Best Sonoma Wineries with a Food and Wine Pairing
Wine is meant to be enjoyed with food and this list of Sonoma wineries with food pairings takes that very seriously. Delectable and hearty, these chef-driven food and wine pairings go far beyond a cheese and charcuterie plate. Before you go, note that almost all of these wineries with food require advance reservations—and an empty stomach.
Best Sonoma Wineries with Food Pairings (Updated December 1, 2021)
There are culinary components weaved into most Jordan Vineyard & Winery experiences and events, but the Estate Tour & Tasting is by far the most comprehensive. Following a light Champagne breakfast, this three-hour exploration takes you aboard a luxury sprinter van on a tour of the 1,200-acre estate. You’ll make several stops along the way: the culinary garden and apiary of Executive Chef Todd Knoll, a lake for the first food and wine pairing—a tasting of two Jordan Chardonnays with two bites and estate olive oil—a block of vineyards for an educational stroll and finally, Vista Point. Situated on a hilltop at 650 feet of elevation with 360-degree views, Vista Point is the site of the final food and wine pairing, involving a tasting of two Jordan Cabernet Sauvignons to enjoy with a bento box filled with bites, such as Knights Valley Black Angus beef roasted in horseradish leaves, mizuna greens with estate honey miso vinaigrette and local cheeses. This year, the finale food pairing is served in locally-made pottery that uses the soil from the Jordan garden. Available Thursday-Monday at 9:45 a.m., June-October. $135
One of several new-ish wineries in Alexander Valley, Silver Oak Cellars recently completed construction on a state-of-the-art, green winery, tasting room and chef’s kitchen on Highway 128 in the heart of the region. While the tour of the LEED-certified winery and American oak barrel cellar is impressive, the Silver Oak Food & Wine Pairing is not to be missed. The experience begins with a tour of the tasting room, estate vineyard and culinary gardens and then moves on to the best part: four bites, like fried oysters or Liberty Farms duck leg confit, are prepared by chef Dominick Orsini and paired with current releases of Silver Oak and Twomey wines. Due to COVID-19, only wine tastings are currently available (prices range from $40-$80 per person), but Silver Oak expects food and wine pairings to be offered again soon.
A true farm-to-fork experience, Chalk Hill’s 90-minute Culinary Tour & Tasting starts with an amuse bouche, chardonnay and Hummer tour of the estate’s organically farmed culinary garden. There, you’ll see the inspiration for the ensuing four-course, seating tasting set amongst panoramic views of the estate’s 1,300 stunning acres of vineyards and natural wilderness. The seated wine and food pairing unfolds on the terrace. Executive Chef Alec Graham carefully crafts each dish to complement the glass of red wine with which it’s matched. This is a great wine and food pairing in Sonoma County. Available Thursday-Sunday at 1 p.m. $105/$85 club members.
DRY CREEK VALLEY
Italians have long mastered the art of food-friendly wines and Seghesio, founded pre-Prohibition by an Italian immigrant, proudly carries on the tradition. Offering a taste of Italy in California wine country, Seghesio’s Chef’s Table experience pairs Italian varietals, plus zinfandel, with four seasonal dishes. Some are even old family recipes, like sausage and spinach ravioli with chestnuts and grana padano. Due to COVID-19, the Chef’s Table is not currently available, but a Seghesio representative said they hoped it would be back on the calendar in 2022.
