Top 12 Sebastopol Wine Tasting Spots (with Map)

The Barlowe in downtown Sebastopol offers an eclectic mix on wine tasting rooms, restaurants and shops.
The Barlowe in downtown Sebastopol offers an eclectic mix on wine tasting rooms, restaurants and shops.

For over one hundred and fifty years, the town of Sebastopol has been known as a farming and agricultural center of northern California. Once a plum and apple growing industry, the area is now a diverse paradise of flowers, fruits, vegetables, and of course, rolling green vineyards. 

But despite the terrior’s excellent predisposition to harvesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, viticulture is relatively new to Sebastopol.

Blooming Sonoma Vineyards in Sebastopol, California.

Today, heavy investment has turned nearly all former orchards into vineyards. The results are impressive. It’s now one of the world’s finest wine grape growing regions. 

Here is the best wine tasting Sebastopol has to offer. We start with a visit to one of Sebastopol’s first vineyard ever planted in 1994.


Top 12 Sebastopol Wine Tastings Map


1. Halleck Vineyard

Halleck Vineyard, the first vineyard planted in Sebastopol in 1972, has been judged Best Pinot Noir in America for 3 years in a row.

For true Pinotphiles, no trip to Sebastopol is complete without a visit to the Halleck Vineyard Estate. This is one of the first Pinot Noir Vineyards planted in Sebastopol in 1994. Pinot Noir from Halleck Vineyard was judged Best Pinot in America for three years in a row. Their Sauvignon Blanc was judged Best California White Wine, and their Dry White Gewürztraminer was judged Best White Wine. These are small batch, luxury wines made by Ross Halleck and Jennifer Halleck. They host small, intimate wine tasting salons at their hilltop Sebastopol Estate with sweeping views of the Russian River Valley. Only 16 people per wine tasting experience and dogs are welcome. Tour the viticulture roots of the best California Pinot Noir and get a chance to buy hard to find wines not sold in stores. Taste 8 different award-winning wines poured with stories about how they’re made. Each is paired with delectable, single-bite delicacies made from locally sourced ingredients including triple cream truffle brie and Pinot Noir infused chocolate.

BrandHalleck Vineyard
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Dry Gewurztraminer and Dry White Zinfandel
AVAsRussian River Valley and Sonoma Coast
Dog FriendlyYes

2. Merry Edwards

Inside the Merry Edwards wine tasting room in Sebastopol
(photo by star 5112, CC BY-SA 2.0)

After you’ve visited the first Sebastopol vineyard, you may also want to visit the winery of Merry Edwards. She’s one of the first women to become a winemaker in California. Merry Edwards has always been devoted to Pinot Noir. From 1973 to the present day, she’s created award-winning wines by capturing unique Pinot flavors through site-specific viticulture. The tasting room built into the winery itself. You can taste through several single-vineyard Pinot Noirs, and even her hidden gem, a truly special Sauvignon Blanc. Each wine speaks to the diversity of the region. They show Merry Edwards’ commitment to creating exceptional wines of depth that evoke a true sense of place. For the collector and aspiring wine lover, a vertical tasting flight is available. It’s a sampling of six wines of radically different vintages. This will show how traditional, labor-intensive protocols in their cellar result in wines of depth and longevity.

BrandMerry Edwards
VarietalsSauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir
AVAsRussian River Valley
Dog FriendlyNo

3. Dutton-Goldfield Winery

(photo courtesy of Dutton Goldfield)

Consistently voted the best Russian River Winery to visit, Dutton Goldfield is a well-known gem. Not only a precious spot for grape vines, but a beautiful apple orchard as well. So for those looking to get away from the boisterous valley crowds, the winery has a spacious tasting room, full of natural light. Relax on the serene patio overlooking the vineyard and discover cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. You can choose the classic tasting experience, which includes a selection of their current release whites and reds, or the single-vineyard Pinot Noir experience. Another option is a seated tasting of their limited-production wines, ranging from across their portfolio of varietals, from Riesling to Zinfandel. Learn why they pair so well with the local artisan cheeses.

