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Best Sonoma County Wineries

By travelanswerman | October 1, 2010

Sonoma County, California is home to 13 American Viticultural Areas (AVAs), each with its own distinctive characteristics. Its amazing range of terroir and microclimates distinguishes Sonoma County as one of the most diverse and special winegrowing regions in the world. The Pacific coastline, redwood forests, fertile valleys and mountains produce an array of exceptional wines.

As you read, your mouth will start watering and you’ll get an uncontrollable urge to visit each winery for yourself. The solution is to visit www.sonomacounty.com and book your trip today.

Not finding your favorite in this list? Tweet them at: www.twitter.com/insidesonoma, or post comments on www.inside-sonoma.com to put in a plug for your favorite.

These are listed in no particular order.

1. Quivira Vineyards
This small biodynamic winery has a garden and chicken condo around the entrance to showcase how biodynamic farming can be done on an everyday level and not just in grape growing. Quivira is also known for making great California Grenache and a Grenache Rose. They also make an acacia-barrel-aged Sauvignon Blanc.
4900 West Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 431-8333

2. Russian River Vineyards
Long before Russian River Valley was declared an AVA, this historic winery bore the name. And, from a light and fruity Sauvignon Blanc to a rich Syrah, it set the standard for the kinds of wine you’ll find in this diverse appellation. Corks at Russian River Vineyards is the only winery-based restaurant in the Russian River Valley, offering an unparalleled Wine Country dining experience in an historic 1890s farmhouse.
5700 Gravenstein Highway North
Forestville, CA
(707) 887-3344

3. Robert Rue Vineyard
Award-winning old-vine Zinfandels are the reason to visit this appointment-only winery. Tucked among a century-old vineyard, this amazing property invites you to explore. And taste. The Rue family cranks out some top-notch Zins that have walked away with several accolades in wine competitions.
1406 Wood Road
Fulton, CA
(707) 578-1601

4. Twomey Cellars
Great wine, in fact it was voted “Top 10 most popular Merlots” by Wine & Spirits’ 19th annual restaurant poll. Their handcrafted method, called “soutirage traditional,” is a labor-intensive technique that clarifies the red wines, heightening the flavors.
3000 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA
(800) 505-4850

5. Stryker Sonoma Winery and Vineyards
The floor-to-ceiling windows in this amazing tasting room gives you a sweeping view of the vineyards and hills. The integrated production facility and visitors center offers a behind-the-scenes look into a working, albeit small, winery. Their Monte Rosso Vineyard wines are awesome – Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvingon. Only a few winemakers have access to this remarkable vineyard.
5110 Highway 128, Geyserville
(707) 433-1944

6. Annapolis Winery
Located about three miles from the Pacific Ocean, and 1,000 feet up a mountain, this family-owned winery sits on a sunny hillside surrounded by a redwood forest. As Sonoma County’s northernmost coastal winery, you have to really want it. The destination – wine and the winery itself – is definitely worth the ride. Don’t worry about the drive home. Lodging in nearby Gualala will lull you to sleep as you hear the ocean waves crash upon the shore.
26055 Soda Springs Road
Annapolis, CA 95412
(707) 886-5460

7. Balletto Vineyards/Dutton Goldfield
These two wineries share a tasting room. You’ll be hard-pressed to choose a favorite. Balletto’s wine reflect the microcosm of the Russian River Valley – Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Pinot Gris. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are the mainstays of the Dutton-Goldfield production. Using fruit from carefully chosen vineyards, the wine reflects the natural tendencies of the area: crisp and well-structured that display complexity, balance and intensity.
5700 Occidental Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95401
(707) 568-2455

8. Gundlach Bundschu Winery
One of the oldest wineries in Sonoma County. The tasting room staff is very friendly. There are great caves, solar panels in the vineyards and you take the vineyard tour on a cool bus. Their amazing Gewurztraminer also became the tag line in one of the winery’s posters: “Sonoma Valley Sobriety Test #1: If you can’t say Gundlach-Bundschu Gewurztraminer, you shouldn’t be driving!”
2000 Denmark Street
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 938-5277

9. Hawkes Winery
Right next to the famed Jimtown Store, this Alexander Valley stop is quaint, cute and cozy. The natural garden out front complements the vineyards out back, and inside – tea pots. An amazing array of teapots from all over the world is displayed inside museum-quality cases. Taste estate-grown Merlot, Cabernet And Chardonnay while admiring the collection. And say hi to Jeremy, one of the nicest tasting room guys around.
6738 Hwy 128
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-4295

10. Matanzas Creek Winery
This out-of-the-way winery, tucked into the middle of Bennett Valley, boasts gorgeous grounds where lavender fields compete with vineyards for your attention. The winery is planning to offer vineyard tours beginning in January. Enjoy the scenery while you taste the wonderful Merlot. And, stop by the gift shop for lavender soaps, lotions and more.
6097 Bennett Valley Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
(707) 528-6464

11. Mutt Lynch Winery
Dog lovers have found a home in Sonoma County. Mutt Lynch celebrates all things pooch. The tasting room is open by appointment only. They’ll arrange a private tasting for you and your friends. Also, celebrate the special times in your dog’s life: birthdays, “bark” mitzvahs and more. With wines named Merlot Over and Play Dead or Unleashed Chardonnay, you know the owners have a sense of humor. The wine is very good, too.
1960 Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 942-6180

12. Robledo Family Winery
Originally from Mexico, Reynaldo Robledo learned how to prune a vine more than 40 years ago. From there, he built a successful vineyard management business. He and his family have turned that experience into some very tasty wines. The tasting room is warm and inviting, decorated with photos and memorabilia from Mexico. It’s a must-see stop on any wine tour. Though open by appointment only, you can call while only minutes down the road and you’ll most likely be accommodated.
21901 Bonness Road
Sonoma, CA 95476
(707) 939-6903

13. Acorn Winery
Bill and Betsy Nachbaur have been tending to these premium winegrapes just south of Healdsburg since 1994. The tasting room doubles as the barreling room, crush pad and office, and tours include writing your name on recycled wine labels that double as name tags. While the winery is small, the view from the tasting room is of the old vineyards and the hills of the Russian River Valley beyond. This is a good stop when going to the quaint towns of Windsor or Healdsburg, as it is right between the two. Call before you come, as it is an appointment-only winery. (Though you can call from your car or the winery up the road.)
12040 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg, CA 95448
(707) 433-6440

Sonoma County, located 30 miles from San Francisco, is America’s premier wine, spa and coastal destination, featuring more than 250 wineries and 50-plus miles of stunning Pacific coast.
For a free visitors guide or information on hotels, wineries, events, spas, attractions, and dining in Sonoma County, visit www.sonomacounty.com or call 800-576-6662.
See all the wineries in Sonoma County at www.sonomacounty.com/wineries

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