Travel

Sonoma Winery Recommendations

So you’ve decided to check out Sonoma. Well, I don’t blame you, it’s beautiful out there.  My favorite wine has to be the Zinfandel family, and Sonoma grows some of the best Zin’s in the world.

Here are my top choices:

Best For Groups: Ledson Winery & Vineyards

The huge and classy Ledson Castle. Photo by: SonomaPassport

The huge and classy Ledson Castle. Photo by: SonomaPassport

Website: http://www.ledson.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/ledson

TripAdvisor: Ledson

Email tastings@ledson.com. A host will usually respond within the same day. I’ve made group reservation up to 20 within the same week without a problem. The experience is unparalleled; they’ll provide your group a private room, sommelier, and custom printed menu.

Best For A Date: Kendall Jackson

Beautiful grounds of Kendall Jackson. Try out a food tasting. Photo by: alicesgardentravelbuzz

Beautiful grounds of Kendall Jackson. Try out a food tasting. Photo by: alicesgardentravelbuzz

Website: http://www.kj.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/kendall-jackson

TripAdvisor: Kendall Jackson

Some wine folks may be scratching their head right now, but hear me out! I brought my girlfriend here and was instantly impressed by the estate and winery. You’ll love the assorted flowers as you approach the entrance. This was the perfect opportunity for pictures and multiple selfies. Upon entering, I opted for the reserve wine and food pairing ($35), and the girlfriend opted for the wine and chocolate pairing ($25). Needless to say, the value was great, service was friendly, and we left happy.

Best View: Paradise Ridge

ridege-yelp-Daniel K.

Patio and interior seating available. Look at that view! Photo by: Daniel K (yelp)

Website: http://prwinery.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/paradise

TripAdvisor: Paradise Ridge

I’m not the biggest fan of their wine, but I am of the estate and view. They have by far the best view in Sonoma that I’ve been too. It’s no surprise that weddings are booked here practically every weekend. This is also just an amazing place for pictures, bring that DSLR! They also have art pieces from burning man.

Best Tour: Kunde

kunde-kunde

Barrel tasting is a must. Photo By: Kunde

Website: http://www.kunde.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/kunde

TripAdvisor: Kunde

One of the largest wineries in the valley, not to mention they carry two of my favorite wines (Red Dirt Red and the Century Vine Zin). They have these amazing wine aging caves that are guided by a tour throughout the day. I booked them for a private tasting on my birthday and all of my guest still talk about the barrel tasting inside the caves.

Best Selection: Ledson Winery & Vineyards

Ledson doesn't play around when it comes to selection. Photo by: Jim G. (yelp)

Ledson doesn’t play around when it comes to selection. Photo by: Jim G. (yelp)

Website: http://www.ledson.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/ledson

TripAdvisor: Ledson

From Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Rose, Pinot Noir, Carignane, Rhone Varietals, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Zinfandels, and Cabernet Sauvigonon – you’ll be drunk from just this one winery. Also, you’ll never find this in your favorite liquor store, Costco, or Bevmo. Ledson wines are only sold on the estate.

Best Food/Wine Pairing: St. Francis

Exceeded my expecations, this is a must. Photo by: palatepress

Exceeded my expecations, this is a must. Photo by: palatepress

Website: www.stfranciswinery.com

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/st-francis

TripAdvisor: St. Francis

Why this place doesn’t have a Michelin Star astonishes me. It’s ranked #1 of 464 restaurants in Santa Rosa on Trip Advisor and I’ve heard countless times that the pairing is better than the world renowned, French Laundry. Best part? It’s only a fraction of the cost too. I brought my girlfriend here for our 4 year 8 monthsary and was absolutely blown away. Be sure to make a reservation way in advance, it’s absolutely worth it.

Best Ambiance: Ridge Lytton Springs

One of the best places to have a glass a wine. Photo by: thedrunkencyclist

One of the best places to have a glass a wine. Photo by: thedrunkencyclist

Website: http://www.ridgewine.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/ridge

TripAdvisor: Ridge Lytton Springs

You’ll have a choice of an indoor or outdoor tasting; by all means do the outdoor patio tasting. It’s absolutely amazing having a glass of wine outdoors while enjoying the stunning views of the vineyard. They allow outside food too, so I usually bring assorted cheeses, crackers, and salamis. The vibe is also very laid-back and relaxing. Lastly, the wine is exquisite. I was previously a z-list member for nearly two years, you must try the Lytton Springs varietal blend or their famous, Monte Bello Cabernet.

Best Overall: Ledson Winery & Vineyards

One of the Sonoma Gems. Photo by: Ledson

One of the Sonoma Gems. Photo by: Ledson

Website: http://www.ledson.com/

Yelp: yelp.com/biz/ledson

TripAdvisor: Ledson

Everything about Ledson is great; the estate, marketplace, wine, and staff are always consistent. After my 4th visit, I couldn’t help myself and signed up to be a Castle Club member.

Here are other worthy mentions I’ve tried:

Note: * Indicates two free tastings if you own a Visa Signature card

Healdsburg

Ridge Lytton Springs

*Dry Creek

Seghesio

*Kokomo

 

Kenwood

Ledson

VJB

Kunde

Paradise Ridge

Chateau St Jean

*Landmark

 

Santa Rosa:

Matanzas Creek

*Balletto

*St. Francis

Kendall Jackson

 

Sonoma

*Gloria Ferrer

*Gundlach

 

Did I miss any? Leave a comment and let me know your favorites.

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