BrandDutton-Goldfield
VarietalsChardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Blanc, Riesling
AVAsRussian River Valley, Anderson Valley, Petaluma Gap
Dog FriendlyYes

4. Red Car Wine Co.

The Red Car wine tasting room in Sebastopol, California
(photo courtesy of Red Car)

Red Car is an outstanding producer of limited, single-vineyard Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah wines from the Sonoma Coast. A laid-back, informative tasting will guide you through a delicious array of wines. Some are only available for purchase at the winery, including a stellar Cabernet Sauvignon. Ample seating available outside on the patio. For the enthusiast, there’s the option of a walking vineyard tour of Freestone’s Zephyr Farms Vineyard. It’s a seven-acre site surrounded by breathtaking views, redwoods and coastal fog. You’ll taste Red Car Zephyr Farms Pinot Noir and Chardonnay – wines cultivated from the same seven-acre vineyard site – while you explore this special farm. The experience concludes in their Sebastopol lounge with an additional tasting of their Sonoma Coast wines.

BrandDutton-Goldfield
VarietalsChardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Zinfandel, Pinot Blanc, Riesling
AVAsRussian River Valley, Anderson Valley, Petaluma Gap
Dog FriendlyYes

5. Pax Mahle Wine

(photo courtesy of Pax Mahle)

Recently profiled in The New York Times, Pax Mahle focuses on Syrah and Gamay from coastal sites. They also produce more esoteric varieties that brilliantly showcase the diversity of California wine. Just stroll up to their garage door and listen to some vinyl spinning on the turntable. Their tasting room in the Barlow, in downtown Sebastopol has flights, wine by-the-glass/bottle, and a selection of small bites for every palate. There’s an outdoor patio as well, dog-friendly. It’s a laid back experience that everyone can enjoy. You can also book a private tasting and cellar tour that showcases single-vineyard Syrah paired with local cheese and charcuterie. So if you’re looking for a lazy afternoon to sip wine and nibble on special treats, there’s no better place. 

BrandPax Mahle
VarietalsSyrah, Gamay, Vermentino, Chenin Blanc, Trousseau
AVAsSonoma Coast, Mendocino, Petaluma Gap, Russian River Valley
Dog FriendlyYes

6. Marimar Estate

Founder Marimar Torres and Director of Sales & Marketing Cristina Torres with their Brittany spaniels at Marimar Estate. (Photo courtesy of Marimar Estate)

Nestled in the rolling hills of western Sonoma County, the Catalan-style winery sits on a hilltop surrounded by ancient vines. Here you can watch the birds soar at eye level. Very dog friendly. The rugged terrain, with its creeks and forests, provide magnificent scenery, and make this site perfect for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Grab a spot for a seated tasting with five reds and white wines on the spacious patio. They’re paired with four tapas from Marimar’s Cookbooks. 

BrandMarimar Estate
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Tempranillo, Albarino
AVAsRussian River Valley, Sonoma Coast
Dog FriendlyYes

7. Horse and Plow

Outside the rustic Sebastopol wine tasting room at the Horse and Plow in Sebastopol
(Photo courtesy Horse and Plow)

For a change of pace visit the redwood tasting barn at Horse and Plow, situated on two beautiful acres of gardens and orchards. The world-class apples and grapes grown in their North Coast region make spectacular cider and wine. You can taste ciders and wine by the glass, in special flights, and alongside cheese and charcuterie. Picnic-fun atmosphere. As a bonus, there’s live music on the weekends. 

BrandHorse and Plow, The Gardener, Cider
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay, Carignan, Grenache
AVAsSonoma County, Mendocino, Dry Creek Valley
Dog FriendlyYes

8. Littorai

(Photo courtesy of Littorai)

Littorai overlooks thirty acres of rolling hills in the western Sonoma Coast appellation. Their entry level tasting will take you through some dynamic examples of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley vineyards. There’s also the highly enjoyable and unique walking tour of the farm and vineyard. This is a place of extraordinary discovery. The knowledgeable staff will lead you through the Pivot Vineyard and Gold Ridge estate farm. Learn about Littorai’s history and discuss their generative farming practices. You’ll see where and how they make agricultural teas, compost, and preparations for biodynamic farming. How they recycle and reuse water, and how and why animal grazing is an essential ingredient for the vineyards of the future. The experience concludes with a private tasting of site specific Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

BrandLittorai
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay
AVAsRussian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley
Dog FriendlyYes

9. Region Wine Bar

(Photo courtesy of Kerry Thedorf at Region)

Region is something a little different for the average wine connoisseur. Conveniently located in the Barlow, they pour 2 or 4 oz. pours from 25 different West Sonoma County wineries. By establishing relationships with local wineries they love, Region is a community space to share and enjoy wine. It’s a beautifully warm, modern, and rustic space, with lounge furniture and two fireplaces. Here you can use their self-serve wine station to try hard-to-find, independent wines from 25 local Wineries representing 14 different Sonoma County Appellations. With over 100 wines by the taste, glass, or bottle, there is always the diversity and opportunity to try something new. They even offer a tailored wine experience with an on-site sommelier. As a special treat, each week a winery-partner of Region does a takeover of the space, with distinct wine and food pairings. One of the best places to relax with your vino. Elegant and cozy.

Brands25 distinct wineries
Varietalsover 60 different grapes
AVAs18 different appellations
Dog FriendlyNo

10. Claypool Cellars

Chaney Claypool and husband Primus bassist Les Claypool display their delightful Pachyderm sparkling wine. (Photo courtesy of Claypool Cellars)

Famously owned by Les Claypool, the bassist for the band Primus. Claypool Cellars is truly doing something creative and unique in an over-saturated scene of one-note winery experiences. Quirky, creative, and delicious. That’s Claypool Cellars. You can taste the wines at their charming, old-school saloon called Pachyderm Station and enjoy gourmet hot dogs. A perfect setting for the understated, too cool for school feel of this place. A very small production winery. The winemaker is Ross Cobb. They specialize in cool climate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs. But they also make a Rosé and a special production of Champagne which they make in France. Go figure, they even have stools at their tasting room bar. There’s also full-service tastings by the glass or bottle on the patio. And they have delicious, high-end hot dogs for sale on Sundays. Super tasty!

BrandsClaypool
VarietalsPinot Noir
AVAsSonoma Coast
Dog FriendlyNo

11. Fog Crest Vineyard

Winner of multiple gold medals at the San Francisco International Wine Competition, Fog Crest Vineyard sits high atop the Laguna de Santa Rosa. Tranquil and off the beaten path. The tasting room boasts one of the most beautiful views in Sonoma County. Come for the Pinot and Chardonnay, and stay for the locally sourced Prosciutto, Salami & Cheeses. Don’t pass up the truffle honey and fig jam! Fog Crest also offers a private gourmet lunch pairing. With rolling hills spanning for miles in front of you and a glass of wine in hand. It’s tough to beat the sunset at Fog Crest Vineyards. 

BrandsFog Crest
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay
AVAsRussian River Valley
Dog FriendlyYes

12. Lynmar Estate

(Photo courtesy of Lynmar Estates)

Surrounded by serene vineyards and lush gardens, Lynmar Estates is truly a luxury wine experience. The outdoor patio is essentially in the vineyards itself. The basic wine flight allows you to taste through their expansive portfolio of estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Even sample little bites like homemade buttered popcorn! They also craft a terrific sparkling rose from some of the oldest vines in the valley. For the ultimate wine and food experience, you can book a private table in the magical setting of Quail Hill Vineyard. Here, your dedicated host will guide you through an elevated three-course lunch, individually plated, and paired to Lynmar’s exquisite wines. If you haven’t been, put this on your list right away.

BrandsLynmar Estate
VarietalsPinot Noir, Chardonnay
AVAsRussian River Valley 
Dog FriendlyYes

Wrap-Up

For wine tasting enthusiasts, Sebastopol offers a perfect balance between small town charm and the sophisticated amenities of larger cities. There’s a great sense of discovery here, as it’s relatively new in the history of California wine. It more than deserves a place on the map, whether you’re looking for laid-back vibes in the Barlow or heady opulence on hilltop vineyards. The fantastic locales around the Sebastopol wine tasting scene will leave you happy, sated, and wanting another glass.

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Scott Butterfield

Scott Butterfield

Scott Butterfield is a published novelist, short story writer, and dedicated wine buyer, with over a decade of experience tasting, selecting, and selling wine to all manner of clientele. A lucky little mortal, he's been blessed to visit the chateaux of Bordeaux, the villas of Tuscany, the hillsides of Wachau, the otherworldly beauty of South Africa, New Zealand, and of course, the iconic wineries and vineyards of California, Oregon, and Washington. He lives and works in Los Angeles.

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