The Ultimate Wine Tasting Electric Car Road Trip Through Northern Sonoma County
After purchasing an electric vehicle, the liberating feeling of saying au revoir to the gas station is often replaced by the anxiety of trying to plan an electric car road trip without draining your battery dead. Sure, there are handy apps, such as Chargepoint, ChargeHub and PlugShare, which make it easier to find EV chargers, but Chargepoint only lists pay-to-charge stations, and the others include a mix. In a county like Sonoma where 99% of the growers and wineries are certified sustainable, several wineries have purchased electric car chargers to offer to their guests for free, and those charging stations often do not show up in the apps unless the winery has registered them. That’s where our EV trip planner guide to Sonoma wine country comes in. Whether you’re looking for a day trip or an overnight stay, we hope these suggestions, which allow you to experience three dramatically different wine regions around Healdsburg, make your all-electric epicurean wine tasting itinerary hassle-free. As always, be mindful of alcohol consumption: Spit like a pro when you wine taste or appoint a designated driver.
Electric Car Road Trip from the San Francisco Bay Area to Northern Sonoma Wine Country
Starting Point & First Charge Stop for a Day Trip
Depending on your electric vehicle make and model, your electric car road trip may require one stop before you reach the wine regions of Sonoma County surrounding Healdsburg. These days, we’re likely only talking to older model Chevy Spark, Smart car and Fiat 500 owners, but even Tesla drivers may wish to break up their drive and stop for a charge. The city of Sebastopol, located about 15 minutes west of Santa Rosa, makes for a great first stop for an EV trip planner. Sebastopol and Santa Rosa are both located about 48 miles north of Golden Gate Bridge.
The Barlow offers an eclectic mix of food, wine, beer, spirits and crafts in one spot—with electric car charging stations at both ends of the multi-block shopping district. A list of community purveyors and upcoming events is available on the Barlow website. There are nine chargers on the west end of The Barlow, across the street from Whole Foods Market in the movie theatre lot. Single chargers can also be found near the main entrance into The Barlow and at CVS on Highway 12.
Alexander Valley Wineries – Electric Car Road Trip Itinerary
Start your all-electric day of exploring northern Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, a wine region northeast of Healdsburg known for its silky cabernet sauvignons and stunning mountains. Highway 128 and the roads that feed into it enjoy lovely vineyard views (spring bloom is glorious here), and several wineries in the region are known for their sustainable farming practices and eco-conscious facilities, such as Jordan and Silver Oak. Main street in the tiny town of Geyserville is also home to Diavola Pizzeria and Catelli’s Restaurant, if hunger strikes before or after food and wine pairings.
Jordan’s 1,200-acre estate is much more than a home to its icon French chateau winery and rolling hills of vineyards: It’s a haven for wild animals and pollinators that enjoy the shelter and food amongst the vast open spaces. Seasonal experiences allow guests to reconnect with nature deep in the rolling hills of Jordan Estate, and any wine tasting with food pairing hosted at the hilltop chateau comes with complimentary breathtaking views of the vineyards and mountains. Just outside the renovated winery lobby, there are four electric car chargers for guests—two Tesla chargers and two Enel X chargers. By appointment only.
Called the state’s “most eco-friendly winery” by SFgate.com, this modern bar was designed to “Frame the Vineyard” of the 75 acres of cabernet sauvignon vines that surround it. Like its big brother, Silver Oak winery in Napa Valley, Silver Oak Alexander Valley is LEED Platinum certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). LEED Platinum is the highest level of certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Website currently says the tasting bar is open by appointment only, which may change during winter months. There are two Tesla and three J plugs, though they show up as two different locations on ChargeHub.
The Young family grape growing roots run deep in Alexander Valley, back to 1858. Six generations have lived and farmed on the ranch. Recently, the Youngs built the Scion House to welcome guests for wine tastings and snacks—a modern hospitality center that feels like a home. Perched on a hilltop with beautiful views of Alexander Valley, the Scion House is open by appointment only. This boutique winery has three dual EV car chargers (up to six vehicles); two are ClipperCreek and one is Tesla. It’s truly a family affair; fifth-generation vintner Robert Young starting managing the tasting room in 2021.
Zialena and Geyserville
A minimalist, modern winery set in the middle of vineyards at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains, Zialena is owned by the Mazzoni family of grape growers, who have been selling their fruit to Jordan for decades. Reservations are recommended, but they also accept walk-ins. Zialena has two chargers: one Tesla Destination Charger and a “high power” charger, according to the tasting room manager. This winery is one of the closest to Geyserville if you’re looking for a charge before exploring its quaint main street. There’s also an eclectic art installation, the Geyserville Sculpture Trail, just south of the main street before the Highway 101 on-ramp.
Francis Ford Coppola Winery and nearby Trentadue
Francis Ford Coppola’s namesake winery is known for its grand pool, movie memorabilia, casual restaurant and a variety of wine tastings. There are four electric car charging stations; the tiny Trentadue Winery directly across the highway also has two charging stations. Coppola’s main tasting bar welcomes walk-ins, though Rustic restaurant encourages reservations, especially for the terrace view tables; Trentadue also accepts walk-ins, but requires reservations for its flatbread and wine pairing.
Dry Creek Valley Wineries – Electric Car Road Trip Itinerary
Smaller than neighboring Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley is defined by a meandering creek that runs through it (hence the name) and low mountains on both sides of the valley floor. Many small wineries are situated along the Dry Creek Road wine trail, making it both beautiful and convenient for an EV trip planner.
Located at the gateway to Dry Creek Valley just west of Highway 101, Comstock Wines is a modern farmhouse-style winery with charming vineyard views and a full-time chef. Like Jordan, they are considered one of the best Sonoma wineries with food pairings near Healdsburg. Comstock offers two EV chargers for guests, one Tesla and one ClipperCreek. PlugShare only lists one, but ChargeHub includes both.
Continuing northwest along the Dry Creek Road wine trail, Mauritson is a boutique winery we recommend exploring while charging up. The Mauritsons have been growing grapes in Dry Creek Valley since the 1800s; they were pioneers in what came to be known as the Rockpile appellation west of Dry Creek Valley above Lake Sonoma, planting the first wine grapes there in 1868. Clay Mauritson, the great-great-great grandson of the patriarch, decided to add winemaking to the family legacy in the 1990s and opened his dream winery and tasting room right on Dry Creek Road in 2004. This is a great place to dive deep into learning about the zinfandel grape, the historic red wine of this valley. They have two Tesla chargers, and wine tasting reservations are required. Ridge, located on back road that crosses from Alexander Valley into Dry Creek Valley, is also convenient to visit on your way from Trentadue to Mauritson. Ridge has two EV charging stations; ChargeHub is missing one of theirs.
The region’s flagship winery, Dry Creek Vineyard, has been making elegant wines in the heart of Dry Creek Valley since 1972. Owned and operated by Kim Stare Wallace, the second generation, Dry Creek Vineyard offers seven different experiences, from educational wine tastings that focus on zinfandel or Bordeaux varietal wines to picnics, bocce and off-road vineyard tours. The winery has five Level 2 chargers for guests: three Tesla and two ClipperCreek. If you need to extend your charging time, Dry Creek Vineyard is walking distance from the historic-funky-fun Dry Creek General Store—a great spot for souvenir shopping, sandwiches and drinks.
Trattore Farms and Dry Creek Peach & Produce
This hilltop winery is known for Rhone varietal wines, warm hospitality, Italian snacks and stunning vistas. Like Jordan, they made our list of the best Healdsburg wineries with a view. In addition to charcuterie boards, paninis and pizza, their menu of tasting experiences also includes caviar and picnic provisions. They have four chargers for your electric car road trip, including two Tesla. During summer months, before or after visiting Trattore Farms, don’t miss a pitstop at Dry Creek Peach and Produce. This organic orchard of 1,000 trees and 30 different varieties of peaches, opens a public farmstand during the height of its harvest season, where the owners sell fresh peaches, jams and other tasty gifts.
On your way to Russian River Valley from Dry Creek, head toward West Dry Creek Road to reach the quaint Quivira, a biodynamic and organic winery known for its sauvignon blanc and zinfandels. Quivira also has beautiful gardens that continuously get named to the best winery gardens lists.
Other Dry Creek Valley wineries in the area with electric car chargers include: Papapietro Perry (1 Tesla), Lambert Bridge (1 Tesla) and David Coffaro (1 Tesla).
Russian River Valley Wineries – Electric Car Road Trip Itinerary
South of Dry Creek Valley, the vast Russian River Valley is influenced by both its eponymous river and the cooling breezes off the Pacific Ocean. Its maritime climate is ideal for growing delicate Burgundian grape varieties, such as chardonnay and pinot noir. Within a short drive of 15-20 minutes, the temperature drop felt between the warmer Alexander and Dry Creek valleys and Russian River is one of the coolest (pun intended) parts of this electric car road trip. Because the Russian River appellation stretches all the way from south of Santa Rosa to Healdsburg, we’ve narrowed our list of recommended Russian River Valley wineries with EV chargers to those located in the northern reaches of the appellation, all within 30 minutes of downtown Healdsburg. There are also a few Sonoma County Regional Parks along the Russian River with hiking trails and picnic areas, and the town of Guerneville is filled with quirky shops, restaurants and bars.
The sister property of Silver Oak, Twomey makes chardonnays and pinot noirs with organic farming practices and solar-powered facilities. The modern, minimalist tasting room overlooks a sea of grapevines that extend to the Russian River’s banks. Three Level 2 charging stations are available to guests: two Tesla and one J plug.
This pioneering pinot noir producer may not be the easiest wine tasting reservation to score, but it’s worth the effort. You must be an active member of the Williams Selyem mailing list to reserve a tasting on its modern winery and sun-bathed tasting salon, tucked in the middle of a vineyard. This single-vineyard wine specialist started making wine before the Russian River Valley was established as an appellation in 1983. Today, they work with 16 different growers and 5 estate vineyards each year—mostly pinot noir but also chardonnay and a bit of zinfandel. Vintners John and Kathe Dyson, who purchased Williams Selyem from founders Burt Williams and Ed Selyem in the 1990s, recently began an investment partnership with Erwan Faiveley, seventh-generation vigneron at Domaine Faiveley in Burgundy, France. There are three Level 2 charging stations available to guests: two Tesla and one J plug.
Williams Selyem on ChargeHub
Like the Burt Williams and Ed Selyem, Gary Farrell was another trailblazer in the single-vineyard pinot noir space before the region was an official American Viticultural Area. The tasting room feels more like a modern home in Big Sur, with its mix of Earth-toned lounge seating and dining tables, redwood-panel and retractable-glass walls that open to the terrace. The stunning vineyard and forest views alone are worth the trip. It was renovated not long before the pandemic, and there are three Tesla plugs here for pinot lovers. By appointment only.
Bacchus Landing, a custom crush winemaking facility that is also home to several winery tasting rooms, is located just outside of Healdsburg at the gateway to Russian River Valley. Notable wineries include Aldina, Convene, The Setting and Smith Story. They have three J plug chargers onsite.
Other north Russian River Valley wineries with EV chargers include Thomas George Estates (1 Tesla).
Shop, Eat, Drink, Play near Downtown Healdsburg EV Chargers
The chic town of Healdsburg is always bustling with energy, thanks to the talented tastemakers that continue to open new shops, restaurants and tasting bars every year. Situated around a plaza filled with towering redwood trees, Healdsburg is a very walkable, fun wine town to explore on foot, with countless places to shop, rest, eat, drink and explore all within four blocks. The City of Healdsburg has at least a dozen car chargers in its parking lot, one block west of Little Saint. If you’re not staying overnight at one of the Healdsburg hotels with EV chargers, city hall is the best location to charge up while enjoying the Healdsburg lifestyle around the plaza. Read What’s New in Healdsburg for the latest list of openings and happenings to plan your hit list.
Choosing the Best Healdsburg Hotels with EV Chargers
With its location at the gateway to three wine valleys, Healdsburg definitely deserves an overnight stay—or three. If you’d like to turn your electric car road trip into a multi-day affair, there are several luxury hotels in downtown Healdsburg with EV chargers, as well as an Airbnb. The city hall parking lot is always a good backup.
Healdsburg’s first LEED Gold Certified hotel, H2 hotel was built to be gentle on the environment and welcoming to guests, from solar heating and clothes hangers to what’s on the plate at spoonbar, their restaurant. Though they only have one EV charger, guests are welcome to plug in at Harmon Guest House.
Located next door to H2, Harmon Guest House was built to be in harmony with the natural setting (majestic trees and a creek are found in its backyard). It opened in 2018 and is LEED Gold Certified. H3, as it’s affectionately called, is a sister property to H2 and Hotel Healdsburg. There’s a sleek rooftop bar and café and intriguing design and artwork throughout the property. It has six EV chargers, three of which are Tesla.
The grande dame of Healdsburg, this timeless, modern hotel sits right on the Healdsburg Plaza but still feels grounded in nature. Spirit Bar, located in the lobby, has live music on weekends, and there’s also a hidden courtyard with lounge seating and tables. Hotel Healdsburg has two chargers, and like H2, guests can opt for charging at Harmon Guest House if no charger is available.
Other downtown Healdsburg lodging with EV chargers include Two Thirty Suites (1), SingleThread (1) and River Belle Inn (2). North of downtown Healdsburg, you’ll find EV chargers at Hotel Trio, a Marriott property (6 stations); as well as The Lodge at Healdsburg, a Hilton, which is part of the Dry Creek Inn, a Best Western (3 chargers). Big John’s Grocery store across from Hotel Trio also has EV chargers (2).