Located in the heart of Dry Creek Valley, just across from the historic Dry Creek General Store, Amista is a small family winery that’s often overlooked. Visitors can enjoy sparkling and Rhone varietal blends with charcuterie bites and local cheeses in the Discovery Wine & Food Pairings experience. A second wine and food pairing option features only estate-grown sparkling wines. $45/$55
Once a month, Lambert Bridge partners with a local Sonoma County chef and puts on their Chef’s Table Series. The visiting chefs, handpicked from popular restaurants like Valette, Dry Creek Kitchen, Spoonbar and other hotspots, prepare a multi-course, seasonal menu to enjoy alfresco alongside Lambert Bridge current releases. As of press time, the 2022 calendar had not been published. $125/$95 club members
Amid estate vineyards and a modest goat farm, weekend tastings on the open-air patio at Reeve comprise chardonnay and pinot noir from winemaker Noah Dorrance and delicious wood-fired pizzas and other goodies from Chef Michael Degen. Though the pizzas change from week to week, the concept behind them remains the same: Good local ingredients, assembled and made fresh to order. Overall, the vibe at Reeve is hipster chic; the winery is tucked back about 1.5 miles from Dry Creek Road, so the experience feels completely private. Available Saturday and Sundays with reservations. $45/$65
Located a block off the Healdsburg Square, Williamson Wines has something for everyone with an array of food and wine experiences to choose from. They’re best known for their complimentary Fridge Foods & Wine tasting—while most winery pairings aren’t home cook friendly, this offering demonstrates how wines can pair with the everyday foods you might find in your fridge. Williamson also offers several different Sonoma wine pairing lunch tasting options. For $65, the Icon Wines Tasting tasting matches plates with Williamson’s finest, small production wines, while as its name suggests, the Bordeaux Wines Lunch in Healdsburg ($90) dives into cabernet sauvignon, merlot and malbec, to name a few. The winery also offers two reserve wines lunch tastings—one at the tasting room in downtown Healdsburg ($110) and one at the family residence off West Dry Creek Road ($190).
RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
One of the only Sonoma wineries with food pairings served in an actual restaurant setting—and one of the first to implement a comprehensive wine and food program—the J Bubble Room plays host to an elegant, five-course meal complete with heavy-handed wine pairings (both sparkling and still). The menu changes every six weeks and wine pairings range from only one sparkling wine in the flight to several, so if you’re expecting bubbles with your lunch, call ahead to confirm. Courses may include delicacies, such as scallops with cauliflower romanesco, Liberty duck with Matsutake and smoked Eye of the Goat beans with avocado and crispy onions. Typically the Bubble Room is open Thursday-Sunday with seatings between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.; as of press time, the dining room area was closed due to COVID-19. $125/discounted pricing for club members
The experience is convivial at this Windsor winery, which has ample outdoor space for visitors to enjoy a visit without ever venturing indoors. Winemaker Cary Gott pairs his unoaked chardonnay and Alexander Valley Zinfandel with delicious bites from chefs such as Charlie Palmer and Nate Applebaum. As of press time, there were two main pairing options: Our Roots ($65) and Sip & Savor ($85). Morsels change regularly with these options but might include barbecued pork, grilled vegetables from the on-site gardens, and more. Two other options—The Estate Spread ($40 per spread) and The Essentials Picnic ($70 per person)—are available for guests to enjoy with a bottle of wine anywhere on the property.
Of all the Sonoma wineries with food pairings, Dutton-Goldfield has a history of being the most creative. For years, the winery paired sushi with single-vineyard wines in a special Wine and Sushi Flight. Now, due largely to COVID-19, the winery has pared down its pairings to including a standard “discovery” tasting ($30 per person) and a wine and cheese experience ($45). Check their website for information on special weekend tastings as well.
