7 Best Small Wineries in Sonoma
The best small wineries in Sonoma are boutique wineries – those which make less than 5000 cases annually – are more high touch than high-tech. These places are labors of love. Wines are hand-crafted with exceeding attention and care. There’s freedom to experiment here with different styles and varietals. An approach that looks to expand your palette instead of stultifying it.
It’s less about the glitz and glam. There’s no mass-production assembly line or corporate sponsorship. In fact, small wineries often partner with philanthropic organizations to advance causes they are truly passionate about.
These wineries are run by the vintners themselves, living the viticulture dream, sharing their knowledge of soil. These are intimate, authentic, unpretentious wine tasting experiences. Wine tastings experience often occur in the same estate that the winemakers and their families call home. They are off the beaten path. Down an unmarked gravel road. Surrounded by lush vineyards and extraordinary natural wonder the region’s known for. Here are 7 of our top picks.
Best Sonoma Small Wineries
Sonoma Small Wineries Map
Dutton Estates Vineyard
8757 Green Valley Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Open Daily 10am – 4pm. By Appointment Only.
|Tasting Fee:||Rates vary from $25 per person to $70 per person|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay|
|AVAs:||Green Valley, Russian River Valley|
Dutton Estate Winery is four miles northwest of Sebastopol. For six generations, the Duttons have been making small-lot wines. The family cultivates 1,200 acres of vineyards that encompass a variety of microclimates. It allows them to produce distinctive wines that nonetheless share a cohesiveness with other wines produced in the Green Valley AVA. The region’s trademark fog and Goldridge soils result in particularly unique Pinot Noir. Their wine tasting room itself is in a Spanish-style estate with a surrounding Chardonnay vineyard. Tasting options range from cheese and charcuterie pairings, chocolate and red wine pairings to seated tastings in the garden. Club members receive discounts and complimentary tastings. As an added bonus, Dutton Estate Winery has a spacious vacation rental on the grounds. They also grow 200 acres of certified organic apples and produce a small-batch hard cider.
3785 Burnside Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Open 11am – 4pm, Thursday – Sunday. By Appointment Only.
|Tasting Fee:||$65 per person|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, White Zinfandel|
|AVAs:||Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley,|
The wines of Halleck Vineyard are small batch, luxury wines made by Ross Halleck and Jennifer Halleck. They host small, unpretentious wine tasting salons at their hilltop Sebastopol Estate with sweeping views of the Russian River Valley. This is your chance to live the dream and see what the Sonoma Coast lifestyle is all about. Their Pinot Noir was judged Best Pinot in America three years in a row. The Sauvignon Blanc judged Best California White Wine. And their Dry White Gewürztraminer judged Best White Wine. Tour the viticulture roots of the best California Pinot Noir. Get a chance to buy hard to find wines that are not available in stores. Taste 8 different award-winning wines poured with stories about how they’re made. Paired with delectable, single-bite delicacies made from locally sourced ingredients including triple cream truffle brie and Pinot Noir infused chocolate. Bring your dog for a play date with their African Basenji Franki, a non shedding, hypoallergenic dog who enjoys hosting other pups. The estate is 100% fenced to prevent deer from eating the grapes, so your dog can run free. Only 16 guests per tasting, Advance reservations required.
Red Car Wine Co
8400 Graton Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Open Daily 10:00am to 5:00pm. Walk-ins welcome, reservations recommended.
|Tasting Fee:||$25 to $55 per person|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay|
|AVAs:||Fort Ross – Seaview|
Red Car Wine Co. are environmentally conscious vintners. It shows in the wines. They are bright, food-friendly, single-vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. Produced using native yeasts and minimal intervention. They practice organic farming, and promote biodiversity and water conservation. A laid-back, informative tasting will guide you through this array of wines that are only available for purchase at the winery. Don’t pass up the stellar Cabernet Sauvignon. For a deep dive experience, take the tour around the seven-acre property. Here, iconic coastal redwoods and vibrant avian life have their home. Regular tastings occur in a small salon. There are several comfortable outdoor seating areas where you can relax, breathe in the fresh air and enjoy the surrounding natural beauty.
