A Laundry List of Wineries

One of our wine clubs, Nelson Family Vineyards, is having a nifty event on April 14. You sign up to come to a lunch and a wine blending, where you work in teams to create the winning blend, which will then be bottled and you win a magnum if your blend is chosen. To me, this sounds awesome and like it would be lots of fun (I get to play winemaker!).

We had already been planning a trip to CA to visit Matt’s parents and I thought it wouldn’t be such a stretch to take a short flight up towards wine country at the end of the week…..it took a few days of convincing, but Matt’s on board and we are headed back to the Sonoma area in mid-April!!

Well be in the area for 3 full days. I figure we will be able to go to 6 vineyards in that time, given that the wine club event will take up most of the afternoon of the Saturday. I’ve already scheduled a visit to Michel-Schlumberger thanks to a tip I found on Fork and Bottle. We are also definitely going to go to Ridge Vineyards (I think you can just show up, at least it appears that way) thanks to a tip from Tim over at Winecast.

The point of this post. Anyone want to suggest other places for us to visit? We are big Zinfandel fans, among other varietals of course 🙂 Following is a list of everywhere we visited last time we were out in CA:

Alexander Valley Vineyards
David Coffaro
Davis Bynum
De La Montanya
de Lorimier
Dutcher Crossing
Ferrari Carano
Hop Kiln
Robert Young

By the way, it was certainly a work-out for my brain this morning to come up with that list, it took me forever to get the last one. I knew we went to 26, but I could only come up with 25!

14 Responses

  1. Megan, certainly Ridge is a good stop. As zin lovers, you might also want to try Kunde, Chateau Souverain, Rancho Zabaco and Murphy-Goode.

    I’m leading tours on the SF peninsula on April 8th and 21st. Why don’t you two join me? Or, let’s make something up while you’re here.

  2. If you like Pinot, I’d suggest paying a visit to Siduri in Santa Rosa. Granted, you need to make an appointment and it is NOT your typical winery (it’s in a warehouse district), but they make some great wines and provide a solid tour/talk about everything. Check them out: http://www.siduri.com/

  3. I second the Kunde recommendation, very good Zin and some other interesting wines. Also check out Four Vines, they have a few different Zins and they also have the “Zin Bitch” t-shirts that everyone wants 🙂

  4. And I’ll second the Ridge recommendation – if you can, visit the “Monte Bello” location above Los Altos Hills south of San Francisco. The views of the Bay are spectacular! And Four Vines are pretty good, but they’re down by Paso Robles… and besides, “Are You Twisted?” shirts are way more fashionable! 🙂

  5. At the risk of sounding 100% like a tourist, there are places I visit in Sonoma just because they are beautiful. We love to have lunch at Ledson. A lot of times they’ll have bbqs and you can sit behind the “castle” in the vineyard. It’s one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done. It’s beautiful there, and their wines aren’t bad either. We also really enjoyed the tour at Benziger. It’s a different and involved sort of tour because they are biodynamic. If you taste there after the tour, slip away from the crowd and hit the Reserve room. Imagery Estates (across the street) is fun just for the art gallery, and the art on the bottles. One winery we didn’t hit, and we regret, is Kaz. I think it’s just a 1-man operation, but I’ve read great things about it. I concur with those who mentioned Kunde as well. We really enjoyed their Petite Sirah. Finally, some old standbys that are always fun are Gundlach-Bundschu, Cline, and Ravenswood. Ravenswood is another place we like to have lunch, and where I saw the fattest housecat I’ve ever seen in my life. I think he also likes the lunch option.

  6. Thanks for all the suggestions everyone! I will be looking into all of these wineries over the next week as I make my plans up.

    Winehiker, those are the two weekends on either end of when we will be there! Our plans are to arrive around 2pm on Thursday 4/12 and leave at around 10am on Sunday 4/15. What’s that weekend looking like for you? We have the tasting on Friday at noon and the blending on Saturday from noon-3 and that’s all I’ve scheduled so far.

    El Jefe, I think it might have to be the Lytton Springs version, I’m not really sure (don’t know the area that well) how far Monte Bello is from where we will be in Cloverdale….

  7. Don’t know if you saw this but Russ posted it on Wine Life Today



  8. Thanks Joel! I’ll have to check it out at home, but looks like it will be helpful. My work computer won’t load it completely.

  9. Lytton Springs, definitely – the town of Cloverdale and the hills of Cupertino, where Montebello Ridge is home to Ridge Winery, are about 130 miles apart from each other. But Jefe speaks Truth: the view from atop Black Mountain – above Ridge Winery – is often spectacular, and one I’ve witnessed many times since it is not far from my home.

    Gosh, that April 14-15 weekend is, sadly, not going to allow me to get to Sonoma County. Shucks! But if you should ever visit the SF peninsula, Megan, I have lots of great wine and hiking options to tantalize you with.

  10. Hi Megan
    I have a few suggestions from our trip this past year. Definitely hit Yoakim Bridge winery, very small right down the road from Ferrari Carano. Seghesio, is a favorite of ours, great wines. Also in Sonoma are Imagery which is fantastic, beautiful place for lunch and Arrowood right next door.
    If you plan to head over to Napa I have a few that I would really recommend trying, Sullivan vineyards is great, awesome wines, great people, Pride another fantastic place for a picnic, fabulous wines and tasting room staff and one of our all time favorites and most expensive favorite is Caymus. Their tasting room experience is great and free, well worth it!!
    JOhn W

  11. If you are a Zin fan you have to visit Ravenswood.

  12. Winehiker- Sorry we will miss you this trip! For sure we will have to catch you on our next time out, which will hopefully be for a bit of a longer visit!

    John, thanks for all the suggestions! I think we will most likely be sticking to Sonoma this time and save Napa for another trip (again, I have no idea how far apart they are!) but I will definitely look into the Sonoma ones you suggested.

    Keri, Welcome! And thank you for your input, I will definitely check out the Ravenswood website!

  13. May also want to check out Ravenswood…

  14. Hey Leah, thanks! I’m going to look into Ravenswood!

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