beautiful patio overlooking the vineyard
- Book a tasting in the cave at Lancaster
- Shop downtown Healdsburg
- Lounge by the pool, play cards, and sip Sofia canned sparkling wine at Coppola
Napa Valley Wineries + Things To Do
- Eat the artichokes at Farmstead
- Check out Ad Hoc in Yountville
- Check out our list of our top 5 favorite Napa Valley Restaurants
- Schedule a tasting on the picturesque porch at Duckhorn Vineyards
- If you love Napa Cabs, head to Chimney Rock for a tasting
- Sip iconic Napa Valley cabs including Artemis, Fay, SLV, and Cask 23 overlooking vineyards and mountains – plus, tour the wine cave! – at Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars
- Schedule the incredible food + wine tasting and tour at Trefethen Family Vineyard which features chef-prepared bites to complement their stunning line-up of wines (this is one of our favorites, so much, in fact – we joined their wine club!)
- Order the pork chop at Mustard’s – just trust this will forever change your pork chop relationship because it is the best pork chop you’ll every try
- Schedule a tasting at Trinchero Napa Valley, one of the prettiest tasting rooms in Napa, with gorgeous gardens and a tasting room overlooking miles of vineyards with Mount Helena as your backdrop
- Francis Ford Coppola lives behind Inglenook Winery, and the tasting and tour is one of the most unique experiences you’ll find in Napa. The historic building is filled with dramatic rooms and a museum filled with Coppola movie items. Don’t skip this one!!
- Start your morning with sparkling wine at Mumm Napa
- For one of the bougiest experiences in all of Wine Country, book the wine tasting in a church experience with JaM Cellars, where you’ll be transported by an Escalade to a remote church and taste through JaM’s higher end wines. It’s cool, y’all.
California Winery Tours + Recommendations
Trefethen Family Vineyard’s food + wine tasting is absolutely one of our favorite Napa experiences. First, you’ll learn about the history of the winery and tour the renovated winery. Then, you’ll enjoy chef-prepared bites with…Read More