1300 Montgomery Rd, Sebastopol, CA 95472
Open Monday-Saturday 10am–5pm; Sunday 10am–4pm. By Appointment Only.
|Tasting Fee:||$40 per person|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Chardonnay,|
|AVAs:||Green Valley, Russian River Valley|
Freeman Winery specializes in cool-climate wines like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Known for their attention to detail, as many as 50 individual clonal fermentations are managed each vintage to make just six Pinot Noirs. Their vineyards are situated in the Green Valley area. It’s the coolest part of Sonoma County. Guests can choose to have their tastings in a cool, serene wine cave on the property next to the vineyards. Tastings are directed by the winemaker, so no question goes unanswered. After a tasting, there’s a chance to walk through the vines and visit the adjacent Gloria Vineyard. It’s their first estate vineyard property. And since Freeman Winery values biodiversity, nature-loving guests will be awed to see the owl-boxes and redwood groves on the property. This brings a bit of natural magic to the experience. Tasting fee waived if purchasing six bottles or more.
Inman Family Wines
3900 Piner Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95401
Open Thursday – Sunday, 11am. – 4pm. By Appointment Only.
|Tasting Fee:||$30 to $50 per person/waived with purchase of two or more bottles|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Old-vine Zinfandel, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay|
|AVAs:||Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley|
Inman Family Wines commits itself to environmentally responsible viticulture practices and family-style hospitality. They make wines without any added tannins, water, acid, or enzymes. And fermented using only native yeast. As part of their commitment to sustainable viticulture, nearly 100% solar energy powers the winery. All production vehicles, including forklifts, are electric. Their tasting room looks out over a lovely Pinot Noir vineyard. Wine tastings are tailored to meet the individual needs and preferences of each guest. Private tastings with the vintners can be arranged. Be sure to book these in advance. For regular tasting, patio and picnic tables are available for outdoor seating.
Kelly & Young Wines
119 S Cloverdale Blvd #3709, Cloverdale, CA 95425
Thursday: 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Friday: 1:00pm – 6:00pm, Saturday & Sunday: 12:00pm – 5:00pm
Walk-in welcome, Reservations Recommended
|Tasting Fee:||$10 – $15 per person|
|Label:||Kelley & Young|
|Varietals:||Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Malbec, Bordeaux-blend Rosé|
Kelley & Young Wines is a family-owned winery established in 2007. Their grapes are grown and harvested under the backdrop of the Mayacama Mountain Range with sweeping views of the Alexander Valley. Tastings are lively affairs that take place on the patio to the accompaniment of live music. Sample some snacks provided by the winery’s talented chef. Besides tasting flights, wines are also available by the glass. For those looking to extend the experience, stay at Kelly & Young’s elegant Queen Anne Victorian mansion right next door. Each room of the Inn is decorated with fine antiques, collectables and Asian artifacts. There’s even private baths and a koi pond. Free tasting included in your stay.
Smith Story Wine Cellars
14210 Bacchus Landing Way, Healdsburg, CA 95448
Open Thursday – Monday 11am – 4pm. Walk-in welcome, Reservations Recommended.
|Tasting Fee:||$25 per person|
|Label:||Smith Story, Lord Sandwich|
|Varietals:||Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc|
|AVAs:||Anderson Valley, Sonoma Coast|
Ali Smith and Eric Story conceived of this winery in 2014, during their Hawaiian honeymoon. Smith Story Wine Cellars produces restrained, balanced, and elegantly crafted small-batch organic wines. The tasting room is located in Bacchus Landing. It’s just minutes from picture-perfect downtown Healdsburg. This is one of the newest wineries on the list. But the owners bring over 40 years of combined experience in wine to the table. Get a bottle and head outside to the small fresco wine garden. Purchase delicious small bites at the Bacchus Market right next door. There’s also by-the-glass pours available for all the wines Smith Story makes. This is a relaxing and laid-back wine experience. And they’re expertly co-hosted by the chief canine-in-resident, Lord Sandwich. Be sure to keep all dogs on leashes at the property.
Best Small Wineries in Sonoma Wrap-Up
Guests of boutique wineries receive a more authentic wine experience. They’re dedicated to expanding the community of wine lovers one customer at a time. It’s a chance for deeper personal connection than if you visit a glamorous, and overcrowded, corporate counterpart.
By supporting these wineries, you can really see where your dollar is going. It makes the purchase much more meaningful and worthwhile. So take a brief hiatus from a world increasingly dominated by global supply chains and artificial intelligence. The best small wineries in Sonoma offer something a mass-produced company can’t: real human connection.
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