San Francisco + Bay Area

Napa Valley and Sonoma Wineries

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I have now lived in the Bay Area for 4 years. It is crazy to think how fast time has gone, but it has been a wonderful experience. I wouldn’t change it for anything as I have learned and grown personally in all areas of my life. However, my husband and I will be moving back to my hometown at the end of February, so I figured I should write a post on my favorite wineries near SF prior to moving!

As most of you know, San Francisco is extremely close to one of the best wine tasting places in the world-Napa Valley. I have had the opportunity to visit Napa and Sonoma Valley multiple times while living in SF. Frankly, I wish I could have visited these areas more, but there is just not enough time in the world. Plus, there are a ridiculous amount/number of wineries to visit that it would almost be nearly impossible to visit them all! So here are some of my favorites!

1. Ledson Winery in Kenwood

This has been one of my favorite wineries. My husband and I visited here one sunny October afternoon after going to a pumpkin patch. This place is like a new age castle with a beautiful fountain in the front. They have a little market that you can purchase snacks or even sandwiches out and then picnic!

Unfortunately, all the tasting are done inside, but they do sell their bottles of wine in the market and you are allowed to purchase a bottle and take it outside to drink outside. There are a few different options for tastings. My husband and I chose to do the $20 tasting in the downstairs portion of the castle; however, there is a private wine tasting upstairs for $75. I can’t speak to what the upstairs looks like, but the downstairs and the outside area was beautiful.

Check out the website HERE.

2. Viansa Sonoma

I visited Viansa Sonoma with some girl friends along with my husband on a VERY hot fall afternoon. This Winery has been named as “one of the best picnic spots in Sonoma.” They are the first winery as you enter Sonoma from San Francisco!

They offer picnic tables with a beautiful view over the vineyards. Unfortunately, you can’t bring your own food, but they also have a market that sells picnic like treats. If you want more of an intimate experience check out their Private Outlook Tasting. This experience is $75/person and is only offered weather permitting.

I really enjoyed this place as it had a relaxed vibe. It was family friendly, kids and dogs running around and I personally enjoyed my glass of Rose.

Check out their website HERE.

3. Castello Di Amorosa in Calistoga

Now this place is like an ACTUAL old castle. It looks and feels that way too. There are dungeons and secret passageways and the tasting is bar is in the Knights Hall which is below ground. Trust me, this place is pretty cool!

You will receive a map of the winery and are able to do a self guided tour. If you would like to pay extra, you have the option to do multiple different guided tours along with cheese and wine pairings.

No reservations are necessary for groups that are less than 15 people.Check out their website HERE.

4. Frank Family Vineyards in Napa

Aw, Frank Family Vineyard. Doesn’t that just sound like the cutest little place? Well, it is! This Vineyard has an original yellow Craftsman house where the wine tastings are done and a picnic area outside.

This vineyard has been voted “Best Napa Winery” by the bay area for eight years in a row; therefore, it can get busy, so they do request you make a reservation ahead of time to guarantee a tasting. Reservations are required on the weekend.

The best part about this place is that you can bring your own picnic! On a nice day, you really could hangout at this winery all day!

Check out the website HERE.

5. Beringer in Saint Helena

I visited the Beringer winery at Saint Helena with my now husband and my parents when they came to visit us in San Francisco. Beringer Vineyards is located in Napa Valley and is on a large piece of property. There are two separate areas to visit on the property.

There is the “main” house otherwise known as the Rhine House which looks like a mansion. Just off to the left is the Hudson house offers outdoor seating and live music. This winery is known as California’s Oldest Continually Operating Winery. They offer lots of events including cooking classes.

Check out the website HERE.

6. Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga

I would say Sterling Vineyards is one of the “fancier” wineries. It is perched 300 feet above the town of Calistoga and offers panoramic views of Napa Valley. The Mediterranean architecture of this winery is modeled after the Greek island of Mykonos.

General admission for those over the age of 21 includes an aerial tram up to the winery followed by a self-guided tour with tastings of their current release wines at each stop along the tour.

Visit this winery for stunning views and beautiful outdoor terraces-no reservations are required.

Check out the website HERE

7. Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma

Last but not least, I chose Ram’s Gate Winery in Sonoma County. This place offers a rustic vibe with cozy couches and a warm fire near by if need be. I highly suggest purchasing and tasting the cheese board offered here as it was delicious. I personally had a wonderful experience at this winery. It was a comfortable setting and I was with a group of my friends which made it even better. The service was great and the views were spectacular! appointments are recommended.

Check out the website HERE.

Want a complete guide on a weekend in Wine Country? Check out this post by Mona for a complete guide to Napa Wineries.

You may have noticed a theme throughout my list of favorite wineries. Also, I really tend to love the small family owned vineyards with cute backyards that you can picnic in. Regardless of where you go in Napa Valley or Sonoma County you are going to find amazing wineries. Obviously, it will be more crowded in the summer vs the winter, but the weather is so wonderful and warm in the summer that it makes for a perfect glass of white wine or some rose-my personal favorite.

Cheers!



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4 Comments

  1. Great insight into the wineries which makes me so excited to visit them on my next trip to SF. I had no idea there were some that were like mansions and castles.

  2. Napa and Sonoma valleys are famous in the world for producing wine. According to my knowledge, these places are number one for making wine. Its brands are famous all over the world. 2 years ago i was visited to the Beringer winery at Saint Helena. It is near the Napa Valley area. Sonoma are also famous for tasting wine.

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