The Wine & Food Pairing at Kendall-Jackson focuses on five of the estate’s small production and limited release wines—so, not just the chardonnay you see at every grocery store—and pairs them with sizeable plates, such as beef short rib pasta and a mushroom and sunchoke soup, sourcing many ingredients straight from their sprawling, four-acre sensory gardens (which, you must explore before you leave). The Jackson Family Wines culinary team released a gorgeous, 288-page Wine Country cookbook in 2018, so trust they know what they’re doing. $85/$63.75 club members
Designed for a party of four (perhaps an occasion for a double date), Saralee’s Picnic Experience at La Crema isn’t your typical laid-back affair on a patch of grass. Yes, there is a picnic basket, but this is like the glamping of picnics. The basket includes a curated lineup of cheeses, prosciutto, artichoke and almond tapenade, and more, and it comes with a bottle of Saralee’s Vineyard chardonnay or pinot noir. Each basket serves 2-3 people. Guests even get to take the basket home as a souvenir. $175 per person
For the Lynmar Experience, Executive Chef David Frakes, who spent a decade in Napa Valley as executive chef at Beringer Vineyards, sources from the estate culinary gardens and prepares two separate multi-course, farm-to-table lunches to pair with Lynmar wines (many of which are made from some of the oldest chardonnay and pinot noir vines planted in the Russian River Valley). The Lynmar Lunch Pairing ($110 per person) is a gourmet box lunch that begins with a light starter and features a main course and a dessert. The Collectors Lunch Pairing ($200 per person) unfolds at a private vineyard table in the middle of the Quail Hill Vineyard, and features an individually plated lunch for up to six people.
Renowned winemaker Paul Hobbs, who cut his teeth under none other than Robert Mondavi in the late 70s, offers a Vineyard Designate Experience that begins with a tour of the 12,000-square-foot winery and surrounding vineyards at his Howard Backen-designed Katherine Lindsay Estate in Sebastopol, which Hobbs named after his great grandmother. Guests then sit down for a tasting of six, highly-limited production and vineyard designate wines, paired with seasonal bites prepared by the winery chef. $185
Gloria Ferrer has built a strong reputation for its sparkling wines over the last three decades and doesn’t disappoint with stunning views of the Carneros wine region’s cascading hills from their expansive winery terrace and Vista Room. The winery offers a myriad of tasting experiences, but only two pair with food: Bubbles and Bites and A Taste of Spain. The sparkling wine experience ($60) begins with a tour and pairs four bites with four wines: three sparkling cuvées and one pinot noir. The Taste of Spain ($50) on the other hand, explores five Spanish wines, including a Cava, paired with tasty tapas. Available daily at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. Wine club members receive a 20% discount.
The Mayo Family Reserve Room might just be the most robust of all the Sonoma wineries with food pairing experiences on this list, so come hungry. Take in views of Kenwood’s hillside vineyards while you work your way through seven courses—from a Dungeness crab croqueta to winter squash gratin—prepared by executive chef John Locher (who hails from The General’s Daughter and winery kitchens Beringer and Viansa) and his culinary team. You’ll also sip through seven single-vineyard wines, ranging from a malbec to a pinot noir and even a late harvest gewürztraminer. The experience also comes at an incredible value, just $70. Available Thursday-Monday.
Settle into Three Sticks’ gorgeous, cozy and historic Vallejo-Castanada Adobe for a unique and cultural Food & Wine pairing. Located on the Sonoma Plaza, this building is the longest-occupied residence in Sonoma and is one of the few remaining from California’s Mexican Period. For the tasting, five wines are paired with five bites prepared by Chef Armando Navarro of nearby El Dorado Kitchen. Previous pairings have included a lobster corn dog paired with the Gap’s Crown Vineyard Chardonnay. Available Monday-Friday. $95
Pinot noir enthusiasts can’t skip the Root 101 Experience at WALT Wines. No car required, this 1,000-mile educational exploration of west coast pinot noir from Santa Barbara to Oregon’s Willamette Valley can be experienced right from their intimate Sonoma Plaza tasting room. Taste the distinct differences in terroir during a comparative tasting of six single vineyard pinots from varying regions, each paired with bites from Sonoma farm-to-table legend The Girl and The Fig, such as duck rillettes with housemade fig jam and butternut squash ricotta cheesecake. $80/$60 wine club members
Scribe is where the cool kids go, and while hanging on their hilltop is a favorite pastime, their renovated 1850s Hacienda is even more magical. The Hacienda hosts the Mezze Experience—Mezze is a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern dining tradition involving small plates and alcoholic drinks—for which Scribe’s culinary team sources their own produce and serves up light and farm-fresh dishes that you won’t feel guilty about later, like roasted winter vegetables with pistachio salsa and German Butterball potato salad. This is a casual experience and the plates aren’t paired with specific wines; just enjoy eating and sipping Scribe’s unique and forgotten varietals, like sylvander and riesling, at your leisure. Reservations are currently not accepted due to COVID-19.
