The fall will be an exciting time of year to visit the fabulous wineries of Sonoma County. With the harvest season in full swing, all of the area’s wineries will be buzzing with activity, some hosting elegant harvest parties and festive wine tasting events. Regardless of what winery to visit in the breathtaking Sonoma Wine Country, visitors are certain to have an unforgettable time during the harvest season, whether it’s an intimate trip through some of the region’s most important appellations or a lavish celebration with gourmet dining. Here are just five outstanding Sonoma County wineries to visit this fall.
Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves
9711 W. Dry Creek
Located in the breathtaking Dry Creek Valley Wine Region of Sonoma County, Bella Vineyards is a small, family-owned winery best known for its award-winning zinfandel wines. Led by owners Scott and Lynn Adams, the winery resides on a property known as Lily Hill Estate, whose winemaking history traces back to 1915 and still retains 10 prized acres of the original old-vine zinfandel. The tasting room is housed within the nearly 7,000 square feet of caves situated just below the vineyard and is open daily from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. except for certain holidays and tasting is just $10 per person.
A popular stop for bicycle day trips such as those offered by Getaway Adventures, Bella Vineyards also features 60 and 90-minute tours of the estate, with the latter featuring a personal wine blending experience.
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Buena Vista Winery
18000 Old Winery Road
Sonoma, CA 95476
Founded in 1857, Buena Vista Winery is the oldest commercial winery in California and a must see for visitors to the Sonoma Wine Country. Located just minutes from Sonoma’s historic plaza in the Carneros AVA, the legendary winery resides on its original site and not surprisingly, is designated as a California Historical Landmark and a winner of a multitude of awards. Buena Vista is clearly one of the most popular Sonoma wineries.
Valley of the Moon Winery
777 Madrone Road
Glen Ellen, CA 95442
The oldest operating winery in the idyllic community of Glen Ellen, Madrone Estate has a long history of winemaking in the Sonoma Wine Country and produces three of the region’s most prestigious wine brands. Purchased by the Stewart Family in 2012, the historic estate has been producing fine wines from vineyards that were first planted in 1863 and for a lengthy period was known as Valley of the Moon Winery. Later this popular Sonoma winery reverted back to its original Madrone name, then back to Valley of the Moon.
Preston Farm & Winery
9282 W. Dry Creek Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Another very charming place to visit in the Dry Creek Valley is the family owned Preston Farm and Winery. Led by the uniquely talented couple Lou and Susan Preston, the gorgeous property features a 125-acre Demeter Certified Biodynamic Farm, complete with farm animals and petting area, a small production of old vine zinfandel and carignane and acres of fruit trees. producing 25 varieties of heirloom apples, olive oil, peaches and other tree-borne fruits.
St. Francis Winery
100 Pythian Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95409
The fall months will be a great time to visit St. Francis Winery and not just because the harvest is in full swing. In October, the award-winning winery will host its 19th annual Blessings of the Animals, a fundraising event to support the Humane Society of Sonoma County. Additionally, visitors can enjoy wine and food pairings from Executive Chef Trevor Eliason who leads the winery’s restaurant twice named the “#1 Restaurant in America” by OpenTable.
About The Author
Randy Yagi is an award-winning freelance writer who served as the National Travel Writer for CBS Local from 2012-2019. More than 900 of his stories still appear in syndication across 23 CBS websites, including CBS New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and San Francisco. During his peak years with CBS, Randy had a reported digital audience reach of 489 million and 5.5 million monthly visitors. Additionally, his stories have appeared in the Daily Meal, CBS Radio, Engadget and Radio.com. He is a Media Fellow of Stanford University, U.S. Army veteran and lifelong resident of Santa Cruz County, California.