It doesn’t get much more authentic than Marimar’s 60-minute Tapas and Wine Pairing, which pairs four pinot noirs and chardonnays with four tapas that come straight out of proprietor Marimar Torres’ own published cookbooks. Torres came to California from Barcelona in 1975 to plant her Green Valley vineyard and is equally deft in the cellar and kitchen. She has carefully selected flavorful recipes that enhance, not distract from, the flavors in the wine, like Farcellets de Col (cabbage dumplings stuffed with pork, chorizo, pine nuts and raisins) and the sweet Higos Pasos Rellenos con Salsa de Chocolate (figs stuffed with chocolate and nuts in a chocolate sauce). The food pairing experience also comes with sprawling vineyard views from the Catalan-style terrace. $55
Known as the gateway winery to Sonoma from San Francisco and the Bay, Ram’s Gate Winery uses their in-house open kitchen as much as possible. Guests can opt for the wine-only Vineyard Designate Tasting & Tour, or go bigger with the Seasonal Wine & Food Pairing ($160). This experience includes an in-depth tour of the estate and is designed around the wine—Ram’s Gate works with premium sites to craft a diverse line-up of small lot, single-vineyard pinots and chardonnays—as Executive Chef Stacey Combs and the culinary team thoughtfully create a menu of five hyper-seasonal courses to enhance each glass, like mushroom linguini with braised oxtails. The next step up from that is The Arbor Experience ($300, by advanced reservation). Great for groups, this interactive experience takes place in the kitchen and includes six wine and food pairings.
Visit Patz & Hall’s cozy-chic Sonoma House and reserve the Sparkling & Caviar tasting, hosted in an intimate and private room. Enjoy three different sparkling wines paired with a selection of caviar and associated accoutrements. After the experience, make sure you take a few moments to walk around the idyllic grounds, which have views of their estate vineyards and the Mayacamas Mountains. Available Friday-Sunday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. $110
St. Francis Winery’s substantial, multi-course Wine & Food Pairing by Executive Chef Peter Janiak is served in a private dining room off the back terrace, overlooking a lawn that opens to an experimental vineyard filled with almost a dozen different grapes. The experience, which has been named Best Restaurant in America by OpenTable more than once, includes five different varietal wines (from a chardonnay, zinfandel and a port for dessert) paired with five elevated, seasonal dishes, such as Dungeness crab lumpia and duck confit trotter. Available Thursday-Monday at 11 a.m. $95/$78 wine club members
Pangloss works with local purveyors to create their Seasons in Sonoma food pairing, which matches a flight of three wines with optional small and seasonal bites, like County Line baby beets with pistachio, honey vinaigrette and spearmint in winter or spiced peach tartlet in summer. This tasting is available in the Lounge of their gorgeous, 4,000 sq. ft. Sonoma Plaza tasting room, housed in a 115-year-old building that has its original redwood and stone walls. $30-50
A true hidden gem crafting premium, small lot wines in Sonoma Valley, Hamel Family Wines’ Reserve Experience kicks off with a welcome glass of rosé and a guided tour of the estate vineyard, winery and caves, where you’ll get to taste a barrel sample of a future release of cabernet sauvignon. You’ll then relocate to Hamel’s stunningly-designed, private reserve room complete with velvet-backed chairs, a fireplace and vineyard views. Sit down to a four-course menu from Executive Chef Clinton Huntsman paired with Hamel’s Reserve Series cabernet blends. Offered daily